Rico Verhoeven has extended his winning streak to 16 straight fights.
HIT IT, an event co-organized by Verhoeven himself, took place this Saturday and was streamed around the world through the promotion's own website. Aside from the online audience, approximately 10.000 fans gathered in the Ahoy Arena in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The two notable Kickboxing bouts saw Rico Verhoeven face Hesdy Gerges for the fourth time in his professional career, while former Bellator Kickboxing Flyweight Champion Denise Kielholtz faced Laura Pileri. The rest of the evening consisted of musical performances and exhibition bouts.
Rico Verhoeven did what most expected him to do and convincingly won his fourth fight with Hesdy Gerges. He knocked Gerges down as early as the second round, but the Egyptian-Dutch fighter proved durable enough to last three more rounds. The contest was finally stopped in the fifth and final round, as the in-ring official decided that Gerges had suffered too much damage. Verhoeven has come out with his hand raised, the three previous times the two fighters have met as well.
Hesdy Gerges confirmed he was retiring afterward, stating: “My last fight, against the champion... Of course I wanted to win, although I knew beforehand that there was a chance I would lose. But that's why my nickname is Fighterheart, I like challenges".
In his own post-fight speech, Verhoeven confirmed he would make a defense of his GLORY Heavyweight Championship next: “We start [next year] with a fight in GLORY, then [the movie] Black Lotus comes out. Then maybe another fight and maybe another movie". He will most likely make his title defense against Alistair Overeem in spring of 2023, although the more optimistic kickboxing fans might hope it'll happen as early as winter of 2023.
Denise Kielholtz made her return to kickboxing following a five-year absence from the sport. She showed no sign of ring rust and was able to beat the relatively unknown Laura Pileri by a convincing unanimous decision. While Pileri kept the fight competitive in the first round, Kielholtz began to take over from the second round onward, with the third and final round being by far the clearest one in her favor.
A bout between former professional road bicycle racer Michael Boogerd and American TV personality Dan Karaty also took place at the event. Boogerd won the fight on points.