As 2019 begins, many have made resolutions in the hopes of improving their health, wealth, relationships, or some other aspect of their lives.
Number one ranked GLORY heavyweight contender Jamal Ben Saddik is no different. “The Goliath” has also set some personal goals for the year: defeat champion Rico Verhoeven and cancer.
Speaking with Dutch radio station NPO Radio 1, Ben Saddik said he wants to beat Verhoeven for the championship, and also knock out the disease that has afflicted him since 2012.
In 2012, the heavyweight was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.
“In the beginning it felt unjust, but I quickly accepted it. I am a Muslim and pray five times a day, I thought god gave me this so I accept it. What I could not accept was stopping my sport,” Ben Saddik told the radio station.
Despite setbacks outside the ring, the big man persevered with his fighting career and worked his way into title contention with victories over contenders Ismael Londt and Guto Inocente. Ben Saddik challenged Rico Verhoeven for the GLORY title in 2017, but was stopped in the fifth and final round by the talented champion.
After winning the GLORY 62 heavyweight tournament with wins over fellow contenders Junior Tafa, Guto Inocente, and Benjamin Adegbuyi, Ben Saddik has reestablished himself as a top heavyweight contender and earned the designation of number one contender. A Verhoeven-Ben Saddik rematch is one of the top fights to be made in Glory’s heavyweight division, and will likely take place in 2019.
A win over rival Verhoeven would establish Ben Saddik as the world’s top heavyweight kickboxer, and complete a remarkable chapter in a career that has been defined by courage and perseverance.
Ben Saddik Photo Courtesy of James Law/GLORY Sports International