Rico Verhoeven has held the Glory heavyweight title for 2682 days.

His secret is stability, says the 'King of Kickboxing' before his fight with Jamal Ben Saddik at the GelreDome.

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It is 2 pm when Rico Verhoeven rubs the sleep from his eyes, in the middle of his ten days of seclusion in a remote villa.

He eats, sleeps, trains and repeats.

"Very boring. Also very easy, by the way. Watching movies, relaxing a bit, training a bit. The dots on the i."

After this final phase of his training camp, he will defend his GLORY world heavyweight title for the tenth time tonight in a packed GelreDome.

Jamal Ben Saddik tries to take over the championship belt.

The Belgian Moroccan suffered a serious back injury last year, received another bad cancer diagnosis and was operated on.

He became a suspect in the Sky case for encrypted telephones in the criminal circuit, was in custody for a month and a half, became depressed and switched trainers.

Between the two has been an old sore since Ben Saddik spat at Verhoeven in the staredown for the fight in 2017, which Verhoeven decided in his favor in the fifth round.

Ben Saddik apologized, but maintains that Verhoeven would have said something about his illness at the time.

According to Verhoeven, it was a positive doping test in 2015.

GLORY heavyweights often suffer from injuries or show little continuity.

Verhoeven's eternal rival Badr Hari is the best example, with a recent loss against the relatively unknown Arek Wrzosek.

Hari fought dominantly, but one main kick from Wrzosek decided the game.

Why has nothing like this ever happened to you in recent years?

Verhoeven (32): "I find it difficult to say. At a certain moment everything just comes together. For Badr it all fell together at that moment. How big is that chance? Not very big. I always try positive energy in the universe That will always come back, I'm convinced of that."

What do you mean?

"If you're always positive, those vibes come back too. I believe that's how the world works. Badr may be different, making different choices in life. At this point, everything came together for Wrzosek."

Why do you manage to be constant?

"Look how Badr is preparing. He fought my training buddy Benjamin Adegbuyi eight months earlier, but against Wrzosek he was suddenly a few kilos heavier. I don't understand who in his team makes that choice."

"You can see in the race that he is heavy. He looks great, but you also see that he is too big for his frame. He knocks himself out of balance. As a professional I see that there is no continuity in it. Badr and his team try very hard to feel when he should be heavy or light. Now he's made heavy, he gets that main kick. Previously he injured his arm. Everything happens, that's just not good. A body is not built to gain that much extra mass in a short time."

"I think that's my strength, that I'm very continuous and consistent. I sharpen things, but I don't make very big adjustments. For me it's about one or two kilos. That is my natural frame. I am naturally a heavy big boy and not everyone has that."

You rarely suffer from injuries.

Is that a result of that continuity?

"Of course. I always train. In 2020 I didn't fight all year, but I trained once or twice a day. This gives your body a strong foundation. That's why I am so much ahead of the rest and I don't suffer so much of injuries. Of course I notice that I am getting older, that my body complains now and then, but I have a very good team around me to take care of all that. That's the secret."

Are you surprised that other fighters in your division don't seem to train so continuously?

"I can only speak for myself. But I find it very strange that they always say in interviews before a match against me: 'Now I have prepared really well. Now I have trained really hard. Now I have done everything I can. '

"Well, I've been doing everything I can to be the best version of myself for ten years now. I still want to be better today than I was yesterday. Is that a skill? No, I don't think so. That's just discipline."

Did you ever feel like it slipped out of your hands?

"I used to lose matches, but not in recent years. The fight is not over until it is over. As long as I get up, once more than my opponent, I always win. That is my strength and vision. get up once more or I fall down dead I don't think I can take more than others but I believe it's a mental issue Maybe it's not quite healthy but I can't help but feel so standing."

In 2017, Ben Saddik got you pretty shaken in the first round.

Many other fighters wouldn't recover from that.

"At that moment I know that I will lose the first round. Then I make the decision: OK, I am not going to fight this man anymore, because I am already beaten. There is no point in fighting, I walk already behind the facts. Then I better take my rest, catch my breath and keep moving. That's when he sees his chance and he goes full throttle. But the moment I recover I win every round and in the end The fight. You saw it in the boxing fight between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder earlier this month. Fury goes down twice in the fourth round, but he just gets up and wins. That's mental strength."

Ben Saddik spat in your direction in 2017 and continued on Sunday to say that you said something about his illness.

"I think it felt that way for Ben Saddik too. Jamal wants to stand his ground, that's allowed. But if you're not honest and sincere, you shouldn't pretend you are. That annoys me."

What is your reading?

"Suppose I'm a bad person and I said something like that. Then he would never have to apologize, would he? Then it would have been appropriate if he punched me in the face. Then he would have been right. It's just not right , his story rattles on all sides."

What would he like to achieve with it?

"He just won't say it was stupid, that he shouldn't have done it, that he was triggered and did something that wasn't smart, that he learned from it. I don't think he wants to lose face. I'm not lying there We're not best friends, but I'm just okay. Let's put on a great game and leave it at that."

Keywords: person, rico verhoeven, stability, badr hari, jamal ben saddik, heavyweight title, something, fight, illness, strength, glory, secret, more, benjamin adegbuyi, article