Hesdy Gerges is looking forward to his fight against Rico Verhoeven next Saturday in Rotterdam.

The 36-year-old Amsterdammer is the replacement for Jamal Ben Saddik, who signed out on Tuesday due to a back injury.

"Of course Rico has the advantage. We have to be honest in that. He has had a full training camp. My preparation has been different, but I always train, every day and I am a sportsman through and through", says Gerges Wednesday against

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Verhoeven and Ben Saddik would compete for the world title in kickboxing.

Instead, GLORY is now hosting a heavyweight tournament with a total of four participants.

Verhoeven and Gerges face each other in one semi-final, Levi Rigters and Tarik Khbabez in the other semi-final.

"I've never seen a champion challenge anyone, but that was the case this morning," said Gerges.

I was immediately ready to go.

I have often taken on a party against the greats in the short term.

We're going to go to war.

Rico is certainly not going to get it as a present. "

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Verhoeven furious with fighter Gerges during press conference

'We are not friends'

Gerges and Verhoeven verbally got together at a press conference at the end of 2019, after the reigning world champion had won from Badr Hari.

Verhoeven allowed himself to be provoked by Gerges and shouted, among other things: "He is no match for me. I beat him through the entire ring."

"We are not friends," Gerges told Wednesday.

"He has my respect from a sporting point of view, but as a person I find him less. He irritates me. But it's nice that we can beat each other up legally. Then we shake hands and it's done."

Two previous mutual duels in 2011 and 2012 were won by Verhoeven.

Gerges last fought under the GLORY banner in March 2018.

He then lost to Badr Hari, but that result was canceled after both tested positive for doping.