All Participants for GLORY Light Heavyweight Grand Prix on June 8 Announced

May 16, 2024
Bahram Rajabzadeh after his stoppage against Luis Tavares. Photo: GLORY Kickboxing
GLORY announces a one-night tournament in the most chaotic division of kickboxing.

Last December, newly-appointed GLORY executive director Maurice Hols announced their roadmap for 2024, including their plan to hold four one-night tournaments across four divisions. In March, Rico Verhoeven reasserted his decade-long dominance over the Heavyweight division by winning the one-night Heavyweight Grand Prix, only getting knocked down once by Levi Rigters in the final before ending the fight with two knockdowns of his own. Verhoeven was the clear favorite in that tournament, however, a Light Heavyweight Grand Prix has been announced for June later this year; this time, there is no clear favorite to win it all.



Former Light Heavyweight Champion and perennial top 3 of the division, Sergej Masloboyev returns to GLORY looking to regain his former status as the best. His last GLORY fight ended in a controversial round 4 stoppage against former champion Donegi Abena, due to a leaking cut on his shin. The bad stoppage, GLORY's communication with Masloboyev's team after the fight, and Masloboyev reportedly not being given a rematch against Abena resulted in the former Champion leaving GLORY to go back to Lithuania. It seems that Maslobojev and GLORY have patched up their relationship as arguably the best Light Heavyweight in the world will make his return in June.


2023 GLORY Breakout Fighter of the Year Bahram Rajabzadeh gained his tournament spot with a dominant performance against Kevin Oumar, after which he took Joseph Valtellini's microphone, confronted GLORY matchmaker Robbie Timmers in the ring and demanded a tournament spot. The 32-year-old Azeri fighter won the Heavyweight Grand Prix qualifying tournament last year and only lost in the semi-final of the Heavyweight GP against Levi Rigters by decision. Boasting a record of 15-2 and 13 stoppages, he is one of the favorites to win the Light Heavyweight GP.


None other than the Light Heavyweight champion himself, Tarik Khbabez takes the last spot in the highly-anticipated GP. Since moving down from Heavyweight, Khbabez has revitalized his career. Despite a rough start, losing to Sergej Maslobojev for the Light Heavyweight title, the 32-year-old Moroccan star won the next two fights and then the title against Donegi Abena. As the champion, Khbabez is also one of the favorites to win the tournament.


The 22-year-old phenom is the new face of Romanian kickboxing. Romania's best has gone from strength to strength recently, having made a successful GLORY debut against Light Heavyweight contender Pascal Touré and stopping top contender Ibrahim El Bouni within two rounds. Despite being the youngest fighter in the GP, Lătescu may surprise onlookers with what he can do.


The former GLORY Light Heavyweight Champion. At only 26, the Surinamese star has already established himself as one of the best Light Heavyweights in the world. Though Abena had only one title defense before his title was taken from him by Tarik Khbabez, and despite a spotty recent record, few have fought as many top-level opponents or been in as many title fights as Abena has over the past five years.


The 31-year-old is a perennial top contender. El Bouni has beaten top-ranked fighters in multiple divisions such as Sem Braan, Constantin Țuțu, Roel Manaart, Bogdan Stoica, and most recently, Felipe Micheletti. Though he is far from the favorite, El Bouni has a good chance of reaching the final.


The 34-year-old Romanian SUPERKOMBAT veteran and Enfusion Champion Bogdan Stoica also makes his return to GLORY. Despite coming off of a TKO loss against Italian Heavyweight Mattia Faraoni, in terms of experience in the ring, Stoica is rivaled by very few. Though he is now past his prime, Stoica cannot be counted out.


28-year-old Pascal Touré earned his spot in the tournament by beating journeyman Mohamed Amine in a drawn-out clinch fight at GLORY 91 in Paris. Touré is the least accomplished fighter in the tournament, having been unable to beat any top fighters so far in his career. As it currently stands, it is unlikely that Touré will be able to win the tournament.

In 2022, Russian fighters were released from GLORY following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This included the then-Light Heavyweight champion Artem Vakhitov who had just beaten Alex Pereira to regain his Light Heavyweight title. His release from GLORY threw the division into chaos as the title has changed hands three times in less than two years. Vakhitov's exile left a hole in the division. That hole will finally be patched on June 7, and perhaps a new pound-for-pound contender will emerge.

This Friday, May 17, the draw for the upcoming GLORY Light Heavyweight Grand Prix will take place live from Amsterdam, the Netherlands, where the quarter-final matchups will be decided. The draw will be stream on the official GLORY YouTube channel.