Daniel Ghita (50-10-0, 39 KO's) and Rico 'The Prince' Verhoeven (43-9-0, 10 KO's), ranked #1 and #2 in the world respectively, have been taking shots at each other in an increasingly scathing Twitter exchange which started Monday afternoon and continued into Tuesday.
My message to our "Prince of kickboxing": You little Prince the KING is here ! See you in LA, 21 June.— Daniel Ghita (@DanielGhita1) May 18, 2014
A beef has simmered between the two ever since they met in the final of the GLORY 11 CHICAGO heavyweight tournament in October. Verhoeven won the 'Fight of the Year' contender - parts of which were likened to "something from a Rocky movie" - by way of decision.
Ghita was absolutely furious. He felt that there should have been at least an extra round ordered by the judges, but also that he had won clearly anyway.
Now here's where it gets interesting: the official CompuStrike numbers, released after the fight, showed that Ghita had indeed outlanded Verhoeven in the fight.
Television viewers also saw the fight differently to fans who had seen it in the arena; the former generally had it for Ghita, the latter generally had it for Verhoeven.
Following the fight, open hostility finally broke out between the two. Ghita in particular has gone after Verhoeven, dubbing him a "fake champion" and taking a swipe at his hiring of limousines to attend nightclubs.
Next month they are due to face off again in the headline fight of GLORY: LAST MAN STANDING, with the heavyweight title belt on the line. Their fight on Saturday, June 21 should definitively answer the question as to which of these two is the best heavyweight striker on the planet.
But there is more at stake than the heavyweight title. Of equal importance to the two is proving a point over the other. Ghita and Verhoeven trained together extensively for several years but there was always a simmering tension under the surface.
That has now broken through to the surface as the war of words erupted yesterday. Ghita is normally a quiet man who does his talking in the ring. But, having recent joined Twitter, he took advantage of the opportunity to start needling his younger opponent - and Verhoeven wasted no time in answering back.
Regarding the decision in their first fight, the two are still clearly on opposite sides of the fence:
It was a wrong decision. You are the most boring fighter in the world, Princy :)— Daniel Ghita (@DanielGhita1) May 19, 2014
Haha wrong decision, thats what all bad losers say!(It's a judges sport STUPID) Just make sure your old ass is in LA 21 June— Rico Verhoeven (@RicoVerhoeven) May 20, 2014
With this kind of talk coming a month out, you can be sure this fight will explode when it finally happens. Ghita and Verhoeven are not in the Shamrock/Ortiz mould and nor are most kickboxers. When they talk, they mean what they say.