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Glory kickboxing terminates all Russian athletes

GLORY kickboxing today announced it has terminated all Russian athletes as a result of complications from the war in Ukraine.

That includes light heavyweight champion Artem Vakhitov.

As a result, top contenders Luis Tavares and Sergej Maslobojev will collide for the vacant title in the GLORY 81 co-main event on Aug. 20 inside CASTELLO Dusseldorf in Dusseldorf, Germany.

“We’d like to deeply thank our Russian athletes for their cooperation during this challenging time and for their historic performances in our league. We value them as athletes, competitors, and friends, and this regrettable situation is not their fault. It’s not our fault either,” said GLORY Executive Vice Chairman Scott Rudmann.

Some of the challenges presented for the promotion — which have also affected similar organizations like UFC — include travel bans, safety concerns, payment blockages, and unwilling opponents, just to name a few.

“We respect their careers and commitment to the sport, and we’ve gone to enormous lengths to try and make various bouts happen for them, but the real-world challenges are insurmountable in today’s environment,” Rudmann continued. “Hopefully this terrible war initiated by the Russian government will get resolved as quickly as possible, and Artem Vakhitov and other Russian fighters will be able to return to the GLORY ring where they will be welcomed.”

GLORY 81 will be headlined by the heavyweight battle between Jamal Ben Saddik and Benjamin Adegbuyi.