Glory Rivals 4 - Japan vs the world: 3-3

The fourth edition of GLORY Rivals took place in Tokyo, Japan, featuring fights between six fighters from Glory and Enfusion against six Japanese fighters from RISE. Japan versus the world ended up in a draw: 3-3.
Written by Ennio Wolsink
Published on Dec 26, 2022, 4:59:47 PM
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On Christmas day, the fourth edition of Glory Rivals touched down in Tokyo, Japan, to feature fights between six fighters from Glory and Enfusion against six Japanese fighters from RISE. The event took place in the legendary Ryōgoku Kokugikan National Sumo Arena, at 18:30 local time.

Glory Rivals 4's fight card was quite evenly matched, with by the end of the night no knockouts and only a single knockdown by courtesy of Tessa de Kom, against Manazo Kobayashi. Still, the event was very entertaining and showed the world once again there's definitely appetite for more fight events with fighters from different kickboxing promotions competing against each other so their relative skill levels can really be compared. In the end, there's only one world of kickboxing after all. You could say the same goes for the martial arts world in general.

Keep on reading for our recap of the six fights that happened tonight.

The fight card of Glory Rivals 4 © Glory Nederland

de Kom vs Kobayashi

Blue corner: Tessa de Kom (22yrs) · 1.63m / 5'4" · 50.8kg / 112lbs · 14-1-1 (0 KO)
Red corner: Mazano Kobayashi (26yrs) · 1.58m / 5'2" · 51.5kg / 113.5lbs · 17-4-4 (3 KO)

Before the fight during De Kom's entrance, you could easily see the pressure on her face. When the bell rang for the first round however, she put her game face on and made things very hard for Kobayashi. This was a fight between champions, namely of Enfusion (De Kom) and RISE (Kobayashi). There was no title on the line of course, though it still became a serious fight.

In the first round De Kom immediately put the pressure on Kobayashi with some great and hard hitting combinations. This ultimately resulted in the only knockdown of the evening, by means of a right hook during a counter, and an eight second count for Kobayashi. De Kom was really close to winning by knockout.

The second round was more equal as Kobayashi had no choice but to aim for winning this round and the next, if she ever hoped to eke out at least a draw. De Kom withstood the pressure and was able to throw some combinations of her own as well as a flying knee. Still, the round seemed to have gone to Kobayashi, which we'll never know as jury verdicts for individual rounds weren't made public.

In the third and final round both women went in full attack mode. Kobayashi was now leading after two rounds when it came to strikes landed, 68 over 57. The fight still remained quite equal. An impressive feat for De Kom, considering her youth and Kobayashi's greater experience.

Jury verdict: win for De Kom (unanimous decision)

Collins vs Kasahara

Blue corner: Chadd Collins (27yrs) · 1.77m / 5'10" · 63.2kg / 139.3lbs · 54-18-2 (25 KO)
Red corner: Hiroki Kasahara (23yrs) · 1.74m / 5'8" · 63.5kg / 140lbs · 29-4-1 (12 KO)

Australian Chadd Collins is the current WBC Muay Thai World Lightweight champion and a seasoned veteran. Definitely not a rookie himself, his opponent and Shootboxing lightweight champion Hiroki Kasahara already acquired quite a bit of experience for his age.

The match started with a very entertaining first round in which the fighters were evenly matched. A lot of kick techniques were used, mostly by Collins. Kasahara was still able to put the pressure on him, pushing Collins backwards. Ultimately the round seemed to have gone just barely to the Australian.

The second round featured a lot of action again, with Collins in the attack and Kasahara waiting too much. Collins was fighting intelligently with a lot of level changes, attacking Kasahara at different heights and showcasing his Muay Thai background with plenty hard hitting kicks.

Collins committed a foul right at the beginning of the third round, by using a spinning elbow, a perfectly valid technique were the rules that of Muay Thai instead of kickboxing. This led to an official warning from the referee and a yellow card. Now Collins had to work really hard to avoid a draw or even losing the match, which was actually his to lose as he seemed on the path to victory just before. So the pace really picked up, treating the audience to a real brawl in which Kasahara happily participated though ultimately couldn't keep up.

Jury verdict: win for Collins (unanimous decision)

Banniss vs shiratori

Blue corner: Ilias Banniss (25yrs) · 1.74m / 5'10" · 62.5kg / 137.8lbs · 32-6-2 (12 KO)
Red corner: Taiju Shiratori (26yrs) · 1.82m / 5'11" · 65kg / 143.3lbs · 24-9-1 (11 KO)

Shiratori's entrance was preceded in full Christmas fashion, with Mariah Carey's classic song All I want for Christmas is you while glam girls in ditto outfitss pranced around. Before one could question the appropriateness of the chosen musical genre, the track morphed into loud Japanese metal music. That's how it should be tonight. Shiratori's entrace was befitting of a pro WWF wrestler, providing much welcomed entertainment. Note that his background is actually that of a Muay Thai fighter, with also a glorious history at Japanese MMA organization Rizin as its current bantamweight champion.

Morrocan Elias Banniss, born in The Hague, The Netherlands, is Shiratori's opponent, replacing Abdellah Ezbiri who became unavailable due to an injury. Banniss only got a week time to prepare, making it extra respectable how well he performed tonight.

The very first lowkick from Shiratori literally kicked Banniss from his feet and on to the ground. This was not a knockdown but simply a matter of being out of balance. Banniss quickly regained himself and showed how agile he is. However, the almost six pounds heavier Shiratori is definitely the one hitting (much) harder. At the end of the first round he easily pushes Banniss into a corner.

The pace is picked up in the second round seeing a lot more attacks from Banniss who now has to prove himself. Unfortunately an assumedly unintentional kick to the groin stopped his momentum, around the time live statistics showed he had a few more strikes landed than Shiratori. The Japanese' experience eventually helped him gain the upper hand however, giving him the edge over Banniss frequent but rather uncontrolled kicks.

The last round began with Banniss having landed much more strikes than Shiratori, but seemingly with much less impact. Which is not surprising given the significant height and weight difference. Banniss did all he could and fought like a lion. He kept persisting with high frequency attacks and a lot of lowkicks. The game was on until the end, though both fighters definitely became noticeably fatigued.

Jury verdict: win for Shiratori (unanimous decision)

Petch vs Yamada

Blue corner: Kosei Yamada (30yrs) · 1.70m / 5'6" · 65kg / 143.3lbs · 15-2-0 (9 KO)

Red corner: Petchpanomrung "Petch" Kiatmookao (27yrs) · 1.71m / 5'7" · 62.5kg / 137.8lbs · 168-38-3 (27 KO)

Kosei Yamada is the reigning super lightweight champion of Rise and considering his record a bit of a knockout artist. Normally a fearsome opponent, if it weren't for the fact he's got the bad luck of having to fight the extremely experienced Petch. He's the current featherweight champion of Glory, hailing from Thailand. Petch is only 27 but has an impressive record: 211 fights of which he has won 168. Tonight will be his last match, which he naturally will want to win. We're in for a very charged match that will be an enormous challenge for Yamada.

During the first round Petch immediately dominates, doling out incredibly hard kicks. Unfortunately one kick hits Yamada below the belt. After needing some time to recover he came back strongly, with a good defense and fast counters. In the meantime Petch was putting up a Muay Thai showcase, displaying a classical stance combined with south paw, meaning an unorthodox stance with his right foot in front. He's pretty well known for his kicks with his back left leg, that even when blocked seem to deal a lot of damage. For now Yamada's hanging in there.

In this second round both fighters are holding nothing back, dishing out hard hitting combinations and doing a lot of clinching in between. Petch continued his bulldozing act, throwing around knees and kicks at all heights and literally throwing and pushing Yamada across the ring. At one time Petch was a bit too enthousiast when jumping in for an attack while Yamada was in the ropes, literally almost falling out of the ring. Once again kudos to Yamada for surviving this onslaught and maintaining a high intensity spree of attacks himself. This earned him the respect of his much more experienced opponent, who was clearly enjoying his final match. It's almost like we're looking at a friendly sparring match, albeit very intense.

The final round the audience was still being treated to lots of action, hard punches and kicks and even some technical mastery like a jumping high kick from Yamada. Petch continues to dominate, while at the same time you can't really say Yamada is being the underdog. Still, it's very visible that Petch's brutal kicks with his left leg have damaged Yamada's right arm and shoulder, preventing him from effectively using his right hook.

Jury verdict: win for Petch (unanimous decision)

Koprivlenski vs ono

Blue corner: Stoyan Koprivlenski (28yrs) · 1.80m / 5'10" · 70kg / 154.3lbs · 18-6-0 (6 KO)

Red corner: Kaito Ono (25yrs) · 1.80m / 5'10" · 69.5kg / 153.2lbs · 48-6-1 (21 KO)

Bulgarian Stoyan Koprivlenski, training with legendary Dutch trainer Mike Passenier, is the number one contender in Glory's lightweight division. His opponent is Kaito Ono, former super lightweight champion at Shootboxing.

Koprivlenski began the first round hitting Ono often and hard, giving the audience the distinct impression this will become an easy win for the Bulgarian. However, Ono's apparently engaging in a more tactical game, choosing his moments carefully to pick up points with very technical and high-precision attacks. Koprivlenski was doing more damage though. In the final minute of the round Ono is waking up and starts to put up a more equal fight.

The second round was much more equal with both fighters countering each other. None of them seem to be dominating, though it's still apparent Koprivlenski hits harder while Ono is more surgical. The Bulgarian is displaying the Dutch brand of kickboxing, often ending his combinations with a low kick to wear down his opponent.

Finally, the third round wasn't much different than the second, though fortunately for the neutral viewer, the action was still constant. After this round Ono was declared the winner by split decision, the only time the judges weren't in agreement with each other tonight. This match was a hard one to call and indeed could've gone either way.

Jury verdict: win for Ono (split decision)

Adamchuk vs Haraguchi

Blue corner: Serhii Adamchuk (32yrs) · 1.74m / 5'8" · 64.8kg / 142.9lbs · 40-13-0 (15 KO)

Red corner: Kento Haraguchi (24yrs) · 1.75m / 5'8" · 64.8kg / 142.9lbs · 22-3-1 (14 KO)

The main event of tonight features former Glory featherweight champion Serhii Adamchuk, a veteran at 32 years who's also a law student, planning to become a lawyer upon retirement from fighting. In the past he's fought grueling matches in his division with Robin van Roosmalen and Petch, the current featherweight champion not just at Glory but also RISE, which is an historic feat. In that capacity Petch has also made life difficult for Adamchuk's opponent, Kento Haraguchi. Coincidentally enough, Adamchuk and Haragachu have in total lost five times from the Thai.

Having said all that, back to the fight at hand. Haraguchi is wearing very weird pants, almost like a glittery version of a Scottish kilt. Adamchuk is fighting as south paw, which is normally a bit rare but a lot fighters are doing that today. The Ukranian starts this round with a lot of energy and keeps the pressure on Haraguchi. Nearing the end of the round, things level out with both fighters not yet fully committing and doing a lot of clinching. When it comes to strikes landed, the Japanese is slightly in the lead.

The second round actually becomes a bit boring, with Adamchuk being surprisingly passive and looking even a bit scared, dodging way too much and walking back a lot. Haraguchi's getting it easy. The Ukranian doesn't seem to be entirely focused on the fight, which isn't surprising considering the war in his home country, from which he fled recently.

The third round became a do or die moment for Adamchuk. He needs a KO now, which no one really expects him to accomplish as he's only won one fight with a KO since signing with Glory. So he's pressing forward, though Haraguchi easily handles it. In the end not much more happened, leaving the fans waiting in vain for Adamchuk's signature move, the "rolling thunder", which he normally uses almost every fight.

Jury verdict: win for Haraguchi (unanimous decision)

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