We take a look at the fighters facing off this weekend in Copenhagen at Glory 40 as Jason Wilnis and Simon Marcus face off in one of the most hotly anticipated Kickboxing bouts of the year so far as Marcus looks to settle the score against the fighter who took his middleweight belt at Glory 33.
Jason Wilnis – 7/4/0
Jason Wilnis was a keen soccer player in his youth but at age 17 he followed his older brother Jahfarr to The Colosseum Gym in their home city of Utrecht, Netherlands. Together they began a journey which has taken them around the world and into kickboxing’s premier league.
Jason’s trainers quickly noticed that he had some of the key ingredients a successful fighter would need. He was fast and aggressive, kept himself fit and lived a clean lifestyle outside of the gym.
He had his first fight not long after he started training, debuting in the novice class, and it wasn’t long before he caught the eye of talent scouts who signed him to Its Showtime, the leading European organization which was bought out by GLORY in 2012.
Wilnis likes his nickname ‘Tyson’, because he is a lifelong fan of the former heavyweight boxing champion and considers him one of his sporting idols. The nickname was put on him partly to reflect his obsession with the iconic fighter and partly in tribute to his own fighting style.
“He hits really, really hard,” laughs elder sibling Jahfarr. “I’m not just saying that because I’m his brother. Its absolutely true. If you fight him you are going to know about it, at the time and the next day as well.”
Simon Marcus – 5/3/0
One of the most physically imposing fighters on the GLORY roster, Simon Marcus is as tough as his physique looks.
A wild and rebellious youth saw Marcus expelled from several schools and endure numerous brushes with the law, including a spell in a young offender’s institution, before he discovered a Muay Thai gym by chance and started training.
That gave him a direction and an outlet for his energies. In retrospect it seems fate led him in the door of the gym that day, as Marcus went on to become the world’s top middleweight Muay Thai fighter, earning a plethora of awards and titles.
In 2014, he looked to replicate his Muay Thai success in the world of Kickboxing. The two sports look very similar but there are fundamental differences: in Muay Thai, fighters are allowed to clinch for extended periods of time and they are also allowed to strike with the elbow. In Kickboxing, both are removed; the clinch is heavily limited.
That question of how he would transition to the new rules was answered when he debuted against Joe Schilling in the opening match of the GLORY 17 “LAST MAN STANDING” tournament in Los Angeles.
It was a super-close fight, brutal war, and Marcus looked close to scoring a finish win before Schilling pulled off a KO of his own in the dying seconds of the extra fourth round. When 2014 closed out, the bout was nominated for Fight of the Year.
Marcus was undeterred. He quickly got back in there and got on a winning streak before winning the title at GLORY 27 CHICAGO thanks to, in his words, “mentally breaking” former champion Artem Levin and “forcing him to quit” by walking out of the ring. Marcus would lose the belt to Jason Wilnis at GLORY 33 but remains in contention.