With the return of the Grand Prix format, collaborating with Japan-based kickboxing organization RISE, a new CEO, and now a shift in focus, GLORY is looking to make big changes with the company going forward as their matchmaker confirms to put multiple divisions on hold.
During an interview with Remy Bonjasky, GLORY matchmaker Robbie Timmers was asked about the absence of the Lightweight rankings on their renewed website. Timmers confirmed that GLORY is putting the Lightweight division on hold indefinitely:
"We're putting the [Lightweight] division on hold. We want to have focus. […] For the upcoming season, we are going to emphasize the Welterweight, Middleweight, Light Heavyweight, and Heavyweight divisions. We want to make those the most beautiful and spectacular divisions."
This comes as a big surprise as GLORY has booked a Lightweight title fight between Moroccan champion Tyjani Beztati and German challenger Enriko Kehl for March 9. Interestingly, GLORY published a video today with the Moroccan confirming he'll be moving up in weight after his title defense.
GLORY's Matchmaker Robbie Timmers explained that the promotion's strategy is to focus on the above mentioned divisions instead of scattering their attention between multiple weight classes, sometimes resulting in thin divisions.
Nonetheless, Timmers remains hopeful for the future of Lightweight:
"When we [GLORY] are pleased and the fans are pleased, and when we have the best and biggest tournaments, and the biggest competition of the world, than we're going to see if we can expand with other weight classes. And that [Lightweight] could be a division that we’ll bring back."
Although there's no sign of the Featherweight ranking on their renewed website, GLORY is not letting go of the Featherweight division. Well at least not completely. With a Featherweight Grand Prix on the horizon, the 65 KG division seems safe for now.
"As for the Featherweight division, we made a deal with RISE to make something spectacular [with Featherweight]."
As recently announced, not only will they unify their Featherweight rankings, they will end the year with a highly anticipated Featherweight Grand Prix, consisting of GLORY as well as RISE kickboxers.
WOMEN'S SUPER BANTAMWEIGHT
Although GLORY has signed talented female kickboxers like Sarah Moussaddak, and more recently, Nina van Dalum and Débora Évora, their women's division has been very thin for the last couple of years. Just like Lightweight, the divison will be put on hold, but Timmers hopes to see it return in the future.
"When we were deciding about which weight classes we wanted to focus on, we chose focus on weight classes with an already strong division. We have spectacular fighters in the women's division, but the division itself isn’t strong yet. That's why we're going to focus on the other divisions. We're going to see if we can slowly build these up. Maybe we'll do a couple of super fights to see how we can build this [division]. But it is definitely a division I'd like to see back up. Absolutely."
GLORY hasn't said anything about releasing their fighters within the Lightweight and Super Bantamweight divisions, but if so this could be a blessing in disguise as K-1 recently announced that they are bringing back the prestigious K-1 World MAX tournament format. Starting with the FINAL 16 qualification on March 20 with Japan's Hiromi Wajima being the only confirmed participant as of date.