Doumbe Talks Dethroning Holzken
Prior to GLORY: Collision, French kickboxer Cedric Doumbe taunted his opponent at every turn. His confident boastings fell mostly on deaf ears, as few expected him to pose a threat to welterweight champion Nieky Holzken.
Then, Doumbe shocked the kickboxing world when he dominated Holzken through the five rounds of their co-main event spot on the blockbuster card. Holzken had never lost in the GLORY ring, but Doumbe appeared to outclass him in nearly every round. He was faster, more active, flashier, more precise. Though fans were stunned to see Holzken dethroned, Doumbe says that his pre-fight confidence was no act or ruse.
In an exclusive interview, Doumbe detailed his game-plan for his title victory, and said he actually planned on stopping Holzken within the distance.
“I watched many fights of Nieky and I knew in the third round he starts mistakes,” Doumbe said. “So I was thinking I would knock him out in the third round. That was my first game plan. After the first round, we had two game plans. We understood that we can win by points and play with him.”
Doumbe (71-5-1, 39 KOs) was able to frustrate the Dutch champion both in and out of the ring, even successfully getting Holzken to block him on social media ahead of the contest. Though it seemed like he was employing a measured dose of psychological warfare for the sake of strategy, Doumbe simply enjoys getting underneath his opponents’ skin.
“It’s not like a strategy. I like playing with my opponents before the fight,” he said. “This is part of myself, so it’s just easy for me. But I saw in the fight that I got into his head, that he was very angry with me. So yes it did work with my game plan.”
Of course, going to the scorecards against a popular champion can spell heartbreak for a relatively unknown challenger. When the decision was being read, one of the five judges awarded the fight to Holzken. Doumbe admitted that he feared he could be robbed of his deserved championship, but he knew that he had done enough to win.
“I thought ‘Damn, not this time, please’. I was sure that I won the fight, every round. But when you just finish the fight your mind is not very clear because you just finished, you’re so fresh. But my coach and cornermen told me yes, I won the fight. So I thought no please, not this time. Afterwards they told me, the only judge who gave it to Nieky was Dutch.”
In the end, Doumbe left Germany as the welterweight champion, having completed his best performance on the biggest stage of his career. Now the champion, however, the 24-year-old has a target on his back. Holzken has been campaigning for a rematch, while the welterweight tournament at GLORY 37 in January is expected to yield the next title challenger.
Doumbe expects Yoann Kongolo to emerge victorious from that tournament, and the new champion looks forward to avenging a 2015 loss to the Swiss fighter.
“That fight was almost two years ago,” he said of their first contest. “I’ve grown up in this time and I know I’m very, very much better than him. I think he’s going to win this tournament, and he’s going to be the next to fight for the title. So I’m ready for him.”