Dutch Kickboxer Murthel Groenhart has been receiving death threats after he brutally knocked out an opponent who turned his back on him during the second round of their fight on Monday.
Groenhart’s KO victory over Armenia’s Harut Grigorian in France did not go down well with many spectators who said he won by cheating.
The incident happened during the Glory Kickboxing Championship event organized in France’ capital, Paris, on June 12.
Groenhart struck Grigorian with a knee to the head during the start of the second round. The kick seems to have stunned Grigorian, who immediately turned his back on his opponent and faced his corner with his hands down.
Groenhart took advantage of Grigorian’s decision to turn his back on him. The 30-year-old walked behind Grigorian and struck his jaw with a powerful right hook. The blow knocked Grigorian unconscious, sending him to the ground. Soon after, blood began gushing from his nose.
After his knockout, Murthel Groenhart ran toward his corner to celebrate. Some fans in the crowd were apparently not pleased by how the fight had turned out. A few fans who were angered by Groenhart’s knock-out and his celebration jumped into the ring and attacked the Dutch athlete, who was forced to defend himself. One fan even threw some punches at Groenhart before his team was able to remove the angry fans from the ring, the Daily Mail reported.
Some fans have described Groenhart’s KO punch as a cheap shot. However, the referee saw nothing wrong with it and declared him the winner.
Murthel Groenhart, who thinks he played by the rules, said some fans had taken their frustrations into the ring. The athlete says he has been receiving hate messages and death threats from people online.
“I get a lot of hate from fans you know on social media that it was a cheap shot and they’re going to kill me,” Groenhart said during an interview with TMZ. “It’s a sport man, it’s sport, the moment the bell rings you’ve got to be prepared for everything, you cannot turn your back on your opponent.”
Groenhart said he had been training intensively for the fight and was prepared to take advantage of every opportunity. He added that Grigorian disobeyed the referee’s first instruction when he decided to turn around.
“The first thing the ref tells you is to protect yourself at all times, the moment the bell rings you have to protect yourself,” he said. “There are two opponents who are fighting for the number one spot in the world – I trained a long time for this, the opportunity to become a champion, so I take this seriously.”
“So of you’re with me in the ring and there is a moment that you turned around or one moment that you do something crazy, and I can’t take that moment, why not take it?”
Murthel Groenhart claims to have spoken to Grigorian following the fight. He said his opponent was not as angry about the knockout as some fans. He added that Grigorian said he would have done the same thing if he was in Groenhart’s position.
“I went to him, I say ‘listen man, thanks for this opportunity, thanks for his fight, I don’t know why you turned around I don’t know what happened, it was in the heat of the moment, and I just gave you the hook,” Groenhart explained. “And he told me in these exact words, ‘no problem, don’t worry about the guy that chased you, if it was, I would do exactly the same thing.”
Grigorian’s trainer Nicky Hemmers has said that while Murthel Groenhart’s knockout was not illegal, it was not nice. He explained that his 28-year-old fighter turned his back due to a cut, the New York Post reported.
[Featured Image by sportpoint/iStock Photo]