Heavyweight kickboxing champion Rico Verhoeven received a new opponent for his outing at GLORY 77 live on pay-per-view on January 30. Furthermore, in order to come out on top, the Dutch fighter must secure two victories during one evening, going through a four-man knockout tournament.
Verhoeven was initially set to defend his title against Jamal Ben Saddik in a highly anticipated trilogy fight. The top ranked contender was forced to withdraw due to injury, leaving his old foe with no vis-a-vis eleven days before the “D-Day”. Nevertheless, the promotion was able to secure not one, but three competitors willing to take on the champion.
In one of the semi-finals of the tournament Verhoeven meets Hesdy Gerges. The latter was in action last October, taking the win over Mohamed El Bouchaibi via first-round TKO.
Verhoeven previously defeated Herges twice. Their first fight in November 2011 ended in split decision. The following June Verhoeven cemented his win with a unanimous decision.
The winner of Verhoeven vs Herges 3 fight is expected to face either Levi Rigters or Tarik Khbabez. The pair meets in another semi-final of the tournament.
Khbabez was originally lined up against Antonio Plazibat in the rating bout. A withdrawal of Ben Saddik shuffled the card.
In his previous bout in November 2019 Khbabez was stopped by Roman Kryklia in the second-round. Prior to that he won six bouts in a row.
Unbeaten as a professional, Rigters won all of his eleven bouts. Last December he knocked out Nordine Mahieddine in the first round.
At this stage it is unclear whether Plazibat remains on the card, taking on a replacement opponent.
Alongside the four-man heavyweight tournament, GLORY 77 fight card features three championship bouts. The current light heavyweight champion Artem Vakhitov defends his belt against the interim light heavyweight and reigning middleweight champion Alex Pereira. As well, the reigning welterweight champion Cedric Doumbe faces off interim welterweight titleholder Murthel Groenhart. In addition, the two-time super bantamweight champion Tiffany Van Soest defends her belt against Aline Pereira.
The finalized fight card is expected to be announced shortly. Kickboxing fans can watch GLORY 77 live stream on FITE.