Rico Verhoeven talks about training with Tyson Fury, GLORY’s Holland debut

Rico Verhoeven is preparing to defend his heavyweight against Benjamin Adegbuyi at next week’s GLORY 26 in Amsterdam. 

Verhoeven and Adegbuyi have plenty of history — Verhoeven won a unanimous decision over Adegbuyi at GLORY 22 FRANCE, but the two also have a mutual friend and training partner.

Verhoeven is a long-time friend and training partner of the heavyweight boxer Tyson Fury, who challenges Wladimir Klitschko for his trio of world titles this Saturday night in Dusseldorf, Germany. He regularly travels from his home in the Netherlands to train with Fury in Manchester, England. During the Klitschko camp, he got an unexpected surprise.

“It was funny because Benny came to Tyson’s camp for a week as well, at the same time I was there – we stayed at the same house! It wasn’t me who arranged it, it was somebody else. I arrived there and we were picked up from the airport and on the way the driver said he was picking another kickboxer up tomorrow, ‘a Romanian guy called Benny something,’” he recalls. 

“I said, ‘You must be kidding me?! Let me see that list!’ and I looked and it was right there, Benjamin Adegbuyi. I was like ‘OK, this is going to be fun.’ But it turned out all good. At first I thought it was going to be awkward but it was fine. He is a nice guy and we got on fine. We are just two athletes, two sportsmen who want the best for themselves. I wish him all the best… but I wish myself just a little bit more.”

Adegbuyi earned himself a second chance to fight Verhoeven by winning the Heavyweight Contender Tournament at GLORY 24 DENVER. 

“Like I have said before, I think this rematch is coming a little too soon. He could do with more experience before another shot at the title but sometimes life just takes you places so here we are,” he says of next week’s rematch.

“I am not underestimating him at all, he is a very dangerous fighter. I rate him highly, especially when you consider he has only been in the sport six or seven years and has come this far. He has accomplished a lot and I respect that.”

Like kickboxing fans, Verhoeven is pumped to see the world’s premier kickboxing league finally make its debut in his homeland and he’s especially excited to be headlining.

“It’s a big deal. The last big event was five years ago. I left Holland with the dream and vision of becoming champion and now five years later I am champion and I’m defending the belt in my home country. That’s amazing,” he says. 

“It’s been so long since we had a big event, I think the atmosphere will be great. There’s like 20 celebrities coming on my guest list. Nicky Romero the DJ will be there. Mr Probz was supposed to be there but he has a performance scheduled so he can’t come, my friend Timor [Steffens] wanted to come but he is on tour with Chris Brown in Australia. 

“There will be rappers, DJ’s, stand-up comedians… that’s what happens when we do a live event here. Usually they would watch the live stream or whatever but this time they can get in the arena and see it live.”

“It is going to be crazy. When I come out and Benny is in the ring, he is going to feel it. He will feel what it is like to fight  a Dutchman in Holland. I will have 5,000 extra corner men!” he laughs.

GLORY 26 AMSTERDAM takes place at the RAI Amsterdam on Friday, December 4. Tickets for the event – which also features Nieky Holzken defending the welterweight championship against Murthel Groenhart – are on sale via Ticketmaster.nl and are almost sold out. 

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