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Glory 7 Milan: The Rico Verhoeven Interview, sets his sights on Jhonata Diniz!
Glory 7 Milan is Saturday, April 20th, and two of Glory’s ‘Young Lions'; Rico Verhoeven (39-8-0) and Jhonata Diniz (7-3-0), clash in the co-main event of the evening. Just a little over a week ago, Rico celebrated his 24th birthday and looks to continue the celebration by winning in Italy. Glory brought Verhoeven into the fold of the deepest heavyweight talent pool in all of combat sports late last year.
Immediately, he was scheduled to enter the 16-man one-night Glory Grand Slam tournament on New Year’s Eve in Tokyo. Rico was seeded 9th and faced #8 seed, Sergei Kharitonov, a well-known Kickboxer and MMA fighter in the opening round. This emerging Dutch star spoke with us about the Grand Slam as well as his upcoming bout with Diniz.
Zeus King: Tell us about the amazing GRAND SLAM, your first big event in GLORY. You beat Sergei Kharitonov in the first round, how did you feel about that fight?
Rico Verhoeven: The Kharitonov fight went like we expected, hè goes for one big punch and we have to keep distance and hit hard with kicks and that’s what we did. Kharitonov is a very strong fighter, but not a natural all-around kickboxer like me.
RV: The Semmy Schilt fight was a dream come true! I want to be the best so we have to fight the best. We had a strong gameplan: Keep moving and get past that left jab. That looks a lot easier then that it truly is, but, I gave everything I had. Semmy Schilt himself said that I was his strongest opponent that night. To me, that felt like a small victory in itself, coming from The 6-Time World Champion.
ZK: In Milan, you face Brazil’s Jhonata Diniz who, like you, is one of what I like to call Glory’s ‘Young Lions’. Do you see the mix of younger and older kickboxers in Glory as a good thing?
RV: Of course, that is a great mix because young fighters who have the potential to be a star get the chance to show if that their abilities are up to the challenge, it keeps the older fighters on point. All of the Superstars have been served notice that in every fight there is a young fighter that wants there position.
ZK: How do you feel about your opponent at Glory 7 Milan, Jhonata Diniz?
RV: Diniz is a young talented fighter with a big hart and a hard head. He is coming of a good performance against Daniel Ghita (at the Glory Grand Slam), but we will see if he is ready for Rico.
ZK: With the popularity of Glory and kickboxing growing all over the world, where would you like to see them do a big show that you would fight on?
RV: Glory is a fast growing organization with the best standup fighters in the world and I feel honored to be apart of its epic evolution our sport is going through. When Glory becomes a hit in The United States that would be another dream coming true!
ZK: Who were some of the fighters you admired in kickboxing or any sport?
RV: I admire every sports man/woman who knows the feeling of performing on a high level and giving it all you got, day in and day out. What we do is not only in the moment that people see us perform, it’s our lifestyle! But, who made me want to fight is Peter Aerts- that man is a living legend!
ZK: Is there anything you’d like to tell the fans and the world about your fight?
RV: To my fans all over the world, thank you so much for your support and love. That is what gives me the motivation to make sure I perform 100% when you guys watch me fight! Keep supporting me and Glory and of course, I know you will be watching April 20th in Milano. I’m going to rock the show.
ZK: Thank you for your time, Rico. All the best to you against Diniz.
RV: You’re welcome.
Keep up with Rico Verhoeven on social media, his facebook fan page and @RicoVerhoeven on Twitter!
Glory 7 Milan is headlined by #1 Ranked and Glory Lightweight Champion, Giorgio Petrosyan versus Hafid El Boustati and Rico Verhoeven versus Jhonata Diniz, Saturday, April 20th. See the event live on www.GloryWorldSeries.com for only $20 USD. Robin van Roosmalen and Murthel Groenhart square off as well. Follow @Glory_WS on twitter and like their facebook fan page, or get the Glory app for your smart phone! See you in Milan, ciao!
Photo credit: Glory Sports International