The stakes have been upped for GLORY 54 and Rico Verhoeven will now put his heavyweight championship on the line against Mladen Brestovac.
GLORY Kickboxing confirmed the news to DreySports on Wednesday morning, with an official announcement expected shortly.
The premier kickboxing organisation return to the UK after a five-year absence, with GLORY 54 booked for June 2 at the Genting Arena, Birmingham.
“The King of Kickboxing” Rico Verhoeven (53-10, 16 KO) was originally scheduled to face Mladen Brestovac (56-12-1, 35 KO) in a three-round, non-title affair, but with Verhoeven’s big gold belt now on the line, the fight is bumped up to a five-round contest.
A homegrown GLORY talent, Verhoeven’s rise to prominence since his promotional debut in 2012 has been wonderful to watch.
Verhoeven, 29, — who is now deemed as one of the most popular sport’s celebrities in The Netherlands — is currently riding a nine-fight win streak, which includes monumental victories over fierce rivals Jamal Ben Saddik and Badr Hari.
Verhoeven and Brestovac fought in 2016, with the ‘King’ securing a unanimous decision. If Rico is able to emulate the result of their first encounter, he will notch his seventh title defence.
Changes to the main event mean that GLORY are bringing two title fights to their UK return. In the GLORY 54 co-main event, welterweight champion Harut Grigorian (47-11, 33 KO) makes the inaugural defence against Alim “Professor”
The undercard also includes a handful of homegrown talents like Bailey Sugden, Jamie Bates and Tommy King.
Tickets for the GLORY 54 event are still available.
GLORY 54 Birmingham
Heavyweight Headline Bout: Rico Verhoeven vs. Mladen Brestovac
Welterweight Title Co-Headline Bout: Harut Grigorian vs. Alim Nabiyev
Lightweight Bout: Elvis Gashi vs. William Goldie-Galloway
Featherweight Bout: Bailey Sugden vs. Anvar Boynazarov
Featherweight Bout: Adrian Maxim vs. Chenglong Zhang
GLORY 54 SuperFight Series
Light Heavyweight Headline Bout: Danyo Ilunga vs. Fraser Weightman
Lightweight Co-Headline Bout: Christian Baya vs. Josh Jauncey
Welterweight Bout: Richard Abraham vs. Adam Hadfield
Lightweight Bout: Marat Grigorian vs. Liu Xu
Welterweight Tournament Semifinal Bout 2: Mark Timms vs. Dawid Blaszke
Welterweight Tournament Semifinal Bout 1: Jamie Bates vs. Tommie King