A women's division is officially coming to GLORY kickboxing.
At Citizens Business Bank Arena earlier today, the world's leading kickboxing promotion announced the launch of the women's super bantamweight division, which carries a limit of 122 pounds (55.5 kg).
In addition to that news, GLORY announced a Grand Prix tournament to crown the inaugural women's super bantamweight champion. That tournament will play out over the course of several events.
GLORY CEO Jon J. Franklin got a great taste of women's action just last week as a guest for Invicta FC. He told MMAmania.com just before today's announcement it made him even more excited for the new GLORY women's super bantamweight division.
"It was great for me to be at Invicta and see how these girls fight their heart out," he said. "I'm looking forward to having a division of women who all have the same passion for combat sports."
Franklin said the launch of the new division is very "meaningful" to him because his mother and sisters were all athletes. The longtime television executive has had a great deal of experience working with women in boxing in two of his prior places of employment. The GLORY CEO worked with America Presents for the Jackie Frazier-Lyde vs. Leila Ali fight in 2001 and also served as the Olympic broadcast supervisor with the Olympic Broadcast Services for women's boxing in the 2012 Olympics.
"This is really the culmination of being able to be a part of watching women grow in combat sports," Franklin said. "It's personally meaningful and very exciting to me to be able to announce this today."
The first matchup in the eight-woman tournament will be Tiffany van Soest and Esma Hasshass, which takes place tomorrow night (May 13, 2016) on the Superfight Series portion of the GLORY 30 card. "Timebomb" was the first fighter signed to the promotion.
The second fight of the Grand Prix will take place at GLORY 31 where Isis Verbeek (8-2) of the Netherlands will face Iman "Pretty Killer" Barlow (82-5-3) of England.
The final two bouts of the tournament were announced, but the card and date they will take place on were not yet revealed.
Former Bellator MMA strawweight champion Zoila Frausto (4-0) will meet German boxer Daniel Graf (23-4-1) and undefeated World Kickboxing Network (WKN) champion, Amel Dehby (27-0) of France will square off against Korean muay thai champion, Ji-Waen Lee (13-2).
In addition to that bout, South African's Ferial "Felix" Ameeroedien will face Russia's Irena Mazepa in the tournament reserve bout.