This weekend, for the first time since last year’s K-1 World Grand Prix 2010 Final, Team Golden Glory will reach the peak of its fighting calendar with MMA and Kickboxing fighters representing the red and yellow badge at It’s Showtime 55 (Leeuwarden, the Netherlands), and UFC on FOX 2 (Chicago, USA).
John-Olav Einemo will look to bounce back from defeat, fighting Mike Russow at UFC on FOX 2 (LIVE on Fuel TV), while Errol Zimmerman, Robin van Roosmalen and Gokhan Saki test their skills at the stacked It’s Showtime kickboxing line-up in Leeuwarden, Friesland, the Netherlands.
I had an opportunity to attend Team Golden Glory training in Utrecht, the Netherlands. The training took place at Duncan’s Training Center, half of which is currently undergoing a series of improvements to become a fully-operational gym.
The first noticeable thing that comes to mind when entering Team Golden Glory training is the comradeship between the fighters. The friendly environment in the gym is from A to Z, whether you are just an up and coming fighter, LowKick.com Chief Editor or a construction worker installing new punching bags. You are always welcome.
That was a very interesting thing to observe, especially when GG fighters are well-known for not thinking twice before fighting each other inside the cage or ring. This competitive spirit is what really makes the difference, a state of mind of sportsmanship first and fighting second.
The training ends with fighters traditionally congratulating each other for putting maximum effort in training, and a big “Osu!” to the legendary coach Martijn de Jong. Then, it’s time to check out the latest videos on Golden Glory TV, and discuss the upcoming UFC fight card in Sweden.
Some people would say the fallout of Alistair Overeem’s departure is still out there. However, according to de Jong, it’s far from being the case.
It’s also hard to stay away from the topic of Alistair Overeem’s upcoming UFC Heavyweight title fight with Junior dos Santos. Overeem is still considered a “Golden Glory product” by his former coach.
“Alistair Overeem is more complete than Junior dos Santos. He’s more diverse as a striker,” says de Jong. “But dos Santos is not champion for nothing. He knows when and where to hit. He has a very good eye. “
De Jong went on to discuss incredible depth of Team Golden Glory as both MMA and Kickboxing fight team.
“We have world class fighters and coaches. Our fighters fight in UFC, Strikeforce, and all the other different MMA organizations. Marloes Coenen, Siyar Bahadurzada, John-Olav Einemo, Jason Jones. A lot of good fighters.
Kickboxing alone, we have Gokhan Saki, who I think is the best kickboxer on Earth. He’s training hard every day. Then we have Nicky Holzken, Errol Zimmerman, Robin van Roosmalen, and many others. We receive applications every day. People really want to join the Golden Glory family.”
In fact, the fight between Gokhan Saki and Badr Hari could well be the most anticipated kickboxing match-up in the last 3 years. Back in 2010, kickboxing fans around the world were thrilled about Semmy Schilt vs. Alistair Overeem in the K-1 WGP Final, but Peter Aerts spoiled the show in what was without a doubt one of the most heroic performances in combat sports history.
It’s Showtime is currently the biggest kickboxing promotion on the planet. Having Gokhan Saki headlining that card against Badr Hari might look like an obvious choice in terms of matchmaking, but when it comes to management, it’s a proof Team Golden Glory is alive and kicking.
Team Golden Glory’s MMA/Kickoxing promotion, United Glory World Series, will return on March 23rd in Moscow, Russia. The event will be headlined by Semmy Schilt’s return to the ring in against a yet to be announced opponent, while Sergei Kharitonov faces Mark Miller, and Jerome LeBanner fights Errol Zimmerman.
Don't forget to stay tuned to LowKick.com this weekend. Will provide LIVE coverage for both It's Shwotime (from the arena) and UFC on FOX 2 events. The coverage will start at 3PM EST for It's Showtime, and continue at 8PM EST for UFC on FOX 2.