Tyson will be providing some analysis and commentary for the GLORY 19 broadcast on Spike TV and will be present at the event in Hampton, Virginia to see the clash go down. Yesterday he was in a TV studio in Las Vegas filming some segments for the broadcast at the same time as Verhoeven and Zimmerman were meeting with GLORY executives in Amsterdam.
The company took advantage of the opportunity to set up a conversation between Tyson and the two heavyweights, although Verhoeven and Zimmerman conducted their conversations with the former heavyweight boxing champion separately.
In fact they refused to be in the same room together for any of yesterday’s meetings at the Doubletree Hilton Hotel in Amsterdam, according to a Dutch newspaper report.
“Mike Tyson was one of my idols. I was too young to see him fight live but I did see one of his very last fights live. [Mostly I have watched him on YouTube]. He was good; one blow would knock guys to the canvas,” said Verhoeven.
Zimmerman, a famed power-puncher who is nicknamed ‘The Bonecrusher’ for good reason, sees similarities between his own approach and Tyson’s.
“He did not win on points. He wanted to take his opponents out in the ring, just like me,” he said. “I can’t believe we were able to talk. We had a good conversation, it was like I had known him for many years. It was really a very nice conversation.”
Zimmerman did however refuse to give Tyson any details when ‘Iron Mike’ asked what the gameplan would be for the fight against Verhoeven. “I cannot say anything about it, there are other people [in this room here, listening],” he said.
A connection between Zimmerman and Tyson already existed via the former’s recently deceased coach Ramon Dekkers, a legend in the Muay Thai world for racking up thrilling victories in Thailand at a time when it was thought no European could ever win there.
“Ramon met Tyson in Manchester [at the 2006 WCFC event]. A photograph of the two of them still hangs in my room. I think that it is a huge honor to have Mike Tyson talk about our fight.”
Tyson has watched tape of both fighters and has complimented Zimmerman’s explosiveness – “He’s a time-bomb in there” – and Verhoeven’s technicality. “If you win this fight, you belong to the greats of this sport,” Tyson told the defending champion.
Verhoeven, who’s second daughter was born earlier this week, was very pleased with the conversation. “I’m at a very positive time in my life. He can see that and I am proud of it. My goal is to take this sport to a higher level, including in image. Kickboxing deserves [a better profile] and Tyson fully agreed.”
GLORY 19 takes place Friday, February 6 in Hampton, Virginia, USA and airs live on Spike TV in the US, The Fight Network in Canada and BT Sport in the UK.
The card also features a four-man Welterweight Contender Tournament to determine who will challenge ‘Bazooka’ Joe Valtellini for the title. Nieky Holzken, Alexander Stetcurenko, Raymond ‘Real Deal’ Daniels and Jonathan Oliveira feature.
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