Rico Verhoeven has become a riddle that no current heavyweights can solve as Croatian Mladen Brestovac was the latest challenger who was perplexed from start to finish. Verhoeven dominated the larger, more powerful man in the main event of Glory 28 inside the Accor Hotels Arena in Paris, France, winning a lopsided unanimous decision to retain his Glory heavyweight championship.
Brestovac (49-11-1, 32 KOs) tagged the champ several times but none of his strikes were clean enough to neutralize the combat. Verhoeven moved in and out and side-to-side as he peppered his challenger with an array of kick and punches to the head and body, keeping the Croat out of rhythm all fight long. The Dutch fighter rocked his challenger a few times with stinging rights and left upstairs, but Brestovac was never in any serious peril to the point of being taken out. There weren’t any knockdowns in the contest, but there was no question as to who the superior combatant was.
Verhoeven (48-10, 12 KOs) wasn’t overly enthusiastic about his dominant victory afterward, but he was happy that he retained his title with the win. The three ringside judges favored him heavily via tallies of 49-46 and 50-45 (twice), capping off a solid night of kickboxing action.
Sittichai Wins Lightweight Contenders TournamentRobin Van Roosmalen now knows who he will next defend his Glory lightweight title against and it’s a man he already conquered last year. Thai superstar Sittichai Sitsongpeenong was the winner of the Glory 28 four-man lightweight contender tournament Saturday night, edging Belgian veteran Marat Grigorian via unanimous decision in the finals.
Sittichai (108-29-5, 29 KOs) had his hands full against Grigorian, who was extremely aggressive throughout as he routinely got on the inside and dug shots to the head and body. But the Thai fighter was cool throughout the trench war and was able to unleash his patented knees and kicks from all angles.
Grigorian (45-9-2, 26 KOs), who toppled Anatoly Moiseev (16-1, 4 KOs) in the opening round, kept every round close during the main event as he did everything he could to land a rematch with the champ. However, Sitsongpeenong was too quick and too accurate with his shots and was awarded a unanimous decision via tallies of 29-28 (twice) and 30-27.
While the official date is not set in stone, Sittichai, who dominated Davit Kiria (24-10, 13 KOs) in the opening round, will take on van Roosmalen later this year for the Glory lightweight championship. Sittichai promised after his conquest that he will knock the champ out when they meet again.
Doumbe Edges GroenhartWelterweight contender Cedric Doumbe forced rival Murthel Groenhart into a slugfest and made the Dutch veteran uncomfortable, taking him off his gameplan. The duel was a wild affair from the start, with both men swinging wildly for the knockout, though it never materialized. Groenhart, who grew more and more frustrated in the bout, had a point deducted in the third for continuously holding his foe’s foot and punching him. Groenhart (58-20-3, 33 KOs) tried to rally late but he fell short as his rival became defensive. In the end, Cameroon native Doumbé (56-4-1, 35 KOs) was awarded the unanimous decision by the margins of 29-27 and 30-26 (twice).
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