Verhoeven-Badr Hari Set for December

If GLORY Kickboxing is to enjoy the mainstream success of fellow combat sports, they may have just made the superfight to get them there: GLORY heavyweight champion Rico Verhoeven will face international superstar Badr Hari in Germany in December 2016.

It was previously announced that Verhoeven will defend his belt against Anderson Silva (no, not that one) at Glory 33 on September 9. The agreed-upon bout between Verhoeven and Hari will be a three-round non-title fight, meaning that the results in the fight with Silva should have no effect on the superfight.

The two heavyweight kickboxing legends have been on a collision course for one another for some time. They represent not only formidable challengers to one another in terms of skill set, but also are perfect foils in terms of image. Badr Hari is considered “the bad boy” of kickboxing, having been arrested multiple times for assault since 2006. On a handful of occasions he has been at risk of serving serious jail time, and his most recent arrest came in May of this year. Despite his negative image, he has a massive fanbase, perhaps as a result of his notoriety rather than in spite of it. He is famously close with soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

Verhoeven, on the other hand, is the clean-cut face of kickboxing’s biggest promotion. Since becoming heavyweight champion, the Dutch fighter has enjoyed lucrative sponsorship deals, television appearances and endorsements. He is by all accounts a family man, one who is violent only in the ring and a gentleman outside of it. The closest he comes to controversy is being friends and training partners with the sharp-tongued heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury.

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The bout between Verhoeven and Hari has been dubbed “Collision” by GLORY, and the name is justified. If the promotion can capitalize on the intriguing dichotomy between the two men — the golden age of boxing taught us how compelled fans are by a Good vs. Evil marketing focus — then they may have the blockbuster fight that can thrust them closer to the mainstream.

The fight between Verhoeven and Hari was originally reported by Telegraph Sports.

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