Exclusive: Antonio Plazibat accuses Rico Verhoeven of running from him ahead of Glory Collision 5

With Glory Collision 5 finally here, Antonio Plazibat is hoping to set up one of the biggest fights in kickboxing history against Rico Verhoeven.

On June 17, the Croatian superstar collides with Kevin Tariq Osaro at Rotterdam Ahoy, Netherlands, in a bout for the interim heavyweight title.

And having already claimed the K1 championship, Plazibat knows he’s only one win away from setting up the most significant moment of his life and cementing his already incredible legacy.

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While sports fans around the globe have crossed their fingers in the hope that the two heavyweight titans will finally meet in the ring, the eagerly-anticipated battle has evaded them.

And Plazibat feels that the responsibility for the contest not coming to fruition lies solely with his rival.

Speaking exclusively to Sporf, he said: “I’ve been trying to get that fight for almost two years. Every time I push to get that fight, there is something else and some other problem.

“Right now, it feels like he is running from me. But we’ll see after this fight. Does he run? Will he agree to fight? Will we have a date, or will he come up with some excuse again? We’ll see after the fight what happens. But from what I know, if I win this fight, that match-up is happening 100%.”

While the blockbuster collision would split fight enthusiasts down the middle, unsurprisingly, Plazibat can only see one winner.

“I would beat him around round two, by knockout, round three, latest. That’s how I see the fight.

“I think he has a different vision about that, but that’s how I see it. His style of fighting really suits me. So that’s why I’m confident.”

And the prospect of relieving Verhoeven of his belt would mean everything to him.

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Antonio Plazibat is ready to shine at Glory Collision 5

Having dedicated his entire life to the sport, the 6 ft 5 powerhouse is desperate to make all his hard work worthwhile.

He explained: “It would mean I finally did something in life that was worth it. All these years of killing myself and my body, all the training and sacrifices, everything I put into it would be worth it. I didn’t do it for nothing. Right now, I’m ranked number one, but that still doesn’t feel right.

“I’m a champion because I am not doing this for the fame and money. I do it because I love it and because I want to be a champion, and if I manage to do that, then finally, I did something.”

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Born in Split, Croatia, Plazibat quickly gravitated towards martial arts, showcasing a remarkable talent in the kickboxing realm. And now, having defeated so many amazing fighters, he’s undoubtedly solidified his place among the best sportsmen his country has ever produced.

He beamed: “Growing up in Split, from what I saw, it’s probably one of the best cities to grow up in because, as a kid, you are safe, and there are no dangers. You can go wherever you want by yourself. You can have fun, stay up late until midnight, and play on the streets. People watch out for each other. So it was really nice. My childhood was phenomenal.”

“Croatia is famous for having a lot of big fighters for a small country. From Mirko Cro Cop to Stipe Miocic, there’s an endless supply of top fighters.

“I think Croatian people are a bit tougher because they have a chip on their shoulder. That builds you mentally. You don’t complain; you just work. If you want something, you have to put the effort in to get it. There’s no easy way. That’s the mentality I got from growing up there.”

Having given his supporters a plethora of moments to cherish over the years, fans would love to see Plazibat get the fairytale end to his career. However, with Tariq possessing genuine dynamite in his right hand, the Croat will have to be on the ball for every single second of the fight, knowing that one mistake could result in disaster. But with his sheer experience and will to win, he has every chance of earning the title shot he’s craved for so long.

Featured Image Credit: Glory