GLORY World Heavyweight Champion Rico Verhoeven will face rival Badr Hari in a highly anticipated rematch to take place on 21 December in Arnhem, Netherlands. Verhoeven informed Dutch publication De Telegraaf the fight “is in place”, in an interview published on the newspaper’s website.
Verhoeven has been away from the ring since a successful title defense last September. The Dutch fighter defeated Guto Inocente of Brazil via five-round unanimous decision at GLORY 59 to successfully retain his title for the eighth time.
Hari has been inactive since March 2018 when he defeated Hesdy Gerges on points. The result was later changed to a no-contest because the Moroccan failed a post fight doping test. He’s currently serving a nineteen-month suspension for the infraction, but will be eligible to compete for GLORY again around 7 December.
Verhoeven and Hari first met in December, 2016 in a non-title bout held in Oberhausen, Germany. The bout ended prematurely due to an arm injury suffered by Hari, and Verhoeven was declared the winner by second round technical knockout.
The Verhoeven-Hari rematch is one of the biggest fights that can currently be made in the sport of kickboxing. Both fighters possess considerable fan bases, and the GLORY organization teased the announcement Wednesday on social media with a post containing the Roman numeral II in red coloring and the hashtag #UnfinishedBusiness.
One person who may not be happy with Verhoeven’s announcement is top-ranked heavyweight Jamal Ben Saddik. Ben Saddik has occupied the number one contender spot since he defeated three top ten contenders to win an eight-man heavyweight tournament at GLORY 62 last December. “The Goliath” told De Telegraaf in May he’d consider quitting GLORY if Hari received a title shot before he did.
Verhoeven did say the fight will be scheduled for the five-round championship distance. Whether the bout will be for the GLORY title “is not yet certain” he said.
Verhoeven conducted the interview in Los Angeles, where the fighter, an aspiring actor currently resides. According to Verhoeven, he is preparing to play a lead role in an action film slated to begin filming early next year.
Interestingly enough, the fighter said he has not signed a contract extension with GLORY yet, although he has committed to the rematch with Hari.