“The welterweight division is a war zone. Everybody is hungry, everybody wants the belt,” said newly-crowned welterweight champion Murthel Groenhart in post-fight interview at GLORY 44 CHICAGO.
“But I am going to keep this belt for many years now. So, anyone who wants to try, come and get it!”
Groenhart won the belt from defending champion Cedric Doumbé by way of split-decision after five close rounds of fighting in the Chicago main event.
Winning the belt rewards years of hard work and focus from Groenhart, who has come close to winning the championship twice before but was left grinding his teeth at the judges’ decisions.
“It felt amazing. It was a moment for me. Not everyone can feel that. Putting my hands up, watching them put the belt around my waist… terrific,” he beamed backstage in Chicago.
“He moved a lot so I was trying to get at him and I think I did good. The last three rounds I put a little bit more pressure because his stamina isn’t that good. I think I did great.”
Groenhart also had words for his team at Mike’s Gym in Amsterdam, where the coaching staff is headed by the eponymous Mike Passenier.
“Mike sees things. He is a few steps in front. He always said ‘stay with me, you will become champion, so long as your focus is there. Just listen to me, everything will come good,” the new champion revealed.
“And my coach Walter just said to me, ‘Remember the day you were going to stop kickboxing?’ He pulled me back in with some words and told me I will never stop and never lose focus. And here I am now, with the guys [I’ve been with] from day one.”