The third time might be the charm. Reigning GLORY Light Heavyweight champion Donegi Abena is expected to face newly crowned interim champion Tarik Khbabez at the GLORY Heavyweight Grand Prix event, which is set to take place on March 9.
Abena, who stopped Sergej Maslobojev in February of last year to capture the Light Heavyweight crown, was first booked to face Tarik Khbabez on June 17 in what was supposed to be the Surninamese fighter's first title defense. The champion was forced to withdraw due to food poisioning three days before the fight was scheduled to take place however and was replaced by Mohamed Amine, who faced Khbabez for the interim belt. Although the Moroccan struggled more than most expected against the late-notice opponent, he nonetheless managed to stop his opponent in the later rounds.
The title defense was re-scheduled for November 4, but it was Khbabez who withdrew this time, after suffering a hand injury in training on October 30. The undefeated Mohamed Touchassie stepped in as a late replacement, but failed to gain headway in his debut at Light Heavyweight, as Abena swept five rounds on all five of the scorecards.