Sittichai Sitsongpeenong Crowned Lightweight Champion at Glory 31 in Amsterdam

By Brian Knapp Jun 25, 2016
Sittichai Sitsongpeenong cracked the Robin Van Roosmalen code.

Sitsongpeenong became the first Thai to get his hands on Glory gold, as he dethroned van Roosmalen by split decision to win the lightweight championship in the Glory 31 headliner on Saturday at the Amsterdam RAI Exhibition and Convention Centre in Amsterdam, Netherlands. All three ringside judges rendered 48-47 scores, two of them ruling in favor of Sitsongpeenong (109-29-5).

Van Roosmalen (35-7) had issues answering his challenger in the first, second and third rounds, as Sitsongpeenong delivered one knee after another to the arms, body and occasionally the head while mixing in sporadic kicks, multi-punch volleys and stinging straight lefts. Perhaps sensing the need to switch gears, the Dutchman did so in rounds four and five. There, he countered effectively -- his right hook was the weapon of choice -- and continued to batter the inside of Sitsongpeenong’s leg with kicks. Nevertheless, his efforts were not enough to secure a decision.

In the co-main event, Murthel Groenhart landed another shot at champion Nieky Holzken, as he pocketed a unanimous decision over Mike’s Gym teammate Yoann Kongolo in the finals of the 2016 Glory Welterweight Contender Tournament. Groenhart (62-21-3) swept the scorecards with 29-27 marks from the judges.

Groenhart’s knees were the story. The 29-year-old Suriname native hid them behind his punches and incorporated them seamlessly throughout the match, knocking down Kongolo with a knee strike to the head in the second round. Kongolo (62-8) fought valiantly to turn the tide in round three, as he crowded Groenhart with punching combinations to the body and head. However, the knockout the Swiss welterweight needed never materialized.

Groehnart advanced in the tournament with his third-round technical knockout against Karim Benmansour (46-6-1) in the semifinals. He floored the Frenchman twice with punches, necessitating the stoppage 68 seconds into round three. Kongolo secured his spot in the final with a split decision -- 29-28, 28-29, 30-27 -- over Harut Grigorian (42-10) in a grueling three-round battle in the semis.

Meanwhile, Ismael Londt withstood a furious first-round assault from Hesdy Gerges to eke out a split decision in their three-round heavyweight showcase. All three ringside judges scored it 28-27, two of them siding with Londt (39-6-1).

Gerges (49-16-1) had his chances. The 6-foot-7 Egypt-based heavyweight rocked Londt with a right uppercut inside the first three minutes and punished his lead leg with repeated kicks. However, the break between rounds seemed to stall his momentum. In rounds two and three, Londt cut angles more effectively and broke down Gerges with clubbing right hooks, right uppercuts and occasional left hooks to the body. Both men were deducted a point in the third round for excessive clinching, fatigue becoming an increasing factor.

In Glory Super Fight Series action, Zack Mwekassa (15-3) stopped Mourad Bouzidi (79-23-2) with punches 1:47 into the first round to claim the interim light heavyweight championship; four-division Lumpinee Stadium champion Saenchai PKSaenchaimuaythaigym (265-48-2) was awarded a unanimous verdict against Eddy Nait-Slimani (60-2), sweeping the scorecards with 29-26, 29-26 and 29-28 scores; Isis Verbeek (9-2) escaped with a split decision over Irina Mazepa (10-20) -- 29-28, 28-29, 29-28 -- to advance to the Glory women’s super bantamweight grand prix semifinals; Anatoly Moiseev (17-1) captured a unanimous verdict over Josh Jauncey (24-7) in a three-round lightweight tilt, drawing 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27 nods from the judges; and Eyevan Danenberg (22-4) took a unanimous decision from Maximo Suarez (38-5) in a three-round welterweight encounter, earning 30-26, 30-26 and 29-27 marks on the scorecards.

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