Courtesy Glory Sports International
Nieky “The Natural” Holzken (84-11, 44 KO’s) will make his long-awaited return to the ring on Feb. 6 in the Glory 19 welterweight contender tournament.
He will face 2012 K-1 World Max tournament winner Murthel “The Predator” Groenhart (55-16-3, 31 KO’s) in the semi-final stage. The winner of that fight will face the winner of the other semi-final that same evening, with all three tournament fights airing live on Spike TV.
Glory Sports International, parent company of the Glory World Series kickboxing league, confirmed the match to Sherdog.com today and said that signed bout agreements are in place to make the fight official.
Other sources tell Sherdog.com that the second semi-final bout will feature Los Angeles-based karate world champion Raymond “Real Deal” Daniels, a veteran of Chuck Norris’ World Combat League, against Jonathan Oliveira of Curitiba, Brazil.
The winner of the tournament will then go forward to face reigning welterweight champion “Bazooka” Joe Valtellini for his title belt later in the year. Glory sources say that fight is being targeted for “late spring.”
Holzken currently sits at No. 1 in the official Glory contender rankings. He won the Glory 13 welterweight tournament in December last year -- stopping Valtellini in the final -- but was then sidelined with a shoulder injury.
While Holzken was sidelined the vacant belt was contested. Marc de Bonte won the inaugural welterweight championship fight but then lost it to Valtellini by way of a close decision in June. Holzken watched proceedings with a sense of frustration.
“Honestly I don’t think it is fair. Robin van Roosmalen didn’t have to go through a tournament to fight Davit Kiria [for the lightweight title], so why do I have to fight in a contender tournament?” he wrote via text message.
“But it is no problem for me. My condition is good and my spirit is good. It just means it will take longer to get my title back.”
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