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Verhoeven Defends Heavyweight Title at Glory 33

Find out about the champ's motivation and what it takes to be a kickboxing world champion.

Rico Verhoeven may be a heavyweight kickboxer, but he looks more like a bodybuilder. His six-foot-five, 260-pound frame is impressive to say the least, and it shows a dedication to fitness that has earned him the title "The King of Kickboxing."

The 27-year-old is the heavyweight champion of GLORY kickboxing, which is no surprise given the combination of his skill, size and his level of fitness–something that many heavyweights fall short on.

“If I ever lose on conditioning or stamina, it means I lost to myself. You don't need a trainer to do that, it comes from yourself," he said. "If you need to run five miles, you need to run the entire five miles, don't let yourself off and stop running after two or three."

Verhoeven fiirst began training in karate at the age of five, and since then he has been addicted to improving himself and conditioning. His self-discipline is what he attributes his success to. 

SEE ALSO: Heavy Bag Kickboxing Cardio Blast

“I'm so obsessed with the game–it doesn't need to be good, it needs to be perfect... I think that's one of the big differences between me and the rest of the heavyweights: I am never comfortable. Never. I was 24 when I achieved my life's biggest dream and became world heavyweight champion. I was like, “OK, what's next?” Then I was like, “OK, stay focused, stay champion, and show people what it is that you are bringing to the game.” 

His training is a combination of morning runs several days a week and interval training in the gym, meant to get his heart rate going similarly to the way it does in a fight. For his first workout session, he works with a speed ladder and a heavy bag. Later in the day, he hits the weights and does power-training.

“Every muscle group gets two different exercises and we're aiming for power and explosiveness and endurance. One exercise will address power and then the next will be high-reps at a lower weight to build that endurance. It's all with free weights and it's based on the fundamental lifts, things like squats and deadlifts, plus things likes flyes. We never use machines for training.”

Verhoeven defends his heavyweight championship title at GLORY 33 NEW JERSEY on Friday, September 9, facing Brazilian veteran Anderson “Braddock” Silva in the headline bout of a card which also includes a four-man featherweight tournament.

The card airs live on ESPN 2 from 9PM ET.

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