Badr Hari is back in the ring next weekend (Dec. 22 AEDT) in Arnhem, Netherlands. Kickboxing veteran faces the defending heavyweight champion Rico Verhoeven in the rematch, which headlines GLORY Collision 2: Unfinished Business.
The 34-year-old Moroccan-Dutch athlete, Badr Hari (106-13, 92 KO) appears to be the last active fighter, who competed in the original K-1 when kickboxing was great. Back then the fighters from around the world aspired to become part of the elite comprising dozens truly top competitors (similar to what is happening today in mixed martial and UFC).
Badr Hari was one of them. At that time he was a real star. Thanks to his performance (sometime controversial) inside the ring as well as personality, at one point he catapulted to the level of superstar (at least in kickboxing world). Today he is definitely a legend of sport.
Technically, Badr Hari became a star because of two things. One is a global TV coverage. Two is that he fought the best.
His resume includes the victories against Peter Aerts, Semmy Schilt, Gokhan Saki, Alistair Overeem, Peter Graham and the list goes on. He also held K-1 and It’s Showtime heavyweight titles. For those born (and raised) prior to the social media boom, when anybody can become a “sensation”, these names and organizations certainly mean something.
A number of things allegedly happened outside the ring, involving charges, time served, fines. This made a pause in the fighting career of “Bad Boy”, and some almost wrote him off.
Nevertheless, this past May Badr Hari revealed that he signed a six-fight deal with GLORY Kickboxing, making his fans confident that he is serious about his return. In his first appearance inside the squared circle in more than a year “The Golden Boy” goes up against the reigning heavyweight king Rico Verhoeven (55-10, 16 KO).
Can kickboxing be great again with the events televised across the Planet? Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem likely today. Can Badr Hari return to his glory days, which would certainly help the sport? This we will find out shortly.
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