Rico Verhoeven headlines GLORY Collision on December 10 in Oberhaussen, Germany against his kickboxing nemesis, Badr Hari. There has been no love lost between the two heavyweights in the build up, especially after Hari promised to knock out Verhoeven in the first round during the ‘Collision’ pre-fight press conference and that any potential rematch would also have the same ending too.

Verhoeven’s opinion on the outcome of the match-up differs to that of Hari’s, not just in regards as to how the fight will unfold but also his approach to what will be the biggest fight in kickboxing history since the “Golden era”.

“The only thing I care about is winning.”

“I want to win the fight and of course I want to win the fight as nice as possible but in the end the main focus is winning and if I’m going to knock somebody out, I’m going to knock them out but if the knockout isn’t there then I’m gonna push my percentage down by focusing on that knockout and maybe getting hit myself. I’m not going to do it. So, I’m going to focus on winning the fight.”

The unofficial “King of Kickboxing” has a technically smart fighting style which, doesn’t always please all fans of the sport, with many having preference for KOs over decisions; the former being something that Badr Hari specialises in with 94 of his 106 wins coming by way of KOs.

Rico Verhoeven
Rico Verhoeven teeps Zimmerman – Image: GLORY Sports Intl

However, Rico’s skill set is unquestionable and has been well proven throughout his GLORY Kickboxing career. As well as his gas tank and endurance levels which, really set him apart from the majority of the challengers he has seen off in the heavyweight division. Irrespective of the critics and naysayers, Rico expressed his genuine happiness with kickboxing and the pride he feels as a result of being a professional combat athlete.

“I’m on a different level of fighting, I’m using all the tools in the box. Sometimes some tools you can’t use for all the jobs. So, there’s no point in using the tools then. Of course you’re looking at a fight and a certain fighter and how he moves and what he does and stuff like that but in the end it just has to show in the fight. In the fight you feel the distance and you feel the things that could work and that might work and you just try them.

“I’m having a lot of fun, I’m really enjoying myself. I totally approach this sport different than Badr does. For example, he jumps into fight like, ‘Hey! I want to kill my opponents and I want do this and I want do that’; and one thing is for sure if he ran as much as he runs his mouth, he’s gonna be fit but I doubt it. That’s crazy.”

Rico Verhoeven
Rico Verhoeven – Image: GLORY Sports Intl

That wasn’t all that Verhoeven had to say about Badr Hari though. Rico didn’t hold back in ridiculing Badr for his disrespectful conduct towards him leading up to their clash. In fact, he rubbished Hari’s prediction that it would be over in one round and doubts if Badr would even be physically capable of even making it past the first round when they collide.

“He talks so much sh-t. He just talks a lot and I just laugh at it. I hope you trained that hard as you ran your mouth because that’s crazy [laughs]. I have put so much more time into training than talking sh-t. ‘There’s no chance we’re going to the second. There’s no chance.’ – He’s talking sh-t.”