Rico Verhoeven has a new challenger, but his heavyweight title won’t be on the line.
GLORY has signed former Enfusion heavyweight champion Ismael Lazaar (30-2-2), who will now face Verhoeven (50-10) in the main event of GLORY 41 Superfight Series. The kickboxing promotion announced the news on Friday, rearranging the card after placing Verhoeven in the GLORY 41 main event just a few days ago.
GLORY 41 and the GLORY 41 Superfight Series are taking place on May 20 in Den Bosch, Netherlands at Brabanthallen Exhibition Centre. The matchup between Verhoeven and Lazaar will be a five-round non-title fight.
In a video that accompanied the press release, Verhoeven spoke to GLORY commentator Todd Grisham about his new opponent. “He hasn’t fought in GLORY before, but he is a force to be reckoned with,” Verhoeven said.
In his last fight at Enfusion 37 Live, Lazaar, 26, dropped his title to the No.3-ranked GLORY heavyweight Jahfarr Winis, losing the bout by unanimous decision. The Dutch-Moroccan has won four out of his last five fights.
Verhoeven, who turns 28 on April 10, is coming off a TKO victory over Badr Hari at GLORY:COLLISION, which took place last December. The Dutch champion has defended his title five consecutive times in the GLORY ring and holds a 13-1 record fighting for the promotion.
The featherweight title fight between Robin van Roosmalen and Petchpanomrung Kiatmookao, which was previously announced as the main event for GLORY 41 and then moved to the Superfight Series headliner, now serves as the co-main event for the GLORY 41 Superfight Series.
In addition to the main and co-main event, a welterweight matchup between No.4-ranked Murthel Groenhart (64-22-3) and No.5-ranked Harut Grigorian (44-10) has been added to the card. That bout is a rematch from a 2012 encounter that saw Groenhart win by knockout in the opening round of the K-1 World Max Tournament.
The main and co-main event for the GLORY 41 main card as well as the four participants for the one-night, four-man heavyweight “Contender” tournament are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
The full lineup for the GLORY 41 Superfight Series can be viewed below:
GLORY 41 SuperFight Series
Heavyweight Superfight Headline Bout: Rico Verhoeven vs. Ismael Lazaar
Featherweight World Title Bout: Robin van Roosmalen vs. Petchpanomrung Kiatmookao
Welterweight Bout: Murthel Groenhart vs. Harut Grigorian
Light Heavyweight Bout: Michael Duut vs. Mourad Bouzidi