GLORY 88 Preview: The Return of the King

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GLORY is set to head to the French Capital this weekend for a night that will surely be one to remember. GLORY 88 will see the return of one of the biggest legends of the sport as Badr Hari makes his return to kickboxing in a Grand Prix qualifier against James McSweeney in the main event for the evening. After the UFC’s visit to Paris last weekend GLORY will have a tough time trying to one up what was an excellent night of fights, yet with the likes of Badr Hari, Tiffany Van Soest and Berjan Peposhi on the card they are certainly making a solid attempt. 

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Main Event

Badr Hari vs James McSweeney

One of the greatest kickboxers to ever compete, Badr Hari will be making his return to a GLORY ring after his last fight with Alistair Overeem was overturned when Overeem tested positive for performance enhancing drugs. Considered to be one of the greatest kickboxing fighters of all time, Hari has had a storied career which has seen him come up against some of the greatest fighters in the world over the last 20 years or so. While not in the best run of form recently and admittedly likely coming towards the tail end of his career, Hari will be hoping to take one more shot at glory with a win over James McSweeney, a victory qualifies him for the grand prix in December which could be an excellent swan song to go out on if he preforms well at the tournament. 

James McSweeney is another veteran of the fight game, an established kickboxer and MMA fighter who fought many times in the UFC, McSweeney has been involved in combat sports professionally since 2005, now at 42 years old and like Hari is definitely coming to the end of a long and successful career. He knows that the tournament in December is likely his last shot at winning a major title before retirement and will be doing his utmost to get to that Grand Prix. 

Co Main Event 

Tiffany Van Soest vs Sarah Moussaddak

Queen of the Super Bantamweight Division Tiffany Van Soest makes her return to GLORY in what will be the evening’s title fight. Van Soest has established herself as one of the greatest in the world at the weightclass and has defended the belt a staggering 4 times in 2 seperate title reigns and will pushing to make it 5 this Saturday. Her opponent will be Sarah Moussaddak who she previously faced at GLORY Collison 3 where Van Soest ran out as the victor in what was considered by some to be a controversial decision win. 

Moussaddak has established herself as one of the best young kickboxers in the world and at the edge of just 23 will be making her second attempt at capturing a GLORY title. Currently ranked within the top 10 pound for pound women’s rankings, Moussaddak has only competed 12 times in the pro ranks so far. Yet she has fought the best talent in the world and looks to be a woman with an extremely bright future ahead of her.

Main Card

Nordine Mahieddine vs Abderahmane Coulibaly

A light heavyweight clash will see Nordine Mahieddine make his return to the GLORY ring for his 9th fight in the organisation. Losing out to Felipe Micheletti in his last outing, Mahieddine will be hoping to get himself back into the winners column and pick up his first victory in GLORY since 2021. A win here could start him on a trajectory which ultimately could land him a shot at the strap, currently held by Donegi Abena.

He will need to get past Abderahmane Coulibaly in order to do this, Coulibaly is making his return to GLORY for the first time since GLORY 47 where picked up a decision win over Florent Kaouachi. Coulibaly will be looking to avenge his previous defeat to Mahieddine when the pair met all the way back in 2016 where Mahieddine was able to pick up the decision victory. Coulibaly has somewhat disappeared from the limelight in recent years and will be looking to make a return to the big leagues of kickboxing with an emphatic statement on Saturday night. 

Denis Wosik vs Berjan Peposhi

A battle of young featherweights will see two top 10 ranked fighters take each other on at GLORY 88. Ranked number 7 and 8 respectively the two fighters will be looking to put on a statement. Denis Wosik has established himself as a top featherweight in the division with 3 fights in GLORY, winning 2 of them. He most recently lost to Marcos Rios and will be hoping to return to winning ways. A win here would improve his overall record to 3-1 in GLORY and would surely allow him the opportunity to fight up the rankings rather than below, possibly a matchup with someone like Ahmad Chikh Mousa or even a rematch with Rios. 

His opponent Berjan Peposhi has somehow managed to establish himself as one of the brightest talents that GLORY possesses yet still is yet to win a fight in the organisation. Putting on two fight of the year contenders against Ahmad Chikh Mousa and Jan Kaffa respectively, Peposhi has managed to win over many new fans and despite losing his fights has shown that he certainly belongs in GLORY. It is clear that he possesses a huge amount of talent and skill and it feels like he just needs to get a win to get the ball rolling and swing a bit of momentum his way. 

Pascal Toure vs Stefan Latescu 

One of the best young Light Heavyweights in the world will be making their debuts at GLORY 88. Stefan Latescu is a Romanian prodigy who at just 21 years old has firmly established himself in the ranks as a top talent in the kickboxing world. Racking up over 150 victories as an amateur kickboxer, Latescu has seamlessly transitioned to the pro ranks and after losing just 2 of his 17 fights so far, even going on a 8 fight winning streak, he appears to have found his rhythm. Latescu has only began to compete internationally as a pro in the last year or so, while the atmosphere at GLORY 88 will be unlike anything he has ever felt before he will have to remain focused as he takes on the toughest test of his career so far. 

Pascal Toure has established himself as one of the best Light Heavyweights in the world, a technical fighter who often picks up his victories and defeats by points, Toure possesses a varied skillset and excellent cardio which has saw him pick up 15 victories during his time as a pro. Also making his debut in GLORY, Toure will be aiming to implement his cardio and set a fast pace that the youngster may be inexperienced with. 

Karim Ghajji vs Nikola Todorovich

Another legend of the sport who makes return to Kickboxing after more than 3 years away is Karim Ghajji. Ghajji is a veteran of the game who at the age of 42 and with over 120 fights to his name is surely close to hanging up the gloves for good, yet a fight in his hometown was too much of a pull to ignore. Having last competed for the GLORY welterweight title in 2020 with a failed attempt at defeating Cedric Doumbe, Ghajji’s prime saw him recognised as one of the top Welterweights in the world in the early to mid 2010s. Possessing huge amounts of power with half of his wins ending via KO, Ghajji will be hoping that he is able to land a trademark power shot on Saturday night and shut the lights off for his much younger opponent. 

Nikola Todorovich is a young 25 year old Welterweight contender who will have the youth and the size advantage. Standing at 6 feet 2 inches tall, Todorvich is remarkably large for the weight class and will attempt to use this range in order to land a power shot of his own. 14 of his 26 victories have come by way of KO. Making his debut for GLORY Todorovich will be jumping at the chance to claim the scalp of a kickboxing legend in their hometown.

Jonathan Mayezo vs James Conde

Two exciting young Lightweights get set to do battle at GLORY 88. Both are 23 years old while Mayezo certainly has the experience advantage with over 30 professional fights compared to Conde’s 8. Mayezo has actually fought once before in GLORY picking up a decision loss to Chris Wunn whereas Conde is making his debut in the organisation. With both fighters fighting at home soil they will certainly be looking to make a statement on Saturday and deliver a good performance in front of their home crowd.

Illiass Hammouche vs Florian Kroger

A Middleweight bout, Hammouche will be making his GLORY return after 2 years away, Kroger is currently 0-1 in the organisation. Hammouche will have the reach, power and experience advantage and will be hoping to beat a fighter such as Kroger if he wishes to make any real impact on the Middleweight division.

Diaguely Camara vs Ilyass Chakir

A welterweight fight which will see number 10 ranked Diaguely Camara take on promotional newcomer Ilyass Chakir. After establishing himself as a ranked fighter with a stoppage win over Eduard Gafencu, Camara will be looking to extend his winning streak and start to build some serious momentum that will allow him to start climbing up the rankings of the Welterweight division.

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