GLORY announced today that Rico Verhoeven won the '2021 Fighter of the Year' award. The King of Kickboxing was once again supreme at the 2021 four-man heavyweight tournament in January, where he defeated Hesdy Gerges and Tarik Khbabez consecutively, and managed to convincingly defend his title last October. The spectacular fight, in which Verhoeven won on technical knockout from Jamal Ben Saddik in a swarming GelreDome, is honored with the title fight of the year.
Rico Verhoeven responds, "I love that people are excited about this fight, but I also want to feel good about it. It’s really hard to be satisfied with myself because Dennis (Editor's note: Dennis Krauweel, Verhoeven's trainer) and I look at all the small details.
It was amazing to hear that everybody was blown away. Like: “How did you fight with one eye? And the blood all over the place” so yeah, the fight was something different.
I can agree that the fight was named Fight of The Year. After watching that fight a thousand times, I can better understand what people witnessed and why they think “This was the fight of the year! It was crazy!”. Because it really looks like a Rocky Balboa fight. At that moment, when you see the cut and the blood all over the place and me going down, all the odds were against me. The odds were in favour of Jamal. That’s the fight game."
Wrzosek wins KO of the Year
Earlier this month, the kickboxing organization announced that Croatian Antonio Plazibat won the '2021 Most Improved Fighter of the Year' award. The '2021 KO of the Year' was awarded to Arkadiusz Wrzosek, who managed to send Badr Hari to the canvas with an impressive headkick. Wrzosek: "Badr's punches were strong and deadly, but not strong or deadly enough for me. When GLORY wants a rematch, I will fight him again. No problem."
About a potential fight against Rico? "I have many ideas on how to beat him, but I have to make a good game plan with my coaches. For Rico, I need the best preparation of my life. He's a tough opponent, but it's the heavyweight division! I can lose five rounds, but I can still knock him out with one punch at the end," said Wrzosek.
GLORY newcomer Serkan Ozcaglayan won the '2021 Debut of the Year’ award after knocking the American Matt Baker down in 58 seconds during his debut at GLORY 79. Ozcaglayan on a possible fight against reigning champion Donovan Wisse: "I'm going to knock out Donovan, no I'm going to knock out that whole division. People are going to see who the real king of the middleweight division is."