In the first semi-final of the HW tournament, Rico Verhoeven faced number 2 ranked heavyweight Gokhan Saki. Many expected Saki to not only win this fight, but to proceed to win the tournament. In the first upset of the evening, Verhoeven took control of the fight, soundly defeating Saki by unanimous decision.
Verhoeven faced number 3 ranked heavyweight Daniel Ghita in the final. Verhoeven fought in close to Ghita, keeping Ghita from being able to pick his shots and forcing Ghita to work at a fast pace. By the second round, Ghita was beginning to struggle to keep up with Verhoeven’s work rate and wilted further in the third round. The judges awarded the fight unanimously in Verhoeven’s favour.
This is a stunning achievement for Rico Verhoeven, beating two of the best heavyweight kickboxers in one evening.