So GLORY 13 is in the books now, where Nieky Holzken held onto the top spot in the Welterweight division, Peter Aerts showed that at 43 he's still one of the most exciting guys in the world to watch and two Heavyweights proved that they are without a doubt the two best Heavyweights in the world; Daniel Ghita and Rico Verhoeven. Rico Verhoeven kept his composure as Peter Aerts kept applying pressure and looking for the big knockout in a fight billed as his "Japanese retirement," able to land cleaner shots and pick up the decision victory. Earlier in the night Daniel Ghita met an old foe by the way of Errol Zimmerman and made shorter work than he did of him the first time.
For those who follow Heavyweight kickboxing, well, this all won't surprise you, but it does segue into what is the most logical match to make in the Heavyweight division right now; Daniel Ghita vs. Rico Verhoeven II. Rico Verhoeven is perhaps the fighter of the year for 2013, with wins over Jhonata Diniz, Errol Zimmerman, Gokhan Saki, Daniel Ghita and Peter Aerts, with Saki and Ghita being on the same night. It wasn't that no one believed that Verhoeven would ever reach such heights, it's that no one expected it to be this year, yet, that is exactly what happened.
For Daniel Ghita there has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride for him, including a heartbreaking loss to Semmy Schilt in the finals of the GLORY 4 Grand Slam last year, followed by a poor performance against Gokhan Saki. Ghita's personal life was beginning to get in the way of his professional life and there were a lot of changes for him, both in his family and in who he was training with. Ghita bounced back and the GLORY 11 Heavyweight tournament was going to be his shot at redemption, the only thing was that nobody told Rico Verhoeven that this was the narrative for the night.
For both men they are at the top of their respective games right now and the third man in the GLORY Heavyweight universe, Gokhan Saki, is most likely dropping down to Light Heavyweight or testing out non-GLORY waters once his contract is up. Then add in the imminent retirements of Peter Aerts, Remy Bonjasky and Semmy Schilt. This leaves Daniel Ghita and Rico Verhoeven as the lone goliaths atop of the Heavyweight Kickboxing world and with them only having met once before, which for Heavyweight kickboxing is incredibly rare. While seeing both in another tournament would be great, a single rematch to crown a king of the division seems like a more refined way for them to meet, as would bumping up the number of rounds to 5 or even 7 to really see who walks away as the winner.
Dave Walsh has been covering MMA and Kickboxing since 2007 before changing his focus solely to Kickboxing in 2009, launching what was the only English-language site dedicated to giving Kickboxing similar coverage to what MMA receives. He was the co-founder of HeadKickLegend and now LiverKick. He resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico where he works as a writer of all trades.
His first novel, the Godslayer, is available now.
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