Heavyweight Royalty

Yesterday night, combat sports fans were waiting the long anticipated rematch between heavyweight royalty, Rico Verhoeven and Badr Hari. The two faced each other at the sold out Gelredome soccer stadium in Arnhem, Netherlands with over 30,000 fans in attendance.  Needing no introduction, Badr Hari is considered one of the most elite kickboxers ever to walk the earth.  Hari’s resume includes being a K-1 Heavyweight champion, It’s Showtime Heavyweight world champion and K-1 World Grand Prix 2008 and 2009 finalist.

His opponent, Rico Verhoeven, has an equally impressive resume despite being 5 years younger.  The current Glory Kickboxing Heavyweight Champion has a current record of 19-1-0 (7 KO).  These two titans have gone head to head in the past.  Back in 2016, the two faced for the first time in COLLISION 1 which ended with a win for Verhoeven due to an injury in Hari’s arm during Round 2, which left him unable to continue.  Since then, fans have been begging for a rematch between the two kickboxing kings.

Like the first, the second fight was slated to be the biggest kickboxing match in history.  Hari, being the older fighter and a veteran of the former K1 kickboxing days, still fights with the resilience of a younger fighter.  Verhoeven, who has climbed the ranks and fought against adults at the age of 16 has just entered his prime.  Many fans were wondering if the second fight would be indicative of passing the torch from old to new school.  Would the torch be passed on by the long-time Moroccan- Dutch heavyweight king to a younger, but equally great fighter? Or, would he continue his reign?

Unfortunately, the fight ended in utter disappointment after Hari had injured what appeared to be his left leg, after attempting a crazy spinning head kick in Round 2 of the fight.  Badr was unable to get up which prompted the ref to wave off the match and allow Verhoeven to earn the “win”.

“What are the odds, I don’t know…” Verhoeven said at the press conference (Via Ruptly)

Verhoeven’s reaction to Badr Hari’s injury – “I hope Badr is in good health and yeah… his injuries are not too severe and he recovers and we do it again if he wants to or if he’s able to… so let’s see what happens.”

Although this was the second time that the two have fought, both ending in anti-climactic fashion, a trilogy fight seems more than likely.  What’s to be noted, however, is that Verhoeven was knocked down for the first time in his Glory career by Hari this fight, in the first round.  Although, he did manage to dodge the eighth count and showed for the first time, a chink in the armor of the current Heavyweight champ.

We can only hope that Badr’s injury is minor and he returns back to action so that the fans can truly get to see the two biggest names in kickboxing in history duke it out at their 100%.

1 COMMENT

  1. Remember age makes no difference in mind! Once the mind determines to achieve and accomplish the task… either one will win!!!! Thank you for a great article.

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