It's not always when you start the race, but when you finish. Only five years into the professional fight game, Benjamin Adegbuyi has taken the Glory ring by storm. In his second shot at the heavyweight title he takes on current champion, Rico Verhoeven, for part deux on Friday, December 4th at the RAI arena in Amsterdam. Ahead of this event I had the opportunity to meet with Benny and learn more about his past, present and his vision for the future.
Prior to becoming a professional, Benny expressed having a good understanding of the dedication and commit required to becoming a fighter and ultimately a champion in his field. Before his formal induction, Adegbuyi worked as a bouncer in Italy and Romania and was never far from the gym, even spending some time kickboxing although not professionally. After constant urging by friends to give the sport a try he decided that he was willing to make all the sacrifices required to become a dominant force in the field. Adegbuyi now commits to the full-time demands of clean eating, rigorous training, a rather subdued social life and his roles as a partner and father.
In his first meeting with Verhoeven, Adegbuyi gave the crowd a demonstration of how and why he had such a meteoric rise in SuperKombat and subsequent rapid transition to contender status in Glory. In the end, however, dreams of Glory gold evaded him as he appeared to tire during the final round, leaving the ring with a unanimous decision loss to Verhoeven. Even in the face of this loss, Adegbuyi demonstrated several things: fearlessness, power and the ability to defend himself against a far more experienced opponent. Today, Adegbuyi can objectively evaluate his past performance and states that he has trained even harder in preparation for this rematch. While Verhoeven is known for his boxing, powerful inside low kicks and in and out style of movement, Benny too has taken on the challenge of sparring with professional boxers, improving his overall cardio and defensive technique. This includes his ability to block and more effectively counter Verhoeven's style of movement
Not known for trash talk, Adegbuyi promises to give his best at Glory 26 and undaunted by any thoughts of losing he is committed to becoming the best heavyweight in the world. Taking the heavyweight gold Friday night would mean "everything," states Adegbuyi. He added, however, that no matter what happens on Friday he would like to thank his family, friends and fans for believing in him and urges us all to keep watching him and Glory for the best fights in the world! On Friday, December 4th, the world will indeed be watching to find out if the heavyweight title bout will end with either the phrase, "and still...." or "the new heavyweight champ!"