A fifth-round knockout in the GLORY 73 SHENZHEN main event ensured that Marat Grigorian (63-11-1, 1 NC, 36 KO’s) retained the GLORY World Lightweight Championship against the previously undefeated challenger Elvis Gashi (23-1, 11 KO’s).
Gashi, unbeaten in 23 professional fights and 5-0 in GLORY, made a strong start and won the opening two rounds of the encounter, raising the possibility that he may be about to become the first undefeated champion in GLORY’s history.
Rapid-fire jabs and rear crosses from Gashi found a home repeatedly, while Grigorian’s output was more measured and focused largely on the legs. But once the fight entered the third round the defending champion picked the pace up, having correctly calculated that Gashi was beginning to slow down.
Rounds four and five - ‘the championship rounds’ - were new territory for Gashi but are familiar ground for Grigorian. He dominated these, with Gashi fighting a rearguard action and continually being forced against the ropes.
A minute from the end of the fight, a Grigorian flurry backed Gashi up and ended with a left hook to the jaw which dropped him to the canvas, the first knockdown he has suffered in his career.
Having already been under the watchful eye of referee Paul Nicholls, Gashi was immediately placed under his protection and the fight waved off, there being no chance of Gashi being able to reverse his fortunes in the remaining time.
“It was a good fight but I knew I would win. He never faced anyone of my level before and tonight you saw the difference. Whoever wants to try next is welcome, it makes no difference to me - the belt is staying with me no matter what,” said Grigorian afterwards.
Australian featherweight River Daz managed to maintain his own perfect professional record as he won the inaugural four-man Ramon Dekkers’ Featherweight Asia Tournament.
Daz (28-0-1, 6 KO’s) was comfortable in his semi-final win over Hu Binqian (12-6-2, 5 KO’s) but had a tougher test in the final when he faced Meng Goafeng (29-5, 16 KO’s), who had dominated Japan’s Masaya Kubo (17-13-1, 5 KO’s) in their own semi-final bout.
Advantage passed back and forth in the tournament final but Daz generally edged it and the judges returned a split-decision win in the Australian’s favor, with China’s Goafeng being runner-up.
In the co-main, Josh Jauncey (31-10, 15 KO’s) and Stoyan Koprivlenski (11-4, 5 KO’s) staged another technical masterclass when they re-ran their GLORY 52 meeting. Three close rounds led to a split-decision win for Jauncey, making him 2-0 in their series, although he himself admitted the split-decision could have gone either way, such was the close nature of the fight.
Earlier in the evening, Brazilian lightweight Bruno Gazani (64-6-1, 32 KO’s) stopped Vlad Tuinov (42-5, 13 KO’s) to go 2-0 in GLORY and mark himself out as a rising threat in the division. In 2020 he will look to continue that rise and fight his way into title contention.
GLORY 73 SHENZHEN Full Results:
Marat Grigorian def. Elvis Gashi by knockout (punches). Round 5, 2:03
- for World Lightweight Championship
River Daz def. Goafeng Meng by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Featherweight Asia Tournament Final
Josh Jauncey def. Stoyan Koprivlenski by split decision (29-28, 27-30, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Goafeng Meng def. Masaya Kubo by unanimous decision (29-26, 30-25, 30-25, 30-25, 30-25)
River Daz def. Binqian Hu by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Chao Sun def. Farkhat Gassanov by TKO (low kicks). Round 3, 0:46
Jin Hyuk Kim def. Dongqiang Lu by TKO (doctor’s stoppage). Round 1, 3:00
Andrei Herasimchuk vs. Bruno Chaves ruled a no-contest (accidental low blow). Round 1, 1:09
Bruno Gazani def. Vlad Tuinov by TKO (knee). Round 3, 0:23
Chuanlin Zhao def. Thong Fairtex by TKO (punches). Round 2, 2:22
Jianhong Yu def. Yunlong Dou by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Selina Flores def. Meng Zhang by split decision (28-29, 28-29, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28)