To celebrate, GLORY is placing two world title fights in the headline slots. Rico ‘The Prince’ Verhoeven will defend the heavyweight title against the winner of next week’s GLORY 24 heavyweight tournament and Nieky ‘The Natural’ Holzken will defend the welterweight title against the winner of the GLORY 25 tournament in November.
Also on the Amsterdam card is a Featherweight Contender Tournament. The only participant confirmed at present is Mosab ‘The Jaguar’ Amrani, ranked #1 in the contender listings and a one-time challenger for the GLORY title. He lost out to Gabriel Varga for the belt earlier this year but will get a second chance if he wins the tournament in Amsterdam.
GLORY has worked on the Amsterdam card for a long time and anybody familiar with the Dutch scene will know how significant a gesture it is that the Amsterdam authorities have granted a permit for the event to take place.
The late 1990s and early 2000s saw some unsavory elements involved with the sport and that prompted Dutch authorities to begin refusing permission for events to take place. Those days are now past; the underworld element has faded out and the sport today is characterized by fighters like Verhoeven, a clean-living family man of conspicuously good character.
Amsterdam’s mayor Eberhard van der Laan alluded to that directly in a recent talk with Verhoeven and some past greats such as Ernesto Hoost. He said that his past comments about kickboxing had been “stupid” and that in the past “I have not been in the right [on this matter]… the sport could not wish for better ambassadors than yourselves”.
Kickboxing events used to take place regularly at Amsterdam Arena under the It’s Showtime banner, for a long time Europe’s leading promotion. The fights took place in front of a full house and given how long it has been since Amsterdam hosted a top-flight kickboxing event, GLORY 26 is likely to sell out fast.
Verhoeven’s opponent will be decided by the heavyweight tournament at next week’s GLORY 24 DENVER event. Benjamin Adegbuyi, Jahfar Wilnis, Ben Edwards and Mladen Brestovac form the starting grid.
Also on that card is Joe ‘Stitch Em Up’ Schilling. He faces younger Wilnis brother Jason in a middleweight match-up with title-shot implications. The co-headline fight has Wayne Barrett of New York against local Denver slugger Dustin Jacoby, winner of the GLORY 23 middleweight tournament. The show airs live in the US on Spike TV.
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