Rico Verhoeven Dominates Ismael Lazaar in Non-Title Glory 41 Main Event

By: Mike Sloan
May 20, 2017

Glory heavyweight champion Rico Verhoeven did whatever he wanted against Ismael Lazaar in the non-title main event of the Glory 41 SuperFight Series card. Verhoeven used his towering frame and telephone poll-like reach to pick the Moroccan apart from the outside. He jabbed whenever he wanted and needed, and used a plethora of kicks to the head, body and legs to befuddle and frustrate the shorter, more portly opponent.

Lazaar (30-3-1, 15 KOs) never stopped trying to get inside and make it a brawl, but “The King of Kickboxing” never allowed it to happen. Verhoeven (51-10, 14 KOs) never gunned for the knockout, however; rather; he played it safe and did whatever he pleased for five rounds, though Verhoeven was a bit shaken by an uppercut on the inside in the final minute. Lazaar couldn’t capitalize, though, as Verhoeven won a near-shutout unanimous decision. The official scores were 49-46, 50-55 (times four), all for the Dutch champion to satisfy the hometown crowd.

The only man to simultaneously hold world titles in two different weight classes inside the Glory ring, Robin Van Roosmalen regained his welterweight title by edging Thai fighter Petchpanomrung Kiatmookao over five grueling rounds. Van Roosmalen, who lost his title on the scales prior to Glory 37, was the aggressor throughout and landed the harder, cleaner punches to the head and kicks to the legs. However, Petchpanomrung, who earned his title shot by winning the Glory 39 welterweight contender tournament, landed dozens of brutal kicks to the body and legs, which kept the fight interesting throughout.

Referee Paul Nicholls took a point away from Petchpanomrung (156-36-2, 25 KOs) in the third for repeated clinching, but the infraction wound up not figuring into the decision. Four of the five ringside judges felt that the Dutch powerhouse did enough and awarded him the win. The scores were 48-46, 50-44 and 49-45 (twice) while the final judge had it 47-47, allowing van Roosmalen (38-7, 21 KOs) to win via majority decision and re-capture the welterweight strap.

When local fighter Murthel Groenhart and Alan Scheinson got into a brawl at Friday’s weigh-ins, fireworks were expected in their fight and the fans got what they wanted. The two welterweights met in the center of the ring and swung away wildly, with each man landing solid punches and kicks. After a too-close-to-call opening round, Groenhart cracked the Argentinean with a partially-blocked head kick. Scheinson’s right glove touched the canvas but referee Tobias Gerold missed it and didn’t rule him down. The two gassed out down the stretch from their relentless action and when it was over, “The Predator” walked out of the ring with the win. One judge had it 29-28 for Scheinson (64-23-3, 37 KOs) but that score was overturned by the four others who had it 29-28 and 30-27 (thrice) for Groenhart (65-22-3, 37 KOs), who won by split decision.

A light heavyweight showdown between Mourad Bouzidi and Michael Duut didn’t unfold the many had hoped. The fight was sloppy from the start and when the two clashed heads in the first, cutting Duut (40-8, 17 KOs) around his nose, Nicholls deducted a point from Duut, claiming it was intentional. Things unraveled in the second when Nicholls took another point from the Dutchman for repeated clinching and then eventually disqualified him moments later for continuing to clinch. Bouzidi (80-23-2, 34 KOs) officially won via disqualification due to Glory’s three penalty rule when the bout ended at 2:18 of the second.

After getting himself dropped from a spinning back fist early in the opening frame, Morocco’s Tyjani Beztati picked himself up, dusted himself off and never looked back. From there, the prospect turned the tides by knocking opponent Youssef Assouik (12-2, 7 KOs) down with a left hook to the jaw at the end of the first and then floored him with a three-punch combo in the second. Beztati (13-1, 5 KOs) was unable to finish the Dane, but he wound up winning a lopsided unanimous decision via tallies of 30-26 across the board.

In the opening bout of the SuperFight Series portion of the marquee, Zakaria Zouggary (29-3-1, 15 KOs) went toe-to-toe with Yetkin Ozkul for three rounds, electrifying the sold-out venue from start to finish. Zouggary, who fights out of the Netherlands, dropped Ozkul (69-10, 28 KOs) with a clean left hook during an exchange in the first, but Nicholls missed it and allowed the fight to continue as the Turk sprung back to his feet quickly. From there, the two featherweights tore into each other until the final bell, but “ZZ” was slightly better overall down the stretch. In the end, all of the judges saw it 30-27 for Zouggary.
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