When you bring high level strikers under one roof together, you’re bound to get something spectacular in every event. That’s what GLORY kickboxing presents to the world currently: the biggest stage for kickboxers. Thankfully I have a friend there that green lit my breakdowns.
Joe “Bazooka” Valtellini’s High Kick
The first person I wanted to feature is Joe “Bazooka” Valtellini. He’s unique because of his rise and his story. While working as a full-time special education teacher, he also pursued his world championship dreams. As an amateur, he was undefeated under modified Muay Thai rules: 11-0.
Born in the rich Muay Thai community of Toronto, he studied under one of the best–Paul Minhas. Minhas had long been in the K-1 and MMA arena and being the head coach of Gary Goodridge. Minhas also studied under Ajahn Suchart of the famous Siam #1, a well known school that’s home to North American Muay Thai stars like Clifton Brown, Matt Embree, and Simon Marcus.
However, due to the combat sports laws in his province, Bazooka had difficulty finding amateur fights. With a short amateur career, he’d turned pro in 2010, fighting under the “Friday Night Fights” Muay Thai promotion in New York. There, he defeated highly ranked North American Nak Muays, all with t(ko). That moved him to fight under Lion Fight, North America’s biggest Muay Thai promotion. He faced against a very experienced Muay Thai fighter, and as Friday Night Fights is not full Muay Thai rules, it was a difficult jump. Bazooka lost for the first time via decision.
After one more full rules Muay Thai bout, he joined Glory, and took on fighters with 10 times his experience. With dynamite punches and kicks, he again finished all of them. He was given Murat Direkci on his first fight–a European champion with over 90 fights and a 90% finishing rate. This fight is a must-watch, see how composed Bazooka was with just 8 professional fights.
Fight Against the Greatest Karate Kickboxer
On his 4th fight, he met Raymond Daniels, whom many consider to be the greatest American Kickboxer (full-contact karate) of this era. Daniels was undefeated, and no one before Bazooka knew how to deal with him.
The answer was ring cutting, pressure, and low kicks. A bit ironic that Duke Roufus was commentating this, knowing exactly how to deal with Raymond Daniels. It’s been a long way since “The Legendary Fight That Changed History” between Changpuek Kiatsongkrit and his older brother Rick Roufus.
Tournament Finale: Nieky Holtzken
This advanced Bazooka to the finals for a world championship match with Nieky Holtzken, whom many consider to be the best kickboxer competing today. It was a war and competitive match, but Bazooka was down on points. In the last round, he’d bite down and go out on his shield. To the world, he showed tremendous heart, and the fight was just stopped seconds before the bell could ring. Duke Roufus could barely contain his excitement during this bout.
Marc De Bonte: Another Shot at the Title
As the champion, Holtzken would get injured, and Marc De Bonte would capture the title in his place. It was then that Valtellini got another shot at the title. This time, he took home the gold.
Fighting for Glory Documentary
If you want to see a beautiful combat sports documentary, be sure to check this one out. Look behind the scenes on the fastest rising kickboxer and how he captured the prestigious world title in essentially just 6 kickboxing fights.
Great martial artists are also great human beings–it’s unfortunate that Valtellini had to halt competition due to injuries. Unlike MMA where there are big media companies and organizations sharing their story, kickboxers who are equally great athletes do not get their legacy passed on. It is up to the fans to show support to them and make sure it does.
Be sure to subscribe to my mailing list in order to get a sneak peak and release dates on my e-book. My Nak Muay Nation partner, Sean “Muay Thai Guy” Fagan was fortunate to do a private session with Bazooka and great fight knowledge was shared. I have since then written an in-depth discussion of the ideas surrounding it. With the e-book, many more legends and their fight ideology will be featured and discussed.