GLORY’s Beztati: ‘I’ve Got Nothing To Lose And Everything To Prove’
At just 20 years of age, GLORY lightweight phenom Tyjani Beztati (16-2) is already heading into the biggest fight of his young career. And at GLORY 53, which takes place at Zénith de Lille in Lille, France on Saturday afternoon, the No.3-ranked lightweight takes on one of the greatest fighters on the planet, GLORY lightweight champion Sittichai Sitsongpeenong.
Beztati has been on an absolute tear since making his GLORY debut at GLORY 36 back in December 2016. The Dutch-Moroccan fighter is now 6-1 under the GLORY banner and is on a two-fight win streak, finishing off Anil Cabri with a vicious head kick in his last outing at GLORY 51.
He’s climbed up the ranks rather quickly, and the magnitude of the moment is certainly not lost on him.
“Last night I was thinking about it,”Beztati told FIGHT SPORTS. “I’m just 20 years old and I’m about to become the youngest champion ever. Last night it was a little bit of a real-life moment.”
When his coach at The Coliseum Gym, Danny de Vries, informed him he received a call with the offer for a title fight, “The Wonderboy” didn’t hesitate to accept.
“I said, ‘why not? I’ve got nothing to lose.'”
The title fight came much sooner than expected, but Beztati explained why he feels he’s ready to dethrone the Thai legend, who has defended the lightweight title three straight times and has well over 100 victories to his credit.
“Because I’ve nothing to lose,” he explained. “I can fight as a free man. I got no pressure, nothing. I’m 20 years old. I’ve got nothing to lose and everything to prove. I’m ready.”
Standing at six-foot-two, Beztati, who was once called “Beep Beep” by his coaches and teammates in reference to the Road Runner cartoon, is the tallest lightweight in the division. He has knockout power, and quickness to go along with both his length and reach, which he uses to his advantage rather well. He acknowledged he will have a reach advantage over Sittichai, but didn’t want to divulge any details about how he thinks his skill set will matchup against the revered champion.
“Like I said before, he’s never faced somebody like me and I’ve never faced someone like him,” said Beztati, who began fighting due to his sister’s influence. “This will be a different fight than [any fights] before I fought him.”
Sittichai is a master of precision. His left round kick is one of the most lethal and accurate weapons in the sport. And his knee attacks to the body have made it a short night for many an opponent. The GLORY champion has made it a habit of dissecting his opponents and making them look very bad in the process. The No.2-ranked lightweight, Christian Baya, was supposed to present a formidable challenge for Sittichai in his last title defense at GLORY 50, but it was the exact opposite. Baya, like many others, simply had no answer for the champions masterful attacks.
“He’s got a lot of experience because he’s fought in Thailand,” said Beztati, when asked what has made Sittichai so successful. “He’s fought a lot in the past. He’s got a lot of experience. He knows the game very well. His nickname is ‘The Killer Kid’ and you know what he does in the ring. But he’s a human being also.”
Beztati is correct, Sittichai is human. But his recent performances have been anything but that, and it’s likely going to take a career-best performance from the young lightweight if he is to have a legitimate chance to win the gold on Saturday in France.
He’s certainly not lacking in confidence.
“In my mind I already feel like I won the fight,” he said. “It just needs to come out on Saturday night. In my mind I am very focused and I’m very strong.”
The Amsterdam native expects to be at his best at GLORY 53, and he’s willing to leave it all in the ring in Lille in order to walk away with the title.
“I just want to, how can I say, I want to be a better version of me than the last time. I can’t describe it. I just, I’m going for the title and I want to win the title. I will die in the ring to become the champion.”