Wednesday, Jul 12 2017

Two of the biggest men in the heavyweight division will collide in the co-headline fight of GLORY 12 NEW YORK, live across America on SPIKE TV.

‘The Goliath’ Jamal Ben Saddik stands 6'9''/2.05m. Former professional rugby player Ben ‘The Guvnor’ Edwards (35-9-3, 31 KO's) stands 6'2''/1.88m and weighs around 275lbs/125kgs. That is a lot of punching power - do not blink.

“I don’t know a lot about Ben Edwards personally, but I took a look at his videos with my trainer. He hits very hard but for me it’s the same as any other opponent, I am just going to go in there and do my thing,” says Ben Saddik.

“The goal every time I go in there is to get the knockout. You want to give the people in the audience a great show. Every time that I step in the ring I want to knock everybody out.”

With 20 of the wins on his 24-3 record coming by way of KO, Ben Saddik is clearly not exaggerating when he talks about going for the knockout. But in his last fight, it backfired on him when he hurt the decorated veteran Peter Aerts and rushed in to look for a finish.

Ben Saddik dominated Aerts in the first round of their GLORY 8 contest, rocking him early in the first round. Sensing a knockout finish Ben Saddik went after Aerts with everything he had. Somehow Aerts held on until the second round.

It became a streetfight - the two stood right in front of each other and threw bombs. Aerts’ experience worked in his favor - he found ways to land his big shots and was able to end the fight on the three-knockdown rule.

Ben Saddik was bitterly disappointed, but time has softened the hurt and he is now able to look at it as a learning experience, even laugh at how quickly his fortunes could change inside the space of a few minutes.

“I learned a lot. In every fight I learn something. In my last fight, the first round went all the way for me and then I wanted to get a big finish and then… ha, things turned around! I should have been more relaxed but when you knock someone down you just want to go for the knockout,” he says.

“What I needed to learn was that the knockout will come anyway, as long as I keep fighting correctly. Because, as you saw with Peter when you rush in anything can happen. I am improving all the time but I still have a lot of things to prove to myself. I have to get more experience and learn to be calmer in the ring.”

Along with working on the mental side of his game, Ben Saddik has also been undergoing physical changes. A faulty thyroid gland had caused him issues with weight-gaining and fitness ever since his adolescence. At the start of the year surgeons removed it, and the benefits have been clear to see.

“Right now I am around 126 kilos. In the GLORY 4 heavyweight tournament I think I was 127 kilos, so my weight hasn’t changed so much. But what has changed is that my fat is way down and I have a lot more muscle,” he says.

“I’ve had about ten weeks in training camp with my strength coach and my skills coach. I’ve been training twice a day, kickboxing in the mornings and strength/cardio in the evenings. We did everything we needed and I am ready.”

Ben Saddik has fought for GLORY six times. Two of those fights - Errol Zimmerman at GLORY 4, Peter Aerts at GLORY 8 - have been Fight of the Year contenders. Ben Saddik is a fighter who tends to ‘do or die’. The clash with Edwards has the potential to be another epic encounter.

GLORY tournaments are the most prestigious and most lucrative competitions in the sport of kickboxing. Places are awarded only to the top-ranked fighters and so every fighter on the GLORY roster is fighting to accumulate ranking points and get an invitation to fight in their weight class’ tournament when it comes around.

Currently ranked at #11, Ben Saddik’s immediate focus is to rack up wins and break into the upper end of the Top Ten. The journey starts with the fight against Ben Edwards at GLORY 12 NEW YORK.

“I was in Japan twice and this is the first time that I will be fighting in America. Actually it’s the first time that I have ever visited America at all, so I am looking forward to it,” he says.

“I saw the last two shows which GLORY did in the USA and they looked very cool, and the fans sounded very enthusiastic so I want to out in a show for them.

“Right now I am focused on getting up the rankings and getting into the tournaments. Ben Edwards is just another obstacle on my to the top.”

GLORY 12 NEW YORK takes place Saturday November 23 at Madison Square Garden and airs live in the USA on SPIKE TV.

The event’s centerpiece is a four-man Lightweight Championship Tournament featuring Giorgio Petrosyan, Robin Van Roosmalen, Davit Kiria and Andy Ristie.