The expression “fighting is in his blood” is an overused cliché. But for Holland’s Robin van Roosmalen, it’s a fact.

The 24-year-old kickboxer is the son of William van Roosmalen, a man who can claim a knockout victory over former world boxing champion Vitali Klitschko. It was William’s combat sports career that spurred Robin’s interest in kickboxing when Robin was just four years of age.

van Roosmalen (R) (James Law/GLORY)

van Roosmalen (R) (James Law/GLORY)

“I was very young when I wanted to be world champion,” van Roosmalen recalled while speaking to The MMA Corner. “It was because of my dad. At that time, he became world champion. I wanted to be one as well.”

At the age of six, William allowed Robin to begin training in kickboxing. That early combat experience would later lead to an interest in judo, where Robin achieved the rank of black belt. The Dutchman briefly gave up on combat sports to pursue soccer and football, but by the age of 14, he was ready to return the ring.

Training at his father’s gym, Fight Club Den Bosch, van Roosmalen quickly moved up the ranks at 70 kilograms, largely competing in the Netherlands. At just 18 years old, he was already competing at the sport’s highest level under the K-1 banner. With his aggressive style, van Roosmalen quickly garnered the attention of other top promotions like It’s Showtime and United Glory, leading to his current home with GLORY.

“I’m very happy that there is a promotion like GLORY because they currently have all the top fighters to compete with and host events all over the world, helping to grow the sport as big as possible,” said the man known as “Pokerface.”

On April 12 at GLORY 15 in Istanbul, van Roosmalen will make his 10th appearance in the GLORY ring. He has racked up seven wins over that stretch, but it’s the two losses that really stand out. Both defeats came in lightweight tournament finals. The first came at the hands of one of the greatest kickboxers of all time, Giorgio Petrosyan, at GLORY 3 via decision. But it was his most recent loss—to Andy Ristie at GLORY 12—that stung the most for the Dutchman. The knockout was just the second time he’s been stopped in nearly 60 professional contests.

“There were many things that went wrong, but it was my own mistake,” admitted van Roosmalen. “[I was] very disappointed. Not only because of the loss, but also because I was so close to the belt.

“We worked on my style to make it better.”

Van Roosmalen is anxious to put the loss behind him, but he’ll have to get past Marat Grigorian in Turkey. Although the Belgian-Armenian is two years younger than van Roosmalen and less experienced, the Dutch fighter is not underestimating his hard-hitting foe.

van Roosmalen (L) (James Law/GLORY)

van Roosmalen (L) (James Law/GLORY)

“Marat is a not very well-known fighter around the world, but he is a very good and strong fighter,” explained van Roosmalen. “I think it’s a great match-up, and it’s going to be a hard fight.”

Given the success that van Roosmalen has found inside the kickboxing ring at such a young age, it’s no surprise that he is dedicated to his craft. Yet, with a number of notable kickboxers flirting with the world of mixed martial arts—including Tyrone Spong, Gokhan Saki and Andy Souwer—could fans see van Roosmalen putting his judo skills to use in a cage someday?

“Yes, I like MMA,” he said. “Maybe in the future, but right now I want to focus on GLORY and becoming the best lightweight in the world.”

With his priorities straight, the 24-year-old is excited for his upcoming bout. He only has one message for kickboxing fans tuning in on April 12.

“Expect fireworks!” he declared. “I trained hard and feel good.”

If van Roosmalen’s past fights are any indication, fans should take him at his word. After all, it’s in his DNA.

Robin would like to thank his family for all their support over the years, his trainers and sponsors, and not to forget the fans for their support and positive messages. Follow van Roosmalen on Twitter: @robinvroosmalen