Sports

Bleeding Rico Verhoeven falters, but extends title against Jamal Ben Saddik | Martial arts

Rico Verhoeven has successfully defended his world heavyweight kickboxing title. After a spectacular fight and a difficult start, the Dutch title holder won by technical knockout against Belgian Moroccan Jamal Ben Saddik in a well-stocked GelreDome in Arnhem.




Ben Saddik (31) started strongly with the headlining act of Glory Collision 3 and made it difficult for Verhoeven. The 32-year-old defending champion was hit hard in the final phase of the first round and again had a hard time in the second round.

Verhoeven had to go to the ground and suffered a deep cut under his left eye. The blood flowed down his cheek and he also had a pretty big eye, but Verhoeven fought on and hit the Belgian coming from Morocco firmly with a knee in the third round.

With a closed left eye, Verhoeven continued to fight, much to the delight of the spectators present. Ben Saddik got more and more tired and was knocked out by the arbiter in the fourth of five rounds.

Jamal Ben Saddik and Rico Verhoeven. © ANP

Verhoeven took his second victory over this difficult opponent: in 2011, Ben Saddik won, six years later the Dutchman emerged as the winner. ‘The King of Kickboxing’ was supposed to take on the Moroccan in January, but that fight was canceled due to an injury to ‘The Goliath’.

Verhoeven has been the uninterrupted world champion since 2014. He intends to stay at the top for at least ten years. Actually, he was supposed to fight Alistair Overeem. When he withdrew injured a week and a half ago, Ben Saddik was willing to step into the ring.

Rico Verhoeven.
Rico Verhoeven. © Pro Shots / Mischa Keemink

Cancer conquered

Rico Verhoeven after his win against Jamal Ben Saddik.
Rico Verhoeven after his win against Jamal Ben Saddik. © REUTERS

Ben Saddik has not fought in the last three years. During that period he overcame cancer and dealt with depression. He was also in custody for a month and a half for alleged involvement in the large-scale ‘Operation Sky’, named after the crypto service used by criminals that was hacked by the police.

Gökhan Saki had a successful comeback earlier in the evening. The Dutchman of Turkish descent recorded a victory over the British James McSweeney.



Watch all our martial arts videos here:

Bleeding Rico Verhoeven falters, but extends title against Jamal Ben Saddik | Martial arts
Source link Bleeding Rico Verhoeven falters, but extends title against Jamal Ben Saddik | Martial arts

Back to top button