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Zougarry shines in GLORY debut

  • News
  • May 20, 2017

In the opening fight of the GLORY 41 SUPERFIGHT SERIES card, rising star Zakaria Zougarry met experienced veteran Yetkin Ozkul.

Both were making their debut in this featherweight encounter and both wanted to make a strong statement about themselves.

For the young prospect Zougarry, 22, a win over the wily Ozkul would be a feather in his cap, while the 30-year-old Ozkul is looking to make a run in GLORY and show that his career peak is yet to come.

With Robin van Roosmalen, Murthel Groenhart and Rico Verhoeven all fighting in key career bouts at GLORY 41, most fan attention was being focused on the upper end of the card. But those in the know had this pegged as a sleeper Fight of the Night contender – and they were right.

From the opening bell the exchanges were hard but technical, each fighter maintaining tight defense and control of distance even as they threw long combinations of power shots. Ozkul landed the better blows in the first minute or so but then Zougarry clicked into gear and started finding his rhythm. 

What followed was one of the most entertaining bouts in GLORY Kickboxing history. Constant toe-to-toe exchanges, spin kicks, flying kicks, flying knees, long combinations answered with even longer combinations, you name it, this fight had it all.

Picking highlights is difficult because the whole fight was one long highlight reel. Special mention must be given to Zougarry's relentless deployment of aerial attacks throughout and the total variety and dynamic quality in his work.

Zougarry gradually took control of the fight but Ozkul put up bitter resistance. At times Zougarry made Ozkul shell up as he took combinations of eight or more shots, only for Ozkul to burst out of his shell and fire back venomously.

Ozkul took damage several times but managed to avoid taking a referee's count, though Zougarry had him in trouble numerous times and was unlucky not to be able to score a knockdown with certain shots he landed.

In the third and final round Zougarry showed even more variety, switching to Olympic boxer mode and jabbing rings around Ozkul, who stood with arms outstretched and invited Zougarry to throw more. Zougarry duly obliged, racking up points and having a fun time doing it.

After three rounds, it was fair to say that whatever the result, both fighters had debuted in style and earned a lot of new fans. The judges had Zougarry the winner of every round, returning a unaninimous decision in his favor, but Ozkul's performance was hugely entertaining as well and he will surely be invited back to fight another day.

Zakaria Zougarry def. Yetkin Ozkul, Unanimous Decision, R3 (30-27, 30-27, 30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

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