The biggest kickboxing fight in years will be taking place in Germany late in 2016.
GLORY heavyweight champion, Rico Verhoeven (48-10) will square off with the notorious bad body of the sport, Badr Hari (118-12) in December, giving kickboxing fans a Christmas present they've had on their lists for quite some time. Gareth Davies of The Telegraph was first to report the news on Saturday (July 23, 2016). GLORY CEO Jon J. Franklin confirmed the report to MMAMania.
"It's on," Franklin said. "Both fighters are signed. We are excited to bring this fight to the fans. This is the one they wanted. We wanted it too and so did Rico and Badr. The next few months will be massive for everyone involved. The guys will be training and we will be on a global platform to drive this fight to sports fans around the planet. We couldn't be more pleased."
This fight has been circling in the rumor mill for months now and Franklin had told MMAMania back in June that the promotion was actively seeking to put the heavyweight mega fight together.
"Badr Hari is a big name in our sport and he has repeatedly called Rico out," Franklin said at the time. "Rico has stated he wants this fight and sees this as one that will really cement his legacy."
Verhoeven gave MMAMania a succinct quote when asked what a win over Hari would do for his career: "Make history," the champion said via text.
Before the showdown with Hari takes place, Verhoeven, 28, will defend his title against Anderson Silva at GLORY 33 in Trenton, NJ on September 9, 2016. That fight was announced during GLORY 32 on Friday night. The Dutch champion has defended his title four straight times and is 10-1 in GLORY competition. His only loss in the last three years was a unanimous decision defeat to Andrey Gerasimchuk for the Kunlun promotion in China back in January of 2015.
Hari, 31, has made more noise outside the kickboxing ring than in it in recent years with legal troubles, arrests and jail time, but he is still considered among the elite of the sport. In his last fight defeated Ismael Londt by technical knockout at Akhmat Fight Show in Grozny, Russia. The Moroccan-Dutch fighter is a former K-1 and It's Showtime heavyweight champion.
The fight will be a three-round affair, according to Franklin, and will take place in Oberhausen, Germany. A venue has not yet been announced. Verhoeven vs. Hari will be entitled "Collision," and Franklin mentioned there will also be a numbered card event that night."
"Expect a number of title fights and a humongous evening of kickboxing," he said.
MMAMania will keep you updated as more details for this fight become available.