The Heavyweight Super Fight! Badr Hari vs. Rico Verhoeven

GLORY Kickboxing Has Done It

thumb_17536_fighter_main_pic_defaultAfter much speculation, two heavyweight juggernaut’s will clash in the GLORY Kickboxing ring in early December.

When I first started watching GLORY, I saw a lot of ‘already established’ talent competing between the ropes. There were veterans like Gokhan Saki, Giorgio Petrosyan, Robin Van Roosmalen and others. I found myself wondering if any potential prospects would emerge  from any of the weight classes. Then along comes the Dutch kick boxer, Rico Verhoeven.

I first saw Rico fight at the GLORY 11 Heavyweight Championship tournament in Chicago. He was up against Gokhan Saki, a big time veteran and superstar of the sport. Prior to the fight, I thought Saki would run through Verhoeven because Saki is, well, Saki.

To my surprise, Verhoeven defeated him by decision.

Rico Verhoeven went on to win the GLORY 11 tournament. Standing at 6’5 and weighing 260 pounds, Verhoeven is not your basic heavyweight. He isn’t just heavy and large, he is built like a damn dinosaur and moves a lot faster than most heavyweights.

After Verhoeven won the tournament, I did some research and found a little more about his career before GLORY. As it turns out, he was a major heavyweight prospect before his debut. With an overall record of 48 wins with only 10 losses, Rico was undoubtedly walking into GLORY as the real deal. He now stands as the current Heavyweight Champion with a GLORY record of 11 victories and only 1 loss.

If you look closer at the GLORY champion’s track record, he’s got some notable wins over top opponents such as Daniel Ghita ( 50 wins 11 losses), Errol Zimmerman (79 wins 22 losses) and the legendary Peter Aerts (105 wins 34 losses).

All of these opponents are obviously not easy walk-overs, but there has been discussion that there is one man that can stand against the heavyweight colossus with equal if not greater force. That man, is “Bad Boy” Badr Hari.

badr hari vs alistar overeem kickboxing fight

I became a fan of Badr Hari after watching him compete during the K1 kickboxing era in Japan years ago. I like to think of Badr as the ‘Nick Diaz’ of kickboxing—he’s called “Bad Boy” for a reason. He is responsible for tussles at weigh ins, and multiple grudge matches. Badr Hari is mean, big and very fast.

If the past is any indicator of the future, than Rico Veroeven should be scared. The only loss in Veroeven’s career came at the hands of Semmy Schilt. Badr Hari knocked out Schilt in their first round of their May 2009 fight. That says a lot.

Even though Rico Verhoeven is a big fighter with a lot of talent, his stats show that he’s a major ‘decision fighter.’ Meaning he has a low KO rate compared to fights that go to the judges. With only a 26% KO rating, 35 of Rico’s fights have gone to decision.

Now, Badr Hari on the other hand is the Leonardo Da Vinci of knockouts—an artist in 10 oz gloves. The Moroccan fighter from Amsterdam has competed in 118 fights, with a record of 106 wins and only 12 losses. Check this out: 93 knock outs….NINETY-THREE. That means only THIRTEEN have gone to decision. This guy is no joke.

This may be considered a heavyweight super fight by the media—much of which is due to Rico Verhoeven’s early-achieved success in Glory Kickboxing. But looking at the stats, I truly believe this fight is a MISMATCH.

Badr Hari has way more experience, has defeated pretty much everyone Verhoeven has gone up against, and has more victories over legendary fighters than Rico has GLORY fights.

Badr_Hari_High_KickBut outside of the stats, there is one field where Verhoeven outweighs Badr. And that is competition activeness. Badr Hari has been inactive in recent years, yet finished his last bout with GLORY contender, Ismael Londt, in a KO. Since then he has run a five fight winning streak.

Two months before his bout with Hari, Verhoeven, on the other hand, is defending his belt against none other than Anderson Braddock Silva during GLORY 33 (September 9th, New Jersey).

Before this match was set in stone, reporters asked Verhoeven whether or not he would entertain the idea of facing Badr Hari. At first it was just an idea, but Verhoeven didn’t back down and replied with confidence. He said Badr is the underdog that’s going up against the champion. This threw matchmakers and promoters into a frenzy.

The young GLORY champion made comments on Badr Hari’s inactivity and acknowledged how great of a fight it would be—although he doesn’t see the Moroccan as much of a threat. Being at the top of your game, there is no such thing as cockiness or foolish pride. Varhoeven has the right mind set: when you are champion there can be no room for doubt or fear.

Rico Verhoeven also claims that Badr Hari’s latest victories were ‘walk overs’ and he’s been fighting out of shape competitors. Maybe he’s right, or maybe he isn’t. But the champion is NOT backing down.

I’m very excited for this fight. I can’t wait to see Badr Hari get in Verhoeven’s face and stare through his soul at press conference’s and weigh ins. Maybe there will be a bit of a controversial tussle before the actual fight as per the Bad Boy’s signature antic. Is Rico Verhoeven ready for those kind of mind games? We will find out. Make sure you tune in December 3rd and watch the war take place in the GLORY Kickboxing ring.

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Rico Verhoeven vs. Badr Hari!

Who do you think will win and why? Is Rico the underdog? Is Badr Hari’s time as a top heavyweight expired? Is Rico just a hype train that’s about to be derailed?

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