Adegbuyi secures Amsterdam title shot with Heavyweight Contender Tournament win

Adegbuyi secures Amsterdam title shot with Heavyweight Contender Tournament win

Wednesday, Jul 12 2017

Benjamin Adegbuyi will rematch world heavyweight champion Rico Verhoeven in the main event of GLORY 26 AMSTERDAM.

The Romanian booked his spot opposite Verhoeven by winning two fights back-to-back in the Heavyweight Contender Tournament at GLORY 24 DENVER on Friday night. First he dispatched Mladen Brestovac of Croatia, then he took a split-decision win over Jahfarr Wilnis in the final.

Adegbuyi and Wilnis had a close-range, brutal war at a pace which defied the fact they were fighting at altitude. Both fighters stopped their semi-final opponents and in the final they worked non-stop with constant combinations as they looked to win the tournament in the same fashion.

The finish never came, but it looked close at times. Wilnis in particular looked close to scoring a stoppage in the third round but was unable to find the final blow. Adegbuyi was able to regain his composure and come right back at him, seizing the advantage.

It was an incredibly close fight between two combatants determined not to lose. The final ten seconds of the last round was one of the most intense periods of combat the GLORY ring has ever witnessed. The two traded huge shots back and forth, still looking for the knockout even in the dying moments of the fight.

The fact that the fight went the distance is testament to the heart and toughness of both fighters. The incredibly close nature of the contest was reflected in the judges’ decision: two had Adegbuyi as the winner, the other saw the fight for Wilnis. The audience seemed likewise divided, some supporting the decision and others protesting it.

Adegbuyi now moves forward to a second shot at Rico Verhoeven’s heavyweight championship. He challenged Verhoeven at GLORY 22 FRANCE but was unsuccessful. However, that fight came together on relatively short notice and Adegbuyi is sure that he can mount a successful challenge if he has a full training camp.

“The first fight I didn’t have very long to prepare for, me and my team weren’t really able to study Rico too much and work out the right strategy for him. For this rematch I will have two months to prepare, so I think it will be a different fight,” he said after the fight.

“I am so excited to fight in Amsterdam. It’s like the world capital of kickboxing, it’s where this all started and where so many legends coming from. The atmosphere is going to be really special, I am excited to be part of it.”

Wilnis had faced Ben Edwards in the first fight of the GLORY 24 DENVER card. Things were fairly even in the opening half of the first round as both landed with punches and kicks to the head and body, aware that they were fighting at altitude and thus looking to attack their opponent’s gas tank and fade him out.

Edwards is primarily a boxer and has serious KO power in his hands while Wilnis is the more complete kickboxer. Clean combination work came from his side, though Edwards was also flowing nicely at times and did some good work with the middle kick to the body.

Towards the end of the first Edwards looked like he was already starting to gas a little and Wilnis turned things up a bit, increasing his output and hammering away at the lead leg, classic Dutch-style combinations finishing on the low kick.

At the start of the second round things picked up where they left off. Suddenly Edwards folded over during one of the exchanges, his leg unable to stand the punishment. Wilnis poured the pressure on and hammered away at the leg, forcing Edwards to drop to the canvas for the first knockdown of the fight.

On the restart it was obvious that Edwards needed a quick overhand right KO. That was his only hope, but it wasn’t happening. Wilnis is on peak form right now and saw his path to victory. He used head kicks to draw Edwards’ attention upwards then hammered low kick after low kick into Edwards’ tenderized leg. It was too much for the Australian to bear. His leg on fire with pain, he went down again. Two knockdowns in one round meant the fight was immediately ended under Glory Tournament Rules.

The second semi-final fight, Benjamin Adegbuyi against Mladen Brestovac, was a great example of technical heavyweight kickboxing, two well-trained and intelligent fighters using timing and setups rather than looking to land a one-off power bomb.

Adegbuyi’s training camp saw him spend three weeks in Manchester, England as a sparring partner for heavyweight boxer Tyson Fury, who will soon fight Wladimir Klitschko for the world heavyweight championship. He said the camp did a lot to improve his boxing and that was immediately evident in his crisp jab.

Brestovac seemed content to move backwards and let Adegbuyi come forward. That proved to be a mistake as the Romanian got to work with his combinations, racking up points and doing damage. Flashes of danger came from Brestovac, his left head kick flicking out with impressive speed and power, but Adegbuyi never looked especially flustered.

Into the final round and Brestovac was clearly tired. His leg was also hurt; he kept lifting it in anticipation of a leg kick. Adegbuyi duly obliged, baiting Brestovac into position and pounding the kick in. One kick after another landed clean until Brestovac could stand no more and hit the deck for the second leg-kick finish of the tournament. 


GLORY 24 Heavyweight Contender Tournament Results: 

Benjamin Adegbuy def. Jahfarr Wilnis, Split-Decision, R3

Benjamin Adegbuyi def. Mladen Brestovac, TKO, Leg Kicks, 1:47 R3

Jahfarr Wilnis def. Ben Edwards, TKO, Leg Kicks, 1:30 R2