Photo Credit: GLORY
BRUSSELS, Belgium (Oct. 5, 2012) – Two heavyweight contenders collide on Saturday night as Remy Bonjasky’s protégé Danyo Ilunga meets the hard-hitting Turkish fighter Ali Cenik in a bout that will mark the winner as a definite emerging force at the upper-end of the weight class.
Ilunga has a flamboyant style reminiscent of his trainer, the much-decorated multi-time champion ‘Flying Gentleman’ Bonjasky. The flashy stuff isn’t for Cenik - he dresses sharp, but he keeps his fighting simple and he likes to get close and get busy with combinations and hard body kicks.
There’s a lot of hype around Ilunga at present and his training under Bonjasky adds something to it. But Cenik doesn’t care who anyone trains with and at GLORY 2: BRUSSELS, which takes place at the Vorst Nationaal Arena in the Belgian capital, he intends to show Ilunga that names are only names.
"I’ve been trying to combine speed with my knockout power and for sure I am looking for the knockout," he says. "I know Ilunga’s style is similar to Remy’s - a lot of tricks, a lot of combinations, a lot of counters. But I am more powerful. And the flying knee is something we all know is coming so, I am prepared to avoid it. And maybe not only avoid it - maybe there will be something waiting there for him."
Cenik is fighting on the same card as Gokhan Saki, the lightning-fast and super-explosive heavyweight who has a devoted army of fans worldwide thanks to his string of knockout wins and his utter fearlessness in the ring. Cenik and Saki are both of Turkish origin - although Saki grew up in the Netherlands - and Cenik sees ‘The Rebel’ as an example.
"I am very proud of Gokhan Saki, he is a fighter with much success, and while I don’t compare myself with him yet I hope that I can one day be talked about in the same way as him. I am always trying to do my best and trust me I will be going forward, I wont take one step backward and I will be firing heavy shots until I knock him out," he affirms.
Those last words draw a laugh from Ilunga when they are repeated to him.
"Haha! I don’t think so. He has to talk like this of course but I am very sure he knows I am not some easy opponent. I will say this - I am not sure I am going to knock him out but I am sure he is going to lose this fight. One hundred per cent," smiles the African warrior.
Ilunga is now based in Germany but still has a fierce pride in his homeland, which he pays tribute to by wearing traditional tribal dress to the ring when he fights. Its a distinctive get-up and there is certainly no danger that Ilunga will be mistaken for anyone else on his way to battle.
"Its just to show that I am from Africa. Its my African roots, I want to show it. I am from Congo and that’s what I want to show. The Congo warriors use it and so I use it too," he explains, before outlining why he thinks Cenik has bitten off more than he can chew in accepting this match.
"I have my own style - but I do try to fight smart like Remy because he is a very clever fighter, that’s what I try to learn from him. He doesn’t fight like other fighters, who are only running forward and punching. He always gives his best but he is not an ‘open’ fighter - he has a good guard and he closes his guard and doesn’t take a lot of shots.
"As we can see, a lot of other fighters only go forward and punch but they take a lot of punch also. And so I try and avoid damage like Remy does. Every fighter has his own style but I am sure of course that mine is a little bit like Remy."
Remy doesn’t disagree. He also says that Ilunga is probably the most talented fighter he has coached and that if he continues on his present path, he is going to achieve great things in the sport and become the best in the world in his weight class. Does Ilunga agree with that assessment?
"Of course. I focus on it and that’s why I train so hard, I have to work hard to grow the right way. But with Remy and with my focus I can be one of the best."
Doors at Vorst Nationaal Arena will open for GLORY 2 Brussels at 16:30 local time and the undercard fights will commence with MMA rules bouts at 17:00. The main card will begin at 19:00 local time.
The live stream of the event will begin on GloryWorldSeries.com at 10 a.m. EST/7 a.m. PST/16:00 CET with the first undercard bout, a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) rules contest, and continue with the main card.
For more information visit www.gloryworldseries.com