NEW YORK, N.Y. (March 22, 2013) –Twenty-six year old Cameroon import Francois Ambang (9-2, 4 KOs) of Mechanicsville, Va. utilized relentless attacks to the body and head with his fists to defeat three consecutive opponents, including championship round adversary and previously undefeated tournament favorite Brett Hlavacek (8-1, 3 KOs) to earn the development Road To GLORY USA welterweight (170 pounds/77 kilograms) tournament championship and a $20,000 grand prize at Capitale in New York, N.Y. on Saturday, March 23.
“This gives me a lot of motivation,” said Ambang in tears over his victory in the one-night, eight-man, single-elimination affair. “I want to be a champion someday and I’m going to do it.”
Ambang, who hails from a small village in his native Cameroon where he boxed as an amateur before immigrating to the U.S. and taking up kickboxing, came out of the gates barraging Jeremy Carper (5-2, 5 KOs) of Martinsburg, W. Va. with flurries of body punches.
In the second round, Ambang put Carper down with a hard right hand. After Carper beat the referee’s count, Ambang sent his opponent down for the second time, bringing the bout to a close due to the tournament’s two knockdown rule and giving Ambang the victory by way of TKO.
In the semifinal stage of the tournament, Ambang was faced with a game Marcus Fisher (17-10, 3 KOs) of Pittsburg, Pa. Ambang put Fisher down with a straight right hand in the first round, but Fisher made it to his feet and engaged Ambang in a series of heavy exchanges until the close of the first frame.
Ambang went on the attack in the second round, throwing bombs with his hands, but was unable to finish Fisher. In the third stanza, Fisher rallied with crisp round kicks to the body and a sizzling right hand, but the offensive wasn’t enough to turn the scores in his favor and Ambang advanced to the championship round with a majority decision victory.
Against the 29-year-old Hlavacek, a protégé of renowned Muay Thai trainer Phil Nurse, Ambang was expected to fall like his predecesors Ryan Parker (14-1, 3 KOs) of Rochester, N.Y. and Eric Utsch (6-2, 2 KOs) of Breinigsville, Pa. had in the quarterfinal and semifinal stages of the tournament, respectively. Light on his feet and precise with his counter-striking, Hlavacek took out Parker in just 41 seconds of the first round of their matchup and coasted to a unanimous decision over Utsch.
In the first round of the championship showdown, Hlavacek appeared as poised as he had been during both of his previous matchups and unloaded a dose of leg kicks in the opening seconds of the bout.
As the round headed towards a close, Ambang backed Hlavacek into a corner and suddenly unloaded a furious storm of punches upstairs and downstairs rendering Hlavacek unable to defend himself. The referee stepped in and waved off the fight at the 2:53 mark of the first round, leaving Ambang the winner of the event.
GLORY returns to the big stage tomorrow, Saturday, March 23, with a star-studded event, headlined by a highly-anticipated heavyweight showdown between superstars Tyrone Spong (68-6-1 42 KO’s) of Boca Raton, Fla. via Suriname and Remy Bonjasky (77-15, 40 KO’s) of The Netherlands, at ExCel Arena in London, England. The event will stream live in its entirety to a global audience on www.gloryworldseries.com, beginning at 19:30 UK time/2:30 p.m. EST/11:30 a.m. PST.
COMPLETE ROAD TO GLORY USA WELTERWEIGHT TOURNAMENT RESULTS:
Marcus Fisher def. Anthony Nieves via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27)
Francois Ambang def. Jeremy Carper via TKO – Round 2 (2:05)
Brett Hlavacek def. Ryan Parker via TKO (two knockdown rule) – Round 1 (:41)
Eric Utsch def. Tarek Rached via KO – Round 1 (:18)
Francois Ambang def. Marcus Fisher via majority decision (27-28, 29-28, 29-27)
Brett Hlavacek def. Eric Utsch via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Francois Ambang def. Brett Hlavacek via TKO – Round 1 (2:53)
GLORY World Series (www.gloryworldseries.com) is the world’s new premier kickboxing league, producing live events across the globe and offering up to $2 million in prize money to the winners of one-night, 16-man ‘Grand Slam’ tournaments and 8-man ‘Slam’ tournaments, which are open to only the best fighters in each of six different weight classes. The fight series also includes events with traditional, single bouts.
With television deals spanning every continent, online live video streaming of all shows and the world’s largest online martial arts library, GLORY is one of the world’s most widely distributed sporting organizations.
Owned and operated by Glory Sports International (GSI), the organization has offices in the UK, Netherlands, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and the US. Its personnel include an unprecedented mix of accomplished entrepreneurs and senior level executives from the diverse worlds of finance, sports marketing, television and martial arts fighting.
In 2013, GLORY launched the Road To GLORY tournament fight series to identify and develop new kickboxing talent in the United States, Japan and elsewhere around the globe into future champions and superstars of the sport.
Event activation and television production by The Sports and Entertainment Company LLC (Sports-EntCo)