GLORY heavyweight champion Rico Verhoeven not only retained his title at GLORY 22 in Lille, France, on Friday evening, but did so in dominant fashion as he bested Benjamin Adegbuyi. Verhoeven won a unanimous decision with scores of 49-46, 49-46 and 50-45. The Dutch heavyweight is the first GLORY heavyweight champion to defend the title twice.
The bout started strongly for the challenger as Adegbuyi landed stiff jabs, punishing body shots and hooking punches that moved Verhoeven's head side to side. The champion, however, adjusted properly, using cut kicks, inside low kicks and busy handwork to get Adegbuyi covering up beginning in the second round. From the third round on, Verhoeven assumed control, beating the challenger with his pace and diverse striking combinations. Adegbuyi made it to the final bell, but was almost entirely defensive for the final two frames.
"It was OK," Verhoeven said of his performance. "Let's say there's room for improvement. A lot of improvement.
"It's OK. [Adegbuy]'s a hard guy, a tough guy," the champion continued. "He showed a lot of heart today. So, props to him."
In the co-main event and winning the four-man lightweight contender tournament was Sittichai Sitsongpeenong who defeated Josh Jauncey via unanimous decision with scores of 30-27, 30-27, 30-27 to earn the right to face GLORY lightweight champion Robin Van Roosmalen. The date of that fight has not yet been determined.
Sittichai was brilliant all night, first besting former GLORY lightweight champion Davit Kiria with a jab to driving knee to the Georgian's midsection that caused him to hit the canvas. Kiria was given a ten count and could not stand, giving Sittichai the victory at 2:09 of the first round. That moved the Thai lightweight to the night's finals.
Jauncey advanced to the finals to face Sittichai by defeating Djime Coulibaly in the semis, winning via TKO as the final bell sounded after three rounds. Still, Jauncey was unable to do much against the Lumpinee Stadium champion in Sittichai. The Thai fighter used punishing left kicks at all ranges and elevations to keep Jauncey at bay. Sittichai also used proper distancing and angles to never let Jauncey get much of anything going.
Also on the GLORY 22 main card, light heavyweight Zack Mwekassa defeated Carlos Brooks via KO at 1:58 in the first round. Mwekassa stalked his opponent from the opening bell and used a series of punishing left hooks to finally put the American on the canvas after a final left hook went uncontested and landed flush.
GLORY 22 took place at Stade Pierre-Mauroy and aired live on Spike TV. For full fight card results, go here.