GLORY heavyweight contender Antonio Plazibat made a huge statement when he took out his rival Tarik Khbabez for the second time at GLORY 80 Studio. The surging Croatian crusher looks to put his #1 ranked position to good use as he sets his sights on ‘The King of Kickboxing’, Rico Verhoeven. Is Antonio Plazibat next in line to face the king?
GLORY 80 Studio
With back-to-back wins against GLORY heavyweight stars Tarik ‘The Tank’ Khbabez and Benjamin Adegbuyi, the Croatian contender was thrust into another non-title bout against his Moroccan rival in a rematch for heavyweight supremacy. The number #8 Khbabez looked to avenge his prior loss to Antonio Plazibat, starting strong and imposing his pressure early. ‘The Tank’ landed tight hooks in the pocket as the Croatian’s back was against the ropes, but Plazibat wasn’t there to be bullied. Plazibat responded with a barrage of heavy hands, letting out a war cry mid-combo to his overwhelmed opponent as he punctuated his thudding punches with chopping low kicks. Saved by the bell, Khbabez clumsily staggered around the ring and made his way back to his corner.
Tarik came back strong, despite the beating he received in the last round. He was able to bully the bigger man to the ropes, using his hand speed to rack up points and withstanding the powerful Croatian’s returning firepower.
With both men seemingly winning a round each, the third round was all to play for. Tarik came out eager to capture the same success early, swarming his foe as he got to work with his boxing. Plazibat sat in his high guard, patiently waiting for an opening. Plazibat suddenly unloaded a vicious lead hook to down his smaller opponent. A stunned Khbabez made his way back to his feet, only to have the referee call off the contest. Tarik hung his head in disappointment as the former W.A.K.O European champion Plazibat celebrated quietly with his corner. Now with 3 high-profile wins under his belt, the #1 ranked heavyweight sets his sights on the GLORY belt.
Next in line to dethrone the King?
Antonio Plazibat is the rightful number one contender, he not only holds the number one position in the rankings, but he also provides fresh competition for the heavyweight GLORY champion, Rico Verhoeven. Coming off a war with the giant Jamal Ben Saddik, the 60-10-0 champion Verhoeven will look to further his great legacy, and with wins, over most of the division’s top fighters it will likely be Antonio Plazibat who gets the call.
The fight promises the typical excitement involved in heavyweight kickboxing, facing the thunderous power of Croatia’s Antonio Plazibat against the technical superiority of the Dutch superstar. Luckily for Verhoeven, this will not be the first power puncher on his resume, with the aforementioned Jamal Ben Saddik, Badr Hari and Gokhan Saki to name a few.
However, Plazibat is not just a big guy that hits hard. He is a technical fighter in his own right with a belief that the Rico is not unbeatable, stating:
“I don’t want to be cocky or anything, but I have seen many mistakes in each of his fights and I know how to take advantage of these mistakes. I think Rico is good, but he is beatable. What I must give him credit for is that he is always willing to die in the ring and that he is always ready. The other fighters are not always ready, they sometimes rest. He deserves to be the champion because he really works for it.”
“I think it’s going to be a KO. I’ve seen Rico fight for the past twelve years. I know him better than he knows himself. I have played the fight in my head a thousand times. I’ll be ready to fight 5 rounds, but I don’t see it going 5 rounds. It will end before that and he will get knocked out.”
Antonio Plazibat stated in his interview with the GLORY Press Office.
So will Antonio Plazibat make true of his word and earn the biggest KO of his career, or will Rico Verhoeven add another hopeful contender to his extensive legacy?