In the Media

New York’s Joe Taylor: “The other guys are excited to be here. I belong here. That’s the difference.”

via Glory Kickboxing Website
Photo Credit – James Law, GLORY Sports International

Joe Taylor grew up in Lockport, New York, the son of of a professional boxer. His father wanted his son to follow him into the fight game and he did, albeit later in life than his father had envisaged.

“The best words I can use to describe my life growing up was “a struggle”. We grew up poor, but my parents always worked hard to put food on the table and keep a roof over our heads. I was in the streets doing what kids in the street do…get in trouble,” he relates.

“My father was a legendary professional boxer in upstate New York. I used to hear stories about him never dodging a fight, taking bouts on days notice and his true grit and strength along with a heart of a champion.

“He always wanted me to become a fighter, but I was too busy getting into trouble and finding myself on the other side of the law. It wasn’t until after he passed in 2013 that I decided to fulfill my fathers wishes and carry out his legacy.

“On my 26th birthday, I decided I didn’t want this life any more and I needed to make a significant change. I started an apprenticeship program in carpentry, enrolled myself in college and that was my first step.

“I then approached a local professional world champion kickboxer, Amer Abdallah, who also trained with my father. I wanted to begin fighting but he turned me away; he told me ‘Come back when you’re serious about this’.

“Two years went by, my father passed away and I dedicated myself to combat sports. I sat in Amer’s office and told him “I’m in 100%, this is now my life”. He set me up with a team, a trainer, a program. He also introduced and flew me out to the Mayweather Boxing Club where I come out to train with the best in the world.

“In 2013 I sent a message to GLORY kickboxing and said “I will see you soon”. Here we are, four years later, on the biggest stage in the world and living my dreams. I’ve won an amateur world title, national titles and Golden Gloves championships, en route to becoming the GLORY world champion, God willing.”

Taylor says that his father’s passing has lit a fire under him which will drive him to the top of the middleweight division. He is thrilled to get his call-up to GLORY but also taking it in stride: “The other guys are excited to be here. I belong here. That’s the difference,” he says.

At GLORY 43 NEW YORK next week he will face fellow NY-state resident Ariel Sepulveda, a veteran of one previous GLORY appearance (he lost to Dustin Jacoby at GLORY 23 LAS VEGAS).

Both Taylor and Sepulveda are looking to stake a claim to a regular spot on the roster when they throw down next week at Madison Square Garden, as well as searching for bragging rights as the top dog at 185lbs in New York State.

GLORY 43 NEW YORK takes place at The Theater at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan, New York on Friday, July 14.

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Fight Results

Kevin VanNostrand is the New Featherweight Contender

via Glory Kickboxing Website
Photo Credit – James Law, GLORY Sports International

Kevin VanNostrand’s last appearance in the GLORY ring was a February 2016 decision loss to Giga Chikadze at GLORY 27 CHICAGO. A year and a half later, in his home state of New York, he got his revenge, out-landing Chikadze to take a decision win and victory in the Featherweight Contender Tournament.

VanNostrand booked his spot in the final via a semi-final destruction of British debutante Mo Abdurahman, overwhelming him in a whirlwind of technical savagery. There was not the slightest pretence of a feeling-out process.

He simply met Abdurahman as he came forward and went right into a clean flow of combination shots. Abdurahman got rocked; VanNostrand just kept on him, combination after combination, pouring the pressure on.

Abdurahman bravely fought his way back into the fight only to find himself caught again and on the defensive. A knockdown seemed inevitable. When it came, it was one of the most impressive pieces of timing and setup that the GLORY ring has ever hosted.

VanNostrand backed Abdurahman onto the ropes, herded him into place with his hands and then hit a spinning backfist which put the Brit down. That one will be a feature of many, many highlight reels of the future.

Abdurahman beat the count. He was on shaky legs but still game for the fight and re-entered the fray unhesitatingly. Unfortunately for him VanNostrand was ready and waiting. He intercepted Abdurhman, caught him clean and then resumed barraging him until he scored another knockdown.

That knockdown ended the fight under the two-knockdowns rule which governs tournament bouts and sent VanNostrand through to the final.

Chikadze’s route took a little longer. He faced Russia’s Alexey Ulianov, a team mate of light-heavyweight champion Artem Vakhitov. They had a tough, technical battle, hammering each other with kicks, knees and punches.

They went to the judges and it looked like Ulianov was going to take the win, only for the judges to give the nod to Chikadze, who had deployed by far the most flamboyant shots of the fight.

In the final it seemed like VanNostrand would have the advantage, having expended less energy, but things were very even. The two were highly motivated and very hungry for the win, both seeing themselves as worthy title challengers and a future champion.

Things were competitive. Early on Chikadze looked to be in the driving seat and dominating the fight, but he hurt himself with a foolish move in the second round, picking VanNostrand up during a clinch and slamming him into the floor. That earned him a point deduction from referee Dan Miragliotta.

In the event, the point deduction was irrelevant. After three rounds, the judges saw VanNostrand as the winner of every round. The deduction only made Chikadze’s score lower. VanNostrand put on a career-best performance, made a statement about himself and booked himself a title shot in his home arena. Not a bad night’s work for the man from Syracuse.

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In the Media

Vicious Spinning Back Fist Leads to TKO

At GLORY 43, Kevin Vannostrand drops Mo Abdurahman with a spinning back fist in the first round. Abdurahman would get up, but would shortly be sent back down to the canvas and the fight is called.
via espn.com

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In the Media

Taylor Plans July Fight at Historic MSG

Lockport Cruiserweight Headed to NYC in July

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

It was a disappointing set back last week for Lockport’s Joe Taylor, but there’s good news on the horizon for the hometown hero and knockout artist.

Taylor lost by split decision last Saturday to Canadian Joe George for the WKA Northeast Title in a five-round brutal affair at the Kenan Arena.

Two out of three ringside judges awarded George the fight by 1 point and one judge had it in Taylor’s favor by a point.

“The loss was a learning experience,” Taylor said. “I feel like I could have won the fight if I fought a little harder. You live to learn and I’m blessed to live and fight another day.”

“The learning experience is invaluable” added Taylor’s head coach Corey Webster of Western New York MMA in Buffalo. “While the goal is to win them all, there are bumps along the way.”

The question on everyone’s mind now is, whats next?

Lace Up Promotions CEO Amer Abdallah said the fight was a close one.

“It could have gone either way and we obviously would have liked to get a hometown decision, but that’s what keeps the sport clean and we all respect the decision of the judges,” Abdallah said. “I stayed with Joe all night after the fight. Aside from him being my fighter, he’s my little brother and a close friend. We talked, laughed and began planning the next step.”

Abdallah, Webster and Taylor have decided to continue to push Taylor’s career forward.

“We’re taking Joe Taylor to Madison Square Garden.” Abdallah said. “For the first time in almost 40 years, a Lockport fighter will fight in Madison Square Garden on a worldwide stage. The largest kickboxing promotion in the world ‘GLORY,’ will host Glory 43 on July 14 in New York City at the world famous boxing mecca, Madison Square Garden. I have a wonderful relationship with GLORY and we wanted a big fight for Joe. We aren’t aren’t looking for soft touches. We’re in champion-building mode.”

Added Webster, “I believe stepping on to the big stage will bring out the best Joe Taylor we’ve seen yet. His desire to succeed is unparalleled.

It won’t be easy for the former Lockport semi-pro football all-star running back Taylor (2-1), who will now fight a kickboxer who once beat Joe George, veteran Ariel Sepulveda (4-2).

“It’s an honor to fight in Madison Square Garden,” Taylor said.

“Not too many people have the opportunity to do so. Everything is on the line and I can’t take another loss. I need a big win. It’s all or nothing and we didn’t make it this far to turn around now.”

Only three other Lockport fighters have ever fought at the Garden, Tommy Hicks (1972), Pat Cuillo (1979) and Taylor’s father, Johnnie Taylor (1971).

“These lockport legends paved the way for all of todays champions,” Abdallah said. “Joe will be the fourth person in history to represent our hometown in the Garden and will do so in front of the world”.

Added Taylor, “I thank God for everything and thank Lace Up Promotions, my family, and my community for their support. My sponsors, the McClains, Johnsons and Harris Construction for believing in me. I believe bigger and better things in life will always come.”

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Fight Results

OH CANADA! George Beats Taylor

George Earns Split Decision Title Win Over Lockport’s Taylor at Kenan

By John D’Onofrio
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Canada’s Joe George utilized his height and experience to the hilt, beating Lockport’s Joe Taylor by split decision on Saturday night to capture the WKA Northeast Cruiserweight Championship at the Kenan Arena.

All was not disappointment for the home folks, however, with an inspirational knockout win by Lockport’s Eric Plumeri and victories by other hometown favorites that include Papa Sean Felton, Nate Woods and Brandon Mindoro on an 11-bout international amateur and professional fight card promoted by Lace-Up Promotions.

Before a large, vocal, partisan crowd, Taylor (2-1) landed the more telling blows in his first pro title fight, but the Canadian National Champion never seemed fazed, constantly shortening the distance between him and Taylor and going for clinches whenever the Lockport knockout specialist tried to back him up to the ropes.

George’s long, powerful leg kicks kept Taylor at a distance throughout the five-round main event, which concluded without a knockdown. The judge’s scorecards were 48-47 George, 47-48 Taylor and 48-47 George.

“Joe’s had two pro fights before he took this fight and without making any excuses for him, there was some injuries that he had that we didn’t make public,” said Amer Abdallah of Lace-Up Promotions.

“I didn’t fight for a title until my fourth or fifth pro fight, but we know there’s more of a sense of urgency with Joe because he’s in his mid-30s. They said they wanted to move as fast as he can and this is the next level. In hindsight, I would have taken the guys and progressed them slower, but the bottom line is this was a very close fight.”

After feeling each other out in the first round, the title fight picked up pace in the second with Taylor landing some hard punches to the head, but the Kitchener, Ontario native George never let his opponent dictate the action, moving in to tie him up whenever a flurry started.

Taylor landed more punches in the third with a couple of solid right hands, but even with the crowd chanting Taylor’s name, George maneuvered confidently around the ring unfazed, landing hard leg kicks to Taylor’s legs and body, frustrating the Lockportian throughout.

George (6-2) winced at a possible low blow in the fourth round that delayed the fight only momentarily, then with both fighters beginning to show signs of tiring, Taylor landed a big right hand to close out the round. Taylor remained the aggressor in the fifth and final round, but George maintained his poise and strategy, then walked away with the narrow, split-decision win.

Meanwhile, “The Candyman” can, as Plumeri KO’d Jonathan Hines with just 13 seconds left in the fourth round in their Lace up Promotions Professional Middleweight Championship-scheduled five-round bout.

Hines held his own early on, especially the first two rounds, but Plumeri’s steady dose of body shots began taking their toll in the third. Plumeri’s solid left hand to the midsection dropped Hines in the third, but Hines withstood the 10-count by referee Bill Kiefer and the fight continued on.

The writing was on the wall in the fourth round. Plumeri, always the aggressor, dropped Hines again with lefts and rights to the head early on. Following another 10-count from Kiefer, Plumeri delivered a left to the head, then a right cross to the head that dropped the veteran Hines (26-4) for good.

The fight itself was a “blessing,” said Plumeri (2-0), who’s been the unlucky victim of scheduled opponents failing to show up for fight night cards on several occasions over the past few years. Plumeri is trained by Lockport native Cory Webster at Western New York MMA in Buffalo.

“I was a little hesitant in the first round because I knew he had a lot of experience,” Plumeri said. “Cory calmed me down in the corner and after that, I just let my hands go and just went to work.”

Plumeri said he did his share of celebrating after the win, but when the night ended, he added he was happy just to go home quietly with his wife, Jeri, and infant daughter, Zaria, 16 months.

Abdallah said calls are “pouring in” from across the country for Plumeri.

“That was a huge, huge win for Eric against an experienced opponent. The Candyman’s back,” Abdallah said.

“He said to me after the fight, ‘I will fight for free.’ That’s how much he wants to get back into the ring. Eric, as you well know, has probably got the worst luck with guys not showing up, or guys showing up for weigh-ins then not showing up for the fight, so he’s been through some disappointment. We’re happy he was able to perform and look forward to promoting his next fight.”

Added Plumeri, “I’m just thankful to this community and to Amer and his promotional company, and Cory, and to everyone who’s been supporting me.”

In other bouts at the Kenan on Saturday:

  • 155 pounds, K1: Cody Farrington d. Ethan Woods by unanimous decision, 30-26, 30-26, 29-27.
  • 185 pounds, kickboxing: Nate Woods d. Josh Johnson by unanimous decision, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28.
  • 142 pounds, Muay Thai: Jason Jones d. Dan Sopa by unanimous decision, 29-28, 30-27, 30-27.
  • 147 pounds, Muay Thai: Dylan McKenzie d. Michael Veith, by unanimous decision, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28.
  • 160 pounds, kickboxing: Papa Sean Felton d. Kru Rich Kniff, by majority decision, 29-28, 28-28, 29-28
  • 160 pounds, Muay Thai: Mike Olds d. Robbie Taylor by unanimous decision, 29-28, 30-27, 29-28.
  • 205 pounds, kickboxing: Demetrius Gardner d. Javier Figueroa, by unanimous decision, 29-27, 29-27, 29-27.
  • 183 pounds, K1: Jeremy Logan d. Brian Williams, by unanimous decision, 30-27, 30-27, 30-27.
  • 153 pounds, kickboxing: Brandon Mindoro d. Ernest Johnson, by split decision, 29-28, 28-29, 29-28.

Fight night ring referees were veterans Bill Kiefer and Tom Jenkins. The ring announcer was Chris Gullo. Major sponsors were Mulvey Construction, All Metal Works and Lockport’s award-winning Molinaro’s Ristorante.

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