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D'Angelo Marshall triumphs in GLORY 41 Heavyweight Contender Tournament

  • News
  • May 19, 2017

A four-man Heavyweight Contender Tournament formed the centerpiece of the GLORY 41 HOLLAND card.

Usually a Contender Tournament sends the winner forward to challenge the division's champion but with this tournament featuring two new fighters and two fighters from outside the top end of the rankings, it was announced that the winner would be going forward to face #1-ranked heavyweight Benjamin Adegbuyi in New York in June, with the winner of that fight going forward to face Rico Verhoeven for the belt.

In the first of the evening's semi-final bouts, Brazilian veteran Anderson Silva (41-17-1, 26 KO's) met the debuting Giannis Stofioris (25-6, 12 KO's) of Greece. In the second semi-final, home fighter D'Angelo Marshall (16-2, 9 KO's) had his second outing for GLORY, facing the debuting Mohamed Abdallah (12-2, 5 KO's), of Lebanese parentage but born and raised in Germany.

Silva is hugely experienced and was the favorite to win the tournament. In his Matchmaker's Notes leading up to the event Cor Hemmers noted that there was a risk Stofioris might show Silva too much respect and hamstring himself in the process.

That question was quickly answered once the fight started: southpaw Stofioris went after Gerges and poured the pressure on, his left cross landing with a sound like a rifle crack. His efforts were rewarded in the middle of the round when he forced Silva to sit down against the ropes and take an eight-count.

It looked like an early finish might be on the cards for the Brazilian. And indeed it was – but in his favor. Stofioris was expected to rush him at the start of the second but he hung back. Silva approached cautiously, expecting a trap, but it seemed like Stofioris had burned himself out in the first.

Silva clicked up several gears and started landing heavy hand combinations as he forced the Greek backwards across the ring in an almost symmetrical opposite of the first round. Stofioris back-pedalled but hit the ropes; Silva caught him with an overhand right and Stofioris made a face of discomfort.

That was all the signal Silva needed – a long flurry of power shots followed and sent Stofioris to the canvas for a referee's count which he failed to beat. Silva had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and booked his spot in the tournament final.

Marshall's route to the final also came by way of a stoppage but unlike Silva, he hardly took a punch along the way. There was little in the way of a feeling-out period as he and Abdallah made their way to the middle of the ring and engaged. Marshall's head movement and changes of angle allowed him to find routes for counter-punches around Abdallah's output.

Sure enough, a counter-right soon staggered Abdallah and a flurry of punches followed, snaking in around his guard and making him stagged backwards and begin to fall. Marshall aided him in his journey towards the canvas by landing a left kick on his jaw. Abdallah looked glass-eyed but beat the count and got back into the fight.

Marshall smelled blood and poured heavy fire out as Abdallah held his arms tight to his head and looked to ride out the storm. It didn't work; Marshall's firepower crashed through the guard and did damage. No sooner had Abdallah beaten the count than he was back on the canvas. This time there was no count – referee Paul Nicholls waved the bout off under the tournament bouts “two knockown” rule and sent Marshall to the finals.

Before returning to the ring for the tournament final both fighters had time to recover their breath as a featherweight fight and a non-tournament heavyweight fight played out.

Marshall was fresher than Silva and went straight to work with heavy hand combinations that looked like they may have the fight ended as quick as his semi-final bout. Silva was on the back foot from the opening second of the final and under constant heavy pressure which only eased off in the final thirty seconds or so as the Brazilian began to find a home for his counters.

Was Silva playing possum in that first round and looking for Marshall to burn himself out? It's certainly a possibility and Marshall certainly burned some gas. The second round was much more even than the first, though Marshall still landed the higher volume and the better shots.

One thing which really stood out in both rounds was Silva's head movement: he was able to avoid a lot of power shots and thereby force Marshall to burn valuable energy for no reward. In the third round both fighters were being forced to breathe through their mouths to meet their demand for oxygen.

Still it was Marshall who maintained the forward pressure and the higher output, his gas tank holding up for the duration of the bout. Silva moved backwards throughout and whilst his display of defensive skills was very impressive, it is offense which wins fights.

D'Angelo Marshall def. Anderson 'Braddock' Silva (29-28, 30-27, 30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
D'Angelo Marshall def. Mohamed Abdallah, KO, R1 0:48 (Two Knockdowns)
Silva def. Giannis Stofioris , TKO, R2 2:26 (Referee's Count)

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