ISTANBUL -- GLORY chairman, Pierre Andurand, was in attendance at Friday's GLORY 15 weigh in event at Hotel Suadiye, proudly wearing a GLORY T-shirt under a blue sport jacket. There was a high level of intensity and excitement in the room, especially after Tyrone Spong and Saulo Cavalari weighed in (pics). The GLORY 15 light heavyweight tournament is one of the most hyped events in GLORY's short history and will feature Turkey's favorite fighter, Gokhan Saki and Australian Muay Thai champion Nathan Corbett.
"The stare down between Spong and Cavalari was intense," Andurand said. "Saulo Cavalari has fought twice for GLORY and the two times he fought, he had two-days notice. He dominated Filip Verlinden more than Spong dominated Filip Verlinden and than he knocked out Bouzidi when Saki couldn't knock out Bouzidi a couple of years ago. I think he is the underdog and he's going to fight for his life and I think he can be a surprise. I think Spong knows that he has two very tough opponents in front of him. It's a very open tournament and it's very hard to predict."
A very successful commodities trainer, and avid fight fan, Andurand explained that they have been trying to get match ups with these four fighters for quite some time.
"Some of the fights we've tried to make happen for years, the GLORY chairman reveals. "We haven't seen Spong vs. Saki since 2009. We tried to make that fight happen for years but we couldn't. We tried to make Saki vs. Corbett for years, but we couldn't. So finally we have that fight. They are all very fast and powerful and the same size. In the past, you would have guys like Spong and Saki that were in heavyweight fighting with guys so much taller and heavier than them."
Saki has been getting the lion's share of attention during all the pre-fight media events. The last time "The Rebel" fought in Turkey was last April at GLORY 6 and "it felt like they were 100,000 people in the arena," Andurand said.
"The fans in Turkey will be much louder than the ones in Zagreb," he continued, referring to GLORY 14 where Croatia's Mirko Filipovic fought Remy Bonjasky.
"When Saki fought Ghita and the crowd was going crazy," he said. "It was so loud. Every time there was a Turkish fighter the crowd was going nuts. There will be a good atmosphere tomorrow."
GLORY 15 will be the kickboxing promotion's fifth card on Spike TV, and Andurand says he "has a good feeling about it" in regards to the ratings. They took a slight dip with GLORY 14 in Zagreb, but with a light heavyweight tournament featuring Saki, as well as the ever popular Tyrone Spong (and no competition from MMA), the numbers could potentially be the best on Spike yet.
Andurand expects that they will be.
"The ratings went down last time because we were off the air for two months and we had a contender tournament, so it was not the same hype as a final tournament and we had competition from boxing and MMA on that night," the award-winning investor explained.
"I expect to have our best ratings ever."