HAMPTON, Va. -- Kickboxing fans are going to get the rematch for which they've long been waiting for.
That's because Nieky "The Natural" Holzken defeated Alexandr Stetcurenko and Raymond "Real Deal" Daniels last night (Feb. 6, 2015) to win the GLORY 19 welterweight contender tournament, as well as earn the Ramon Dekkers Memorial Trophy.
And the Dutchman will next take on "Bazooka" Joe Valtellini for the GLORY welterweight title in a rematch from their all-time classic at GLORY 13: "Tokyo" in Dec. 2013.
"I told my little boy and my daughter who are at home watching, and my wife, I said that I would come back with a win and afterward I will come back with the world title, that is mine," Holzken said at the post-fight presser. "Joe Valtellini, I'm going to take it next time."
In the tournament final, Holzken punished Daniels with body shots throughout the contest and knocked him down four times to win via technical knockout (tournament knockdown rule) in the third round.
"The Natural" used his usual repertoire of body punches and sent Daniels to the canvas with a liver shot in the opening frame. Daniels showed heart and made it interesting on several occasions, but Holzken knocked him down two more times in the second.
Daniels hit a back kick that sent Holzken down in the final frame. The Dutch fighter was not happy because he thought it was a slip. Holzken got Daniels in the corner for a final time and hammered a way with a flurry and dropped "Real Deal" for good with a right hand.
The fight was called at the 1:25 mark of the third round.
"In the second fight, I fight the famous American, Raymond Daniels," Holzken told reporters. "He is a bit of a show boy, but that is the way Americans go. He gave me a lot of respect. He gave me a hard fight, a good fight. What I did is what you do against a guy who kicks from different angles. I had to pressure him and I did what I had to do."
Holzken made his return to the GLORY ring after being on a long layoff following a shoulder injury suffered in a car accident last year. Holzken did not look rusty whatsoever. In fact, he looked as technical and efficient as he normally does against Stetcurenko in the semifinal round.
The first fight, look, I didn't' fight for one year against a real good opponent because I was injured, but I did a good job and went three rounds," said Holzken, who improves to 7-0 in GLORY and 92-11 overall. "Compliments to Mr. Stetcurenko."
The No. 1-ranked GLORY welterweight methodically found his openings and picked apart Stetcurenko with crisp body shots and inside and outside leg kicks whenever presented with the opportunity. Holzken won by unanimous decision with all three judges scoring the fight 29-28.
Daniels punched his ticket to the tournament final by knocking down Jonatan Oliveira three times in their semifinal bout, twice in the second round. Daniels moved around freely the entire fight, as Oliveira failed to slow down "Real Deal." Daniels landed several of his unorthodox spinning back kicks. In the opening round he dropped the Brazilian with one to the head. In the second round, he dropped Oliveira twice with two brutal spinning back kicks to the body.
For complete GLORY 19 results, including play-by-play coverage of the entire kickboxing event, click here.