GLORY Kickboxing Light Heavyweight Grand Prix Preview and Predictions

Let’s take a closer look at each matchup in the Glory Light Heavyweight Grand Prix. On June 8th, GLORY Kickboxing will launch a tournament in their light heavyweight division taking place in Rotterdam, Netherlands. This follows the success of the heavyweight Grand Prix, clinched by Rico Verhoeven.

The one-night elimination tournament will be a relentless gauntlet in which the winner will need to have a victory over three opponents all on the same day. GLORY aims to showcase this chaotic division with top talents like Moroccan champion Tarik Khbabez, the quick and skilful Donegi Abena, the knockout machines Bahram Rajabzadeh and Stefan Latescu, plus seasoned Lithuanian fighter, and former champion, Sergej Maslobojev. These athletes, among others, are primed to bring their best to the ring. A tournament of champions and knockout artists.

Bahram Rajabzadeh vs. Ibrahim El Bouni

Bahram Rajabzadeh from Azerbaijan is a powerful force in combat sports. Known for his aggressive and knockout-focused approach, he recently won with a knockout in Paris against Kevin Oumar. His previous matches include participating in the GLORY Heavyweight Grand Prix, with significant victories over competitors like Uku Jürjendal and Kevin “Cookie” Tariq Osaro.


With a string of impressive knockout wins, quite frequently by way of head kick, he makes an imposing threat for the entire tournament. I’ve often compared him to a young PRIDE FC or Vale Tudo-era Wanderlei Silva. Rajabzadeh swarms with wide punches to help lead into a clinch where he delivers knees. Additionally, if you don’t hit him hard enough then he punches himself.

Ibrahim El Bouni, with Moroccan-Dutch roots, is on the hunt for redemption in the upcoming Grand Prix. Following four successive wins in GLORY, he faced a setback in a title eliminator against Stefan Latescu. He is an experienced fighter who has faced notable opponents such as the current champion Tarik Khbabez and dangerous heavyweight Antonio Plazibat.

The winner of this match will next face the winner of Sergej Maslobojev vs. Bogdan Stoica.

Tim Wheaton’s Prediction: Bahram Rajabzadeh Victory

Sergej Maslobojev vs. Bogdan Stoica

Sergej Maslobojev of Lithuania is a seasoned kickboxer and a past division champion. He clinched the vacant title in a memorable match against Tarik Khbabez in 2022, which was considered for fight of the year. Maslobojev’s career highlights include victories over notable opponents such as Antonio Plazibat, Bahram Rajabzadeh, and Tarik Khbabez.

Due to a leg cut, he lost his world title to Donegi Abena in what was a very close clash. Maslobojev will have the opportunity to reposition himself at the top of the division. He is a crafty veteran with sharp skills.

Bogdan Stoica of Romania brings a rich fighting background influenced by Wushu. Previously, he has held championships in Enfusion and WAKO. His latest victory in GLORY came against the highly ranked Luis Tavares. More recently, he is coming off a leg injury TKO loss from 2023.

The winner of this match will next face the winner of Bahram Rajabzadeh vs. Ibrahim El Bouni.

Tim Wheaton’s Prediction: Sergej Maslobojev Victory

Stefan Latescu vs. Donegi Abena

Donegi Abena, who hails from Surinamese-Dutch descent, is recognized for his speed and precision in the ring. The former titleholder of the division, Abena claimed the championship against Sergej Maslobojev through a leg-cut victory. He is notably one of the youngest competitors in GLORY, having entered the organization before turning 20.

He lost the title in a very memorable war against Tarik Khbabez. The young striker, with dangerous hands, will look to remind the world of his rightful place at the top of the division. Donegi Abena also has trained in boxing with the Fury family.

Romania’s Stefan Latescu is a young, explosive fighter known for his knockout power. At just 22, he has won most of his fights by knockout, currently riding a ten-fight winning streak with seven knockouts. He has already defeated tournament entrants Pascal Touré and Ibrahim El Bouni, with another notable victory over K-1 Champion Mahmoud Sattari.

The Romanian Latescu is a dark horse to win the entire Grand Prix as we don’t entirely know his skill ceiling. He continues to improve in between matches due to his young age. With a different bracket pairing, he would make an easy pick to win. However, he is facing the former champion Donegi Abena which will be a very challenging matchup and the most important of his career.

The winner of this match will then face the winner of Tarik Khbabez vs. Pascal Touré.

Tim Wheaton’s Prediction: Donegi Abena Victory

Tarik Khbabez vs. Pascal Touré

Tarik Khbabez, from Morocco, currently holds the title of world champion in his division. He secured this championship earlier in the year after a tightly contested bout with Donegi Abena. Khbabez, known for his aggressive style, brings a wealth of experience from both the light heavyweight and heavyweight categories in kickboxing.

Morocco’s “The Tank” Khbabez has fought nearly everyone in kickboxing has proven to be a tough competitor for any opponent. Throughout his seasoned career, he has met Sergej Maslobojev, Antonio Plazibat, Roman Kryklia, and Rico Verhoeven, among others.

Pascal Toure, originally from France, is a tough striker with accolades in WKN and other leagues. He earned his spot in the tournament after edging out MMA striker Mohamed Amine by split decision in Paris, France.

The winner of this match will then face the winner of Stefan Latescu vs. Donegi Abena.

Tim Wheaton’s Prediction: Tarik Khbabez Victory