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Verhoeven vs. Adegbuyi is a Battle of the New Blood

Heavyweight kickboxing is most likely the reason why we are all here. Sure, a lot of us grew to love and appreciate a lot of other weight classes, but chances are if you got into kickboxing you got into it because of big guys throwing bombs at each other. The K-1 World Grand Prix was the gold standard in kickboxing for a very long time and produced some of the absolute best and most entertaining fights imaginable. Things have changed, though, and the old guard is mostly retired or on the way out. Peter Aerts, Remy Bonjasky, Ernesto Hoost, Semmy Schilt, Jerome Le Banner and the other fighters that made Heavyweight kickboxing feel so special have had their time in the sun and rode off into the sunset.

Now is the time for a new generation to battle for Heavyweight supremacy. There have been fighters who have fought in the interim era, guys like Badr Hari, Gokhan Saki, Errol Zimmerman and even Daniel Ghita who were primed to take the throne but they either ran into roadblocks from the older generation or ran into the younger generation. Rico Verhoeven is the embodiment of this new era in Heavyweight kickboxing and his title defense against Benjamin Adegbuyi will be the first actual “new” Heavyweight title fight that we’ve seen in this era.

Stop and think about that for a minute. Rico was tied up with Daniel Ghita and Errol Zimmerman, two fighters who were involved in the tail end of the K-1 days and saw their primes during that era into the It’s Showtime and early GLORY days. While Rico Verhoeven did have a few fights under the K-1 banner, he never made it into the K-1 World Grand Prix due to his age and lack of experience. Now he is a fully formed fighter and champion. Benjamin Adegbuyi is a talent that was fostered entirely in a post-K-1 World Grand Prix era under the SuperKombat banner before entering into GLORY.

There have been some criticisms of GLORY throughout their tenure, some of it warranted and some of it unwarranted, but their desire and ability to create new stars has been a struggle for them. When GLORY launched the big stars from the K-1 era were on the way out and the fighters who came in at the tail end of the era (your Sakis, Ghitas, Spongs, Zimmermans) were deservingly expensive for their accomplishments but didn’t bring with them the same name recognition that an Aerts, Hoost, Bonjasky or Schilt brought with them. 

Rico Verhoeven rose to prominence in an unlikely field of top contenders. Rico had his shot against some of these bigger names previously and while he held his own and showed flashes of brilliance, there was still something missing. It wasn’t until his fight at the GLORY 4 Grand Slam Tournament with Semmy Schilt where he had an awakening that he could hang with the best in the world, that there was no reason to be tentative or concerned anymore; he had become one of the best. The Rico that we saw after that had a new fire lit under him that led him to a GLORY 11 Heavyweight tournament victory and then a GLORY Heavyweight Championship victory over Daniel Ghita. He went into his fight at GLORY 19 against Errol Zimmerman after a stumbling in China against Andrei Gerasimchuk with a renewed focus and was looking great until Zimmerman tweaked his knee. 

For Benjamin Adegbuyi his story is a bit different. Eduard Irimia of SuperKombat saw something in the Heavyweight and helped to foster his career under the SuperKombat banner. This meant that he was immediately thrust into the spotlight as one of their top Heavyweight prospects while given fights that were appropriate for his level. It’s hard to argue with that, although there was a lot of hyperbole surrounding Adegbuyi for years because of his highlight reel of knockouts against lesser opponents.

Simply stated, Adegbuyi’s growth stage was televised on a national platform in Romania and around Europe which led to him becoming and incredibly popular fighter that many fans saw as the next Heavyweight champion of the world. It took time, though, and Adegbuyi was capable and willing to put in the work to reach the level where he is at today. When he entered GLORY he worked his way up the ladder and now has his chance to prove how far that he’s come.

The fight itself is a fascinating one as well. Rico Verhoeven is a technical, kick-oriented fighter who is not afraid to trade but prefers a slower, more methodical pace. His defenses are great for a Heavyweight and he now pieces together strong combinations and is a lot more comfortable with his hands. Adegbuyi is fine technically, but he’s best known for how hard he hits and how he pieces together finishing combinations. If Benny can find a hole he’ll take advantage of it.

This leads to what should be an exciting fight. Verhoeven should have the edge thanks to his defenses and ability to score points like we saw in his fights with Saki, Zimmerman and Ghita. They all felt that Rico didn’t do enough to “beat” them, but he still won and in every case it was clear what he did to win. For Adegbuyi he will be looking for a knockout, which isn’t to say that he won’t be careful and technical, because he has grown as a fighter and has become more careful, but his best chance to avoid what happened to Zimmerman, Ghita and Saki is to do what they couldn’t; knock the Prince of Kickboxing out. 

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Stream Information For GLORY 22 Lille

GLORY 22 is Friday evening in France, airing live on Spike TV in the afternoon here in the United States. As always, there is going to be a deluge of people searching for streams and luckily for you, we have your back on this one. If you live anywhere but ex-Yugoslavia and are looking for a way to watch the SuperFight Series you can do so through us starting at 1:30 PM Eastern time. If you live outside of ex-Yugoslavia and the USA you can check out the full GLORY 22 stream starting at 4pm Eastern.

GLORY 22 SuperFight Series

GLORY 22

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GLORY Makes Its Debut on Spike UK With GLORY 22

When GLORY and Spike announced that they'd be partnering up a few years ago it changed the kickboxing landscape forever in the United States. Not only was kickboxing being featured on American television, but the premier kickboxing league was being thrust to center stage on one of the most available cable networks in the United States. In fact, the UFC grew to where it is today through their partnership with Spike TV. Things were looking good for kickboxing.

Spike TV expanded to the United Kingdom recently, but it should be noted that the programming isn't 1 for 1, the deals that programming in the US have don't always carry over to the UK network. That meant that GLORY wasn't available on Spike UK, which launched on April 15th. But no more.

Today it was announced that GLORY will be airing on Spike UK starting with GLORY 22 on Saturday at 10pm. GLORY joins Bellator and BAMMA on Spike UK's combat sports lineup and the debut will be an explosive one with GLORY 22, featuring Rico Verhoeven vs. Benjamin Adegbuyi and a Lightweight contender tournament.

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Crice Boussoukou In Against Jauncey at GLORY 22 and More

GLORY 22 is this Friday and it's difficult not to feel excited in the buildup to the event. Rico Verhoeven vs. Benjamin Adegbuyi is perhaps the first real "new blood" Heavyweight championship fight in a great deal of years, we will be treated to some Zack Mwekassa violence and the GLORY Lightweight tournament is chock full of talent. Of course, Niclas Larsen was originally slated to meet Josh Jauncey in the tournament, but Larsen suffered from a rather painful looking infection in his foot that will keep him out of action.

We learned over the weekend that muay thai specialist Crice Boussoukou will be stepping in on late notice for Larsen and competing against Jauncey. This will be the GLORY debut for Crice, but we've seen him before in Thai Fight, Yokkao and competing against Sitthichai so we know that he's a very capable fighter ready to take this leap up in competition and prove himself. It should be an interesting fight for Jauncey, considering that there are some stylistic differences between the two fighters, but no matter what it should be an interesting fight. 

The added incentive for Crice is that he lost to Sitthichai back in February of this year and one would have to think that if he could make it by Jauncey and Sitthichai by Kiria that he'd relish the rematch under kickboxing rules. 

Another late replacement comes for B-Boy Karim Gajji who was forced to pull out of his bout with Yoann Kongolo. Filling in for him will be French slugger Cedric Doumbe. Doumbe might not be the wily veteran that Gajji is, but the man can throw some crazy punches and it should be an entertaining scrap to say the least.

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