Rico Verhoeven successfully defended his world heavyweight title for the eleventh time on Saturday. The 34-year-old Dutchman settled on points with challenger Tariq Osaro in the GelreDome stadium in Arnhem.
The match was mainly a tactical battle, without many highlights. Barely anything happened in the first round, which led to some whistling from the crowd. In the subsequent rounds, Verhoeven dealt a little more, although real striking blows were not forthcoming.
Osaro had to come, but turned out to be unable to really make things difficult for the world champion. Verhoeven was the stronger of the two during all rounds and was unanimously declared the winner by the jury.
“Did it look easy? Thanks for the compliment, but there is still a lot to work on. Ten months ago I didn’t know if I would still be able to fight. But now I am here,” Verhoeven said in his first response in the ring on the serious knee injury he suffered this year.
Verhoeven has been world champion at GLORY since June 2014. Since then, he has repelled many attacks on his championship belt. In addition to Osaro, Badr Hari and Jamal Ben Saddik, among others, made futile attempts in recent years.
Verhoeven has played sporadically in recent years
In Arnhem, Verhoeven was in the GLORY ring for only the second time in four years. Due to his serious knee injury, a fight with the Croatian Antonio Plazibat was canceled earlier this year.
The 28-year-old Osaro earned a title fight against Verhoeven in June this year by surprisingly beating Plazibat. The Nigerian, born and raised in the Netherlands, was crowned interim champion.
It is not yet known when Verhoeven’s next fight will be. GLORY will organize a prestigious eight-man tournament in early 2024. Shortly after his victory over Osaro, the Dutchman did not want to say whether he would participate.
The post first appeared on www.nu.nl