Rico Verhoeven , Born April 10, 1989, is a Dutch kickboxer and current Heavyweight Champion of Glory. He has also competed in K-1, It's Showtime and Supercombat. Verhoeven is in first place in the list of heavyweights of Liverkick.com, Combat Press and Glory (LiverKick, 2016).
Born and raised in Bergen op Zoom, The Netherlands. He began practicing martial arts at the age of seven with his father, black karate belt. His dad brought the rich young man to the dojo and started him on a road that years later put him at the top of the heavyweight category.
Training was an integral part of Verhoeven's growth, with his father being very strict. After school, his friends went to the park to play football or ride a bicycle, while Rico accompanied his father to the dojo to train.
As he matured, he switched to kickboxing. That way it was clear he was a natural heavyweight who would grow taller than the others. At 16 he was so big that he did not find opponents in competitions, so he had to deal with adults (Glory Kickboxing, 2016).
Although expected to fight at the K-1 World Grand Prix in 2012, Verhoeven ran out of place in the tournament. He signed with the competitor Glory in October of that year (Liverkick, 2012).
He had to fight Sergei Kharitonov, mixed martial arts fighter, in the first round of the 8th finals of the 2012 Grand Slam of Heavyweights Glory held in Saitama, Japan on December 31, 2012.
After the first two rounds, he advanced to the quarterfinals where he lost against the winner of the Semmy Schilt tournament (Liverkick, 2012).
2013 was a productive year for Verhoeven. First defeated Jhonata Diniz by unanimous decision in Glory 7.
He had a rematch against Error Zimmerman in Glory 9 (New York June 22, 2013). Despite being denied a point for an illegal first-round knock, he worked and beat Zimmerman in three rounds by unanimous decision (Liverkick, 2013).
Verhoeven had a surprise victory at Glory 11 (Chicago in October 2013). After winning by split decision on Gökhan Saki in the semifinals and achieving a controversial demolition in the first round.
In the final of the tournament it defeated to Daniel Ghita by unanimous decision (Muay Authority, 2013).
He beat Peter Aerts by split decision in the difficult main event of Glory 13 (Tokyo in December 2013) (BloodyElbow, 2013).
Verhoeven had planned his pro boxing debut against Nikolaj Falin at the Mix Fight Gala XV in Darmstadt, Germany in April 2014. At the last minute they changed their opponent for Janos Finfera for unexplained reasons. Rico beat the Hungarian with a second round knockout (Kickfighter.de, 2014).
He had a second encounter with Daniel Ghita and beat him by unanimous decision in the fight for a position in Glory 17 (Los Angeles that took place in the United States in June of 2014) (BloodyElbow, 2014).
Verhoeven completed a fight triplet against Errol Zimmerman when he faced him in February 2015 in the main event of Glory 19. The duel ended unexpectedly because Zimmerman suffered a knee injury in the second round. Verhoeven retained his Heavyweight title (MMAFighting.com, 2015).
Rico had his mixed martial arts debut at RXF 20 in Sibiu, Romania in October 2015. There he beat Viktor Bogutzki by TKO in the first round (Sherdog Forums, 2015).
Verhoeven scored his 50th victory of his kickboxing career with a TKO over Badr Hari at Glory Collision in December 2016 in Oberhausen, Germany. Hari injured his arm in the fight and had to leave in the second round.
"It was not how I wanted to win,"said Verhoeven, promising Hari a second showdown. "He wants to do it again. Out of respect not only to us, but to the fans too."
Verhoeven mentioned in the post-fight interview that he intends to compete in mixed martial arts in 2017 (MMAFighting.com, 2016).
Life outside the ring
Verhoeven has a wife named Jacky Duchenne, who is their support in every fight since they were dating. After his victory against Daniel Ghita, in the dressing room he told reporters smiling"behind a strong man, there is an even stronger woman."(Vice, 2013). With Duchenne he has two daughters: five year old Mikayla Verhoeven and one year old Jazlynn Verhoeven.
Rico says his family is a source of inspiration for him:"I did it for my daughter. She is almost three years old and understands some things I tell her. I promised that I would return with the title and the money. I was thinking about that promise, it was what made me keep going in the last minutes and gave me the strength to win the 11th in Chicago."
Among his role models, Verhoeven does not forget his Dutch roots and remembers one of the greats of the kickboxing Peter Aerts:
"Peter was a great inspiration. When I was six years old and I saw him on TV winning the K-1 I thought it was the best. He inspired people doing what he likes and being the best. Now here I am in the same position. It is a dream come true. I hope Americans enjoy it and take advantage of our sport"(BloodyElbow, 2013).
In early 2016, Verhoeven auditioned for several films as he prepared to deliver a seminar at the Paradise Warrior's Retreat In California (Fox Sports, 2016). He achieved a role as Alain Moussi's antagonist in the sequel Kickboxer: Retaliation . The film is in post-production and will be screened in theaters in 2017 (FightSports TV, 2016).
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