Now that 2017 is in the books, Combat Press is taking a look back at the best that the sport of kickboxing had to offer. Over the next few weeks, Combat Press will announce its award winners in multiple categories, covering everything from the action in the ring to the biggest stories surrounding the sport.
“The more difficult the victory, the greater the happiness in winning.” – Pele
A comeback is one of the most sought after moments in sports. The dramatics involved with a come-from-behind victory create moments that transcend sports. Kickboxing is a sport with incredible ebbs and flows, turns of fortune, and spectacular comebacks. D’Angelo Marshall snatched victory out from under top-10 heavyweight Ismael Londt with a last-second knockdown in the third round of a fight he was going to lose at GLORY 49. Alex Pereira won the 2017 “Fight of the Year” with a tide-turning left hook knockout of Israel Adesanya, who had never been knocked out before in nearly 100 fights.
The best comeback of the year, however, could also be considered one of the best upsets of the year. Fabio Pinca was coming off of a knockout win against Rungrat Pumpanmuang in France and a championship-winning performance against Manaowan Sitsongpeenong at the famed Rajadamnern stadium in Thailand, which is one of the most prestigious belts in Muay Thai. In fact, Pinca had won 12 of his prior 13 fights with victories over Charlie Peters for the Lion Fight welterweight title, Reece McAllister for the ISKA belt, Kunlun Fight tournament champ Yang Zhuo, YOKKAO champ Liam Harrison, IFMA titleholder Andrei Kulebin, Bobo Sacko, Azize Hlali and Mosab Amrani.
Leading into his GLORY 47 featherweight contender tournament opening bout with Anvar Boynazarov, I stated that “Pinca has an easier route to the final.” against Boynazarov. It was looking like the inevitable was going to happen until one moment when Boynazarov changed the course of the fight with one perfectly placed left hook.
Other finalists: D’Angelo Marshall vs. Ismael Londt (GLORY: Redemption), Kevin VanNostrand vs. Anvar Boynazarov (GLORY 48), Regian Eersel vs. Sergej Braun (Mix Fight Gala 21), Dzhabar Askerov vs. Rhassan Muhareb (Russian Challenge 3), Tetsuya Yamato vs. Elson Patrick (Krush.79), and Alex Pereira vs. Israel Adesanya (Glory of Heroes 7)
Make sure you check out the rest of the Combat Press 2017 Kickboxing Award winners.