It was the fight that kickboxing fans had been dreaming about, and after the crowd inside Konig Pilsener Arena in Oberhausen, Germany, hit a fever pitch on Saturday (Dec. 10, 2016) afternoon, the GLORY: COLLISION heavyweight mega fight between champion Rico Verhoeven and Badr Hari ended in anti-climactic fashion.
Verhoeven, 27, defeated Hari by technical knockout after Hari suffered an injury to his arm in the second round and was no longer able to continue. The official time of the stoppage came at 1:22 of round two.
"This is not the way I wanted to win," Verhoeven told Ron Kruck after the bout. "And I told him and I gave him all my respects and said 'we are going to do it again'."
It was unequivocally the biggest single moment in GLORY history. The arena broke out into an absolute frenzy when Hari was announced, and it nearly turned into bedlam as fans were surrounding the ring to get a closer look and take pictures of Hari, one of the most controversial figures the sport of kickboxing has ever known. In fact, GLORY ring announcer Tim Hughes had to urge the crowd to take their seats so the fight could begin.
The first round was filled with a palpable intensity as Verhoeven and Hari began to engage. Hari began to land his jab and drew first blood, splitting open the bridge of the champion's nose.
In the second, Verhoeven landed a high kick early on and after hitting Hari with an accidental low blow, the bout paused momentarily. When the action resumed, Hari connected on a pair of punches and the champion shelled up in defense. They clinched along the ropes and Verhoeven began attacking with knees. Once referee Ashtari Onari separated the two heavyweights, Hari retreated and turned his back and clutched his arm in pain. Onari was forced to administer a count and moments later waved the bout off when Hari could no longer continue.