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Verhoeven shuts out Lazaar in GLORY 41 main event

  • News
  • May 20, 2017

In pre-fight interviews, Ismael 'The Star' Lazaar poked fun at the nickname of Rico 'The King of Kickboxing' Verhoeven. The Dutch-Morrocan knockout specialist brandished his right hand and said, “If Rico is the king, this is the kingslayer!”

His ferocious right hand has stopped fully 50% of his opponents in his wins and his gameplan against Verhoeven was always going to be the same as in his other fights: get in range and let that bomb go and look to end the fight.

Range is an issue for Lazaar in almost every fight, as he is of the short and wide variety of heavyweight rather than the tall and long. Usually he has been able to solve the puzzle but GLORY heavyweights represent a different level to the national circuit that Lazaar has been fighting and he felt that.

Verhoeven presented Lazaar with every kind of problem an opponent can possibly present you with. He employed his range perfectly and his jab work was again a masterclass, finding a home on Lazaar's jawline over and over.

Long straight shots with arms and legs kept Lazaar safely at bay for the most of the fight; only when Verhoeven let his concentration lapse and allowed himself to be drawn into exchanging did Lazaar get the chance to land.

His most significant shot of the fight came at the end of the first round. The right hand found Verhoeven's chin and sent his mouthguard spinning out of his mouth and into the front row of the fans.

Lazaar's fans sent up a huge cheer but Verhoeven was unfazed; there was no visible effect on him from the blow and in the next round he went straight back to work. His variety of output was remarkable. The jab was like a piston, body kicks sapped Lazaar's gas tank, leg kicks to the inside and outside of both legs hurt him.

Lazaar's output too consisted of more variety than might be expected. Far from being a one-trick overhand right specialist, Lazaar displays fighting intelligence and has a kicking game of his own. He didn't deploy his flying knee in this fight but in the fourth round he pulled off an aerial switch kick which drew appreciation from the crowd.

In the later rounds he was able to land several times and a fifth round uppercut visibly snapped Verhoeven's head back, but he absorbed the shot. Any questions about Verhoeven's chin were answered in this fight: Lazaar's bombs have flattened a legion of opponents but Verhoeven barely blinked.

After five rounds of fighting all five judges had the fight for Verhoeven, returning a unanimous decision in his favor. It was a dominant performance but Verhoeven afterwards declared himself unsatisfied: he is so used to outclassing opponents now that for him, taking any clean shots at all almost makes for a loss in his mind.

Despite the shutout scoreline Lazaar gave a good account of himself and proved a big hit with fans and will surely grace the GLORY ring again. A showdown with a fellow power-puncher like Catalin Morsanu would be a guaranteed crowd pleaser.

Rico Verhoeven def. Ismael Lazaar, Unanimous Decision R5 (49-46, 50-45, 50-45, 50-45, 50-45)

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