There is no kickboxer in the world that’s more technically gifted than Giorgio Petrosyan. None.
Tonight in Milan, Italy, one of the pound for pound best fighters on the planet tangled with the “Hyena” Hafid el Boustati. Boustati is most well known more for beating Robin Van Roosmalen via cut stoppage. Most people know him as a technician, relying on his superior mind to outwork and outflank opponents. If tonight’s fight could be compared to a game of chess, Boustati didn’t take a single piece.
From the opening round Petrosyan put on a lesson in footwork, timing, and ring generalship. Boustati landed maybe two or three shots the entire fight, while simultaneously getting countered, punched, kneed, and body-kicked. Hafid looked totally and completely helpless. And although he had no answer for the Italian, he still put up a valiant effort until the final bell.
So what’s next for the Ferrari of kickboxing?
The only kickboxer that might present a challenge to Petrosyan is the man that lost to him at the GLORY MAX late last year: Robin Van Roosmalen.
Roosmalen also took the stage today in Milan, squaring off against the much larger Murthel Groenhart. A lot of people, including myself, believed Groenhart was going to dominate this fight. During his violent run through the K-1 MAX tournament last year, the world expected he would use his strength to push the smaller, stockier Roosmalen into a corner and bring him down.
No one told Roosmalen that however, and after a slightly rocky start, he put Groenhart on his back with a perfectly timed hook late in the first round. From then on, Groenhart transformed from a terrifying, unstoppable force of nature, to a plus sized punching bag.
Roosmalen teed off on the K-1 champion over the next two rounds, halting a brief attempt at a comeback in the third, and pummeling him until the final bell. With this win “Pokerface” cements himself as the number two ranked 70kg fighter in the sport. As of now, he seems to be the only one that might be capable of winning a round against Petrosyan.
Also on the card GLORY MAX semi-finalist Davit Kiria put on a show against nak muay Yury Bessmertny. Kiria, a kyokushin karate black belt, demonstrated exceptional boxing and nearly impenetrable defense en route to a unanimous decision victory.
Heavyweight Rico Verhoeven proved why he deserved to be in the GLORY top ten rankings after dismantling the Brazilian born Jhonata Diniz. Using an unconventional rear-inside leg kick, mastery of defense, and 3-punch combinations, Verhoeven frustrated Diniz in the first, wore him out in the second, and attacked with near impunity in the third to take home the decision win. I hope we’ll see him in the ring with some higher level competition soon. Maybe Errol Zimmerman or Daniel Ghita?
In one of the most competitive fights of the evening, Artem Levin matched up with 85kg superstar and Mike’s Gym pupil Sahak Parparyan. Sak took the first round by pushing the pace and countering Levin’s wide body shots, but the Russian stormed back in the second with crushing knees and a tight defense. In the third Levin was given a yellow card due to leading with the head, but won the round and earned a 9-9 draw. The fight went into an extension round, which the renowned Muay Thai champion won with ease.
A fight between two rising stars- Marat Grigorian and Chingiz Allazov- ended in disappointment when the fight was halted late in the first round due to an accidental elbow. Allazov was cut just over the nose while pushing forward, and the bout had to be called off due to safety concerns. Hopefully we can see a rematch in what was shaping up to be a great contest.
The aging Kaoponlek proved that a muay thai champion, no matter how old can still hold his own with the best kickboxers in the world. The former Lumpinee champion completely obliterated Suriname’s Sergio Wielzen, knocking him down in the first with a hard straight left. Over the next two rounds Kaoponlek toyed with the smaller fighter, throwing him, knocking him off balance, and kneeing him into submission. although Wielzen managed to survive until the final bell, Kaoponlek walked away with an easy decision victory.
In one of the most controversial fights of the night, Michael Dutt won a decision over Australia’s Steve McKinnon. While Dutt could have won the first with his swarming punches, I find it difficult to believe he was given the second. McKinnon began kicking more frequently, avoiding the Dutchman’s wide punches, and forcing Duut into the clinch where he was clearly the superior fighter. In the third round McKinnon opened up, and Duut seemed nearly defenseless. Despite this, Duut was awarded the decision win in the last of a series of strange judges calls. I hope a rematch might be in order.
Full Results Below
Karapet Karapetyan def. Roberto Cocco by Decision
Michael Duut def. Steve Mckinnon by Decision
Kaoponlek def. Sergei Wielzen by Decision
Chingiz Allazov vs. Marat Grigorian-No Contenst due to Unintentional Elbow
Artem Levin def. Sahak Parparyan by Decision in an Extension Round
Rico verhoeven def. Jhonata Diniz by Decision
Davit Kiria def. Yury Bessmertny by Decision
Robin Van Rossmalen def. Murthel Groenhart by Decision
Giorgio Petrosyan def. Hafid El Boustati by Decision
(Image courtsey of Ben Pontier)