The GLORY: COLLISION headline fight between Rico Verhoeven (50-10, 14 KO's) and Badr Hari (106-13, 92 KO's) was the biggest in kickboxing history, followed avidly by a global audience of fans and media.
It ended in the second round when Hari drew attention to his right forearm, which was giving him difficulty. A large contusion could clearly be seen on the upper part of the forearm and the fight was stopped. Subsequent medical examination revealed a broken bone.
“I don't know what happened exactly, I kneed or kicked him to that arm, I gotta look back at the images,” says Verhoeven when asked if he knows what caused the damage. He takes the win by TKO but talk has immediately turned to a rematch.
“Of course I want the rematch, because I want to win in the proper way... well, 'proper' is maybe not the right word, but I want to knock him out or at least win a decision. But this way is also good - I hit him with a great kick or something, he hurt his arm, couldn't continue - but it could be better.”
Hari's huge number of knockout wins meant that many were predicting Verhoeven to meet the same fate. But he says that the Moroccan fighter's vaunted power did not meet his expectations.
“His jab was quick but that was the only thing. I walked into it, tried to pressure the fight and made sure he was walking around the ring with the ropes to his back. Because of doing that, you're getting in the range and that's when you get hit. But in the end I wasn't impressed with the power,” he says.
“He said he didn't train for Ismael last year didn't train for the other fights but when he was asked did he train for this fight, oh no doubt. So I think this definitely was the best version of Badr that was possible in six months, but lets see which Badr we get next year.”
The build-up to the fight was intense, with a huge amount of media interest. Verhoeven has been a regular feature of the sports and news pages in his native Netherlands for the past two years, as well as frequent appearances on TV talk shows.
Hari is also a well-known figure, although his fame owes as much to his exploits outside the ring as it does his sporting achievements. He and Verhoeven are very opposite in character and temperament and that lent an added dimension to the contest.
“I think this was a win for the good guy,” says Verhoeven. “This was a win for the current champion and I want to bring kickboxing to the next level and that's what I'm doing with everything I am doing.
“We keep pushing it and I am just enjoying the ride. There has never been this much media attention in any time in kickboxing so that's what we create.
“What's next? I don't know. Maybe MMA, maybe boxing, maybe jump into movies, let's see. The first thing I am going to do is I am going to enjoy Christmas with the family.”