From top to bottom the card looks full of top quality fights with the event being headlined by two of the best heavyweights in the world: Tyrone Spong and Remy Bonjasky.
Both Spong and Bonjasky have competed at the highest level of the sport and fought the best of the best but somehow have missed each other along the way. For many fighting fans this is a match-up that has been in the making for years and finally it is happening.
At this level of kickboxing there are fine margins between winning and losing, so technique for technique there isn’t much to choose between the two.
Bonjasky has a reach advantage and is more of a natural heavyweight compared to Spong, but the latter is more explosive and has youth on his side. However I don’t think that these physical differences will be a defining factor.
If we look at Spong and Bonjasky and what this fight means for their careers we get a better picture of where the fight will be won and lost.
Bonjasky is a veteran of the sport with over 90 fights to his name, four K-1 Grand Prix titles and wins over the likes of Badr Hari (twice), Jerome Le Banner and Alistair Overeem. This alone will count for a lot when he steps into the ring. It’s a big fight for his career as with experience comes age and at 37 Remy isn’t getting any younger.
Glory have not only given a whole sport a new, worldwide platform to earn a living and this has also given Remy Bonjasky one more opportunity to shine and to cement his legacy in history as one of the World’s greatest kickboxers. In order for that to happen it will have to start with a win over Spong. Bonjasky is coming off a loss in his last fight, so not only will he be looking to bounce back but also make a statement over a strong, young opponent in Tyrone Spong.
Spong is at a pivotal point of his career where he plans to compete in MMA and kickboxing.
“I plan to participate in both MMA and Kickboxing at the same time. I'm taking fights in both sports as they are offered to me. My MMA promoter WSOF (World Series of Fighting) was nice enough to let me continue to take kickboxing fights as I wish.” He told me via email.
At 27, Spong is entering the prime of his fighting career with the World at his feet and Remy Bonjasky could be the next step on the ladder to the top. Not only is Spong riding a 4 fight win streak in kickboxing, but he recently got his first MMA win so will be very confident going into this bout. Even though Tyrone Spong is a big name in the sport, beating Remy Bonjasky will be a huge feather in his cap and big achievement which could see him headline more Glory shows in the future and could attract more high-caliber opponents for Spong to fight.
What could work against Spong however is his desire to compete in MMA and kickboxing. His lack of single minded focus on striking could be that fine margin that Remy Bonjasky needs to take advantage of in order to get the win this weekend.
When asked if this would make a difference, Bonjasky replied “Yes definitely, because he won’t be making the punch kick combinations anymore.” And went on further to say “Changing to MMA is for me, similar to a tennis player changing to badminton; it looks the same but it just isn’t.”
So could the ‘distraction’ of MMA training be the difference here? It’s hard to say, as there have been fighters who have had success in both disciplines. Famously Alistair Overeeem won the K-1 Heavyweight Grand Prix, the Dream heavyweight title and defended his Strikeforce heavyweight title all in the space of one calendar year. Spong obviously isn’t on Overeem’s level yet in MMA, but it does show that cross discipline success is possible. This is Spong’s first kickboxing fight after his first MMA bout, so we will only know the answer to this come Saturday night.
This fight is going to come down to who wants it more. How much does Bonjasky want cement his legacy as one of the World’s greatest kickboxers and keep on competing a high level compared to Spong’s desire to prove he should be considered amongst the World’s greatest with a victory over Bonjasky. These questions will be answered Saturday night when the two collide and where that desire to win will be translated into a very exciting fight. Both are looking for the knockout, both are hungry for success but only one can come away with the win.
Glory 5 will take place on Saturday 23rd March at the ExCeL Arena in London. Tickets are still available from http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk or by telephone 0844 847 2543. The event is also available to stream worldwide http://www.gloryworldseries.com/en/events/live