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Getting to know Reece McAllister

  • Published in Interviews

Considered by many to be the UK's top fighter at 67kg, Reece McAllister enters this weekends Topking World Series 70kg tournament as the youngest competitor in the field. At only 22 years of age, McAllister is already extremely experienced with over 40 professional bouts to his credit. McAllister plans on making a statement with his performance against Vladimir Konsky this weekend and is ready to prove himself as one of the premier lightweights in the world.

McAllister will be looking to add to an already excellent year, where he is currently 3-0 thus far. He started the year off the year by defeating the always game Tim Thomas in a rematch of their Glory 5 bout, McAllister defeated Thomas for the second time by decision. He followed up the performance with two second round finishes against Jackson Barkhouse and Dragan Pesic, claiming the WMC World title and the inaugural K1ngs of Glory 67kg strap respectively. 

I sat down with Reece ahead of his bout on Saturday and discussed everything from the fight this weekend, his martial arts journey and his plans for the future.

JS: Good afternoon Reece. This Saturday you'll be facing Vladimir Konsky in the first round of the tournament, where do you see yourself having advantages in this fight?

RM: Hi Jack. Coming into this fight I consider my youth to be a big advantage. I also think my skills are more diverse in comparison to my opponent and I have a much superior camp behind me. I am very hungry coming into this fight.

JS: If you're successful Saturday night is there anyone specifically you'd like to face in the next round?

RM: No there is not anyone specifically I would want to face in the next round as they are all great fighters and I believe I have the skills to beat anyone in the tournament.

JS: Who would you consider to be the favorites in the tournament?

RM: I would say Buakaw is probably considered to be one of the favorites.

JS: Speaking of Buakaw. He was involved in a rather controversial bout against Enriko Kehl  a few weeks back. Did you watch the bout  and what did you think of it?

RM: Kehl had a great performance in that fight but I still think Buakaw deserved the win. It was still bad sportsmanship by Buakaw to walkout and not finish the fight.

JS: I've been following your career for sometime and this year especially you seem to be increasingly more aggressive in your performances. What are the reasons for this?

RM: My increased aggression is  because I'm so hungry to be at the top now.  Having my daughter has driven me even more to be the best, I fight for her now.

JS: Lets talk a little about your martial arts background. You began training in Muay Thai when you were 9, who did you look up to when you were younger?

RM: I have always looked up to my Dad, not just in Muay Thai but also in life too. He was a great fighter himself and has been a great role model to me. 

JS: Throughout your teens you spent a lot of time training and competing in Thailand, have you visited recently or do you have any current plans to?

RM: I haven't visited recently as my daughter is still young but as soon as she is old enough that's a place we'll be visiting for sure.

JS: For someone only 22 years of age you’re already very experienced and well-traveled. Where’s been your favorite location to compete thus far and where’d you like to compete where you haven’t already?

RM: Throughout my career I have had some amazing experiences and traveled to some amazing places so it would be really hard to say just one place out of them all. As for a place I would like to fight in the future, I would really like to compete in China and hopefully I will be visiting there soon!

JS: We've so far seen you compete twice in Glory, when do you plan on competing for them again?

RM: I don't have any fights planned at the moment in Glory but you will see me compete in Glory again. 

JS: A former opponent of yours Steve Moxon fights the aforementioned Buakaw in the main event on Saturday. Is a rematch with Moxon something that is on your radar at the moment?

RM: I definitely want a rematch with Steve Moxon but that time will come, it doesn't matter to me whether it is in 3 fights time or 10 fights time.

JS: This will be your fourth fight in 2014, do you have any other bouts scheduled?

RM: With this tournament being so close to the end of the year I have put everything into this as I really want to make my mark on the division, so I have nothing else scheduled as I plan on winning this tournament.

JS: What’s the plan for 2015?

RM:I have a few fights in the pipeline that have not been confirmed yet but if it all goes to plan 2015 is going to be a big year for me. 

JS: Thank you very much for your time Reece, is there anyone you'd like to thank?

RM: Thank you Jack, I would like to say a massive thank you to all my sponsors who have helped me with my journey. Toxic Fight wear, Auckland Castles, International Waste Metals, Sheltee Industrial Maintenance, North East Spa Hire, DNA Utilities and CB Constructions RedLand Therapy.

Topking World Series host their second event on Saturday the 16th of November from the Velodrome National in Paris, France.

You can watch the event in its entirety from www.epicentre.tv for the small price of just $15.

 

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Glory 18: Liverkick Exclusive Post-Fight Interview with Robert Thomas

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Canadian middleweight Robert Thomas had a fantastic performance against Mike Lemaire this weekend on Glory 18's Super Fight Series. He started off a little slow due to his traditional Thai background, but in the 3rd when he finally let his hands go it was a thing of beauty. He had already softened Lemaire up with hard right knees to the body, then he came in with a hook to the body then hook to the head combo followed by a perfect right high kick to drop Lemaire. Once Lemaire was up Thomas followed up with a hand combination finishing with a short right that finished Lemaire off leaving him draped on the ropes.
We were lucky enough to get a quick chat with a happy Thomas after his 3rd round KO.

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Glory 18: Liverkick Exclusive Post-Fight Interview with Brian Collette

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We managed to get a few words from American Light heavyweight Brian Collette about what he thought went wrong in his fight against Zack Mwekassa. Collette tells us he really didn't feel himself, his trainers also told us at the event that even his warm up seemed flat footed. It seems Collette's mind was not in the right place before or during the fight this time. He actually wasn't doing too badly at the start of the fight, but as soon as he started standing still in front of Mwekassa things took a bad turn, not to mention Zack's jab looked as hard as other peoples right hand which Collette admits was a bit surprising.

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Glory 18: Liverkick Exclusive Post-Fight Interview with Benjamin Adegbuyi

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Benjamin Adegbuyi came away with the decision victory in a hard fought battle with Dutch veteran Hesdy Gerges at Glory 18. This fight was a close one in my eyes and it really was depending on what the judges were looking for. Gerges was walking forward putting pressure on Adegbuyi while throwing lots and lots of low kicks at the same time Benny was throwing big punches and high kicks which was pleasing the crowd and obviously the judges on this one. Adegbuyi was throwing some huge bombs to the body of Hesdy and to be fair I've always wondered why people don't hit Hesdy's body more since his hands are always high, but I got my answer, body punches don't seem to have any effect on Gerges at all.

Anyway, Benny hints to us that there maybe  a possible title fight in the near future for him, and I'm looking forward to that, as I believe Benjamin has what it takes to win the belt.

 

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Glory 18: Liverkick Exclusive Post-Fight Interview with Hesdy Gerges

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Hesdy Gerges was not very happy about the judges decision on his fight with Benjamin Adegbuyi this weekend. He felt he did enough to win rounds 1 and 3 at least with his pressure, and low kicks. A few people I was with during the fights agreed with Gerges as well and they thought he had won handily so I can see his frustration. Hesdy always seems to have crappy luck, first with the Badr head stomp, then the Ben Saddik head stomp, and now with the judges, I feel for the guy but hes always a wicked fighter to watch and one of the best heavyweights around, hopefully he can catch a break soon, he deserves it.

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Glory 18: Liverkick Exclusive Post-Fight Interview with Robin van Roosmalen

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After an astounding performance against GLORY Lightweight Champion Davit Kiria at GLORY 18 Robin van Roosmalen walked away from Oklahoma with the ability to call himself the GLORY Lightweight Champion. There was but one moment where things looked bleak for van Roosmalen, but he was able to recover and control the remainder of the fight.

Our cameras caught up with van Roosmalen after his win and he talked about the fight, including that one moment where he let his guard down and found himself down on the mat. Van Roosmalen also talks about what the future might hold for the newly-crowned GLORY Lightweight Champion.

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Saulo Cavalari Talks About Being GLORY's #1 Light Heavyweight Contender

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It's safe to say that Saulo Cavalari had a good night at GLORY 18. He walked away with two big ones, one over the tournament-favorite Danyo Ilunga and the other a picturesque headkick KO over the much-hyped Zack Mwekassa. 

Outside of being a naturally super nice guy (he tied our camera-dude Carlo's shoe for him and saw seen giving Shar's mom a few pecks on the cheek), Saulo is a scary dude inside of the ring and he talks about his two huge victories at GLORY 18 with us. He has a lot to talk about and sure, he might seem scary, but he's really a nice dude, okay?

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Josh Jauncey Still Self-Critical After GLORY 18 Win

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It'd be weird to make Jay write an article about Josh, right? If you were somehow unaware, yeah, Jay Jauncey is indeed Josh's brother and trainer, so it felt weird to make him write about an interview done by their bud Carlo with Josh considering that Jay is in the video helping remove the tape from Josh's gloves along with their father, Vincent.

The opening of the video is interesting because you see Josh get untaped while GLORY's Ivan Farneti talks about possibly booking a Canadian event while Jon Bier and his marvelous beard talks about complications, to give you some insight as to what goes on behind those closed doors. Josh is still uber-critical of himself after what was a solid performance (hopefully the SuperFight Series videos are public soon), but it's cool to know that most of these guys are just as critical of themselves even on their best nights just like I'm critical of myself on my good nights. 

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Danyo Ilunga Sees GLORY 18 as a Chance for Redemption

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Danyo Ilunga was probably the one omission that was kind of frustrating to a lot of fans when it came to GLORY crowning a Light Heavyweight Champion earlier this year. Ilunga fought in a reserve fight at GLORY 15, which left him on the sidelines to watch Gokhan Saki and Tyrone Spong meet in the ring, which was an interesting call considering he met Spong in the finals of GLORY 9's Light Heavyweight tournament a year before. 

Ilunga is finally getting his due in the GLORY 18 Light Heavyweight Contender's tournament and he seems focused on making the best of his time in the ring on Friday. He's using the omission from the previous tournament and his controversial loss to Spong as a jumping off point for his inspiration on Friday night. Our cameras caught up with him and he dished out what we can expect from him at GLORY 18.

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Saulo Cavalari is Ready for Anything in GLORY 18's Light Heavyweight Tournament

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On Friday night at GLORY 18 Brazilian Saulo Cavalari will step into the ring at the GLORY Light Heavyweight tournament where he has a chance to win a shot at the GLORY Light Heavyweight Championship. It's a tough field, with him fighting Danyo Ilunga first before potentially facing either Zack Mwekassa or Brian Collette in the finals.

Cavalari was last seen in the ring against Tyrone Spong, impressing a lot of people who saw Spong as a clear-cut favorite. Our cameras caught up with him on Thursday to discuss the upcoming tournament where he revealed that he keeps in steady shape so that he doesn't have to cut weight and that he doesn't specifically prepare for any of his opponents, he's just ready for whatever might come.

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Hesdy Gerges is Ready For Benny Adegbuyi at GLORY 18

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At GLORY 18 Hesdy Gerges will be squaring off against SuperKombat and Romanian standout Benjamin Adegbuyi in a battle that will see a potential next contender for the GLORY Heavyweight Championship after Errol Zimmerman has his crack at Rico Verhoeven. There is a lot on the line for Gerges, whose career has seen its shares of highs and lows over the past few years.

Our cameras caught up with him and Gerges definitely saw some holes in the game of Adegbuyi, noting that Benny was a good fighter but that he wasn't particularly strong or skilled compared to him. This should definitely be one of the more interesting fights of the night, for sure. 

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Brian Collette Feels That He Has the Advantage Over Zack Mwekassa at GLORY 18

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Brian Collette steps into the ring tonight against Boxer Zack Mwekassa, after Mwekassa made his impressive GLORY debut at GLORY 16 against UFC vet Pat Barry. Collette understands that Mwekassa is a tough opponent and he isn't looking past him, but he seems content knowing that his experience in muay thai does give him an edge against the Boxer.

Our cameras caught up with him in Oklahoma this afternoon and Collette spoke candidly about the advantages that he has in the kicking department against Mwekassa and how he's not looking past Zack to the finals, but is still confident. 

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A Look at Brian Collette the Man, the Fighter, Before GLORY 18

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The words stealthy, calculated and deadly describe lions. In their natural habitat they roam, they play and ultimately they stalk their prey. Much of the same could be said of Brian Collette, with a record of 19-2 (2-1 in Glory), he's a man with a plan and for Glory 18 he's definitely on a mission. With experience in Tae Kwon Do, Muay Thai and Boxing, Collette is the perfect picture of a fighter and he has vision.

Ahead of Glory 18, I had the opportunity to speak with Brian and the results were far from ordinary. A Virginia native, Brian Collette, like many fighters entered the ring on the heels of trouble, trouble at home, trouble in the streets, but soon the trouble with Brian became the trouble with getting him out of the gym. Training early in Tae Kwon Do and boxing, Brian had early dreams of Olympic gold in one or the other the sports. While neither of those goals have yet to come to fruition, Brian has continued to pursue his path to success in the ring , accumulating two wins as a professional boxer and 19 wins in the kickboxing arena. 

What sets him apart is the fact that he flies under the radar. In my multiple meetings with this fighter, my first question is usually, "Where have you been?" to which I always receive a polite smile and the reply that he's been training and working hard, but not much more. Unlike many others, Brian is not in it for the name, he's not trying to gain a reputation through trash talk, his goal is simply to be the best and to achieve that end by doing whatever it takes. Early to bed, early to rise and plenty of training in between, Brian looks at his current challenge with Zack Mwekasa with a level headed view, they're both boxers, he respects that; they both have very dominant presences in the ring, he agrees, both want to win, without question. But what sets Collette apart in this match-up? 

If you ask Brian, he tells you with ease and the stealthy smile of someone who would be nicknamed "The Lion" is that he's trained very hard and that he has a plan. When asked about the specific plan, he melts into his enigmatic repose. Anyone who talks to him more than a minute, however, knows that there is much more behind that smile, and Glory 18 is a test that he is willing to take. This Eastern Academy fighter has put many of his eggs in a basket in the hopes of becoming the one to face Saki at a date which has yet to be determined. The key word here, however, is many, not all. When asked about his vision of the future, Brian Collette is a man who definitely has a plan. Recognizing an eventual expiration date on his career as a fighter, Collette, who has a degree in computer science has definitely looked beyond the ring and plans to use his other skills while he enjoying a life with his family and friends. 

End of story, no matter what the outcome of his match-up with Mwekasa, Brian Collette is someone who definitely is in this business for the long haul and is someone whose name, if you don't know it already, you will.

 

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A Look at Hesdy Gerges Leading into GLORY 18

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Whenever I want to talk about the "Real" in kickboxing, I have a go to guy and that person is Thom Harinck. Yes, I know, not your average person, but someone who I trust and who trusts me with many of the secrets and stories of this long held tradition. It would only be natural then, that on the occasion of meeting Hesdy Gerges that I would consult Thom, after all, he trained with Hesdy for many years and probably has, or at least I thought, a very good interpretation of his persona both in and out of the ring. So, on the verge of interviewing Hesdy, Thom had this to say :

SW: Is he a hard worker?

TH: Yes, he is very committed. It doesn't matter how long it takes for him to learn something, he does it until he performs correctly. He also is very positive for other fighters because when he comes into the gym, he gives everything, so they look up to him which I think is good. Basically, no matter what is going on he tries, he is not afraid to be hit, he continues to punch and put forth his effort.

So this is the background and the effort he puts forth. With a career record of 59 wins, Hesdy has met and challenged many of the biggest names in kickboxing today including, Semmy Schilt, Badr Hari, Daniel Ghita, Ruslan Karaev and others. Even in the fights that he has not won, this 30 year old fighter has performed in spectacular fashion.

Ahead of Glory 18 Hesdy, now a member of Vos Gym, had not much to say about his upcoming fight with Benny Adegbuyi. Not known for trash talk in general, Hesdy stated that he had a great deal of respect for his opponent but, that the truth would be shown in the ring. Most recently off a disqualification victory over Jamal Ben Saddik, Hesdy appeared not worried about this fight, this is the work he's done his entire life, and what he plans to do for several years to come.

Saturday, November 7, 2014, the former It's Showtime Champion is set to face off with the Romanian, Benny Adegbuyi. This is a battlefield with which both men are familiar, although Hesdy has more experience, he also acknowledged the the skills of his opponent. " Benny is big", he stated,"in many respects very similar to me, he has good style, he's strong, but I can beat him". Both men have fought in SuperKombat, both men have faced difficult opponents, Hesdy, however, has had the opportunity to prove himself again and again in an arena not for the faint of heart. With more than fifty professional fights under his belt, Hesdy has had time, time to make mistakes, learn from them and time to take himself to a different level and continue to evolve with the sport. With no disrespect to his opponent, Hesdy acknowledges that he has more experience, more than fifteen years he's dedicated to the sport. He, like some of his peers came to the sport as a result of behavior that may have otherwise led to life in a different and more confined arena. What set him apart from some of the peers he left behind, however, was a growing love for the sport and the ability to discipline himself to finally achieve what he has today.

In a game where anyone can be king for a day, Hesdy is calculated in his strategies inside the ring. His plan for this fight, well, that's not known, but what Hesdy is known for is striking, defense and strength, both mentally and physically, to impose his will over his opponent.

Beyond life in the gym, Hesdy spoke of the desire to look toward a life with his family, his children, and whatever comes beyond the ring. He speaks as a realist with the knowledge that his opportunities as a fighter will not last forever so perhaps his skill to inspire those coming after him will be something that he will work toward in his future by owning a gym. For now, however, Hesdy recognizes his place among the top ranked fighters in the world and has a plan to seize that opportunity. Speaking less of becoming the number one fighter, Hesdy's focus seems to be being the best Hesdy he can be. Can anyone be better than that?

Spending twenty minutes with a fighter of this caliber is hardly enough time to capture the essence of his presence, past and future. All the same, Hesdy Gerges's name has been indelibly imprinted on the history of the sport and in the minds of those who will come after him. At Glory 18, the victor may be Hesdy, it may be Benny but there will also be Glory 19, 20 and many more after, so he's not intimidated. He is Hesdy and in the end he states, "Yes they will raise my hand." Need more be said.

 

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Benjamin Adegbuyi Takes Umbrage with Hesdy Gerges, Ready to Throw Down

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GLORY 18 is beginning in just an hour and a half on Spike TV, which means that the SuperFight Series is going down right now. The fight headlining that SuperFight Series is Benjamin Adegbuyi vs. Hesdy Gerges in a battle for Heavyweight supremacy. Earlier today we spoke with Hesdy Gerges, who felt that he had the upperhand due to not only his experience, but Benny's lack of skills. 

When we caught up with Adegbuyi he was less-than-pleased to hear that. In fact, he seemed pretty ticked off. You don't want to give Benjamin Adegbuyi a chance to see red towards you, man, you just don't. Benny also kind of points that that there isn't much to do in Oklahoma. 

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Ten Questions With GLORY Lightweight Champion Davit Kiria

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Georgian born kickboxer, Davit Kiria has wowed spectators in the sport since his debut. Kiria is well known for his speed and his aggressiveness in the ring as well as his ability to combine traditional kickboxing styles with Ashihara karate, a discipline in which he holds a black belt.

Looking ahead to Glory 18 where Kiria is expected to face off for the third time against Robin van Roosmalen, I had an opportunity to ask Davit some questions about his past, present and future as well as to find out whether the third time will be a charm for him..

SW: Once again, I would like to thank you Davit for the opportunity for the interview. Since your debut as a fighter with Glory you have shown yourself to be a very exciting fighter and one who the fans love to watch. I last saw you fight against Andy Ristie in Zagreb. It initially seemed that you might be down in points until your eventual KO. Did you have any difficulty adjusting to Ristie's fighting style?

DK; Ristie has just perfect parameters for lightweight, he is tall and he has very long hands and legs which makes for me more difficulty. But, I'm professional and I have professional trainers and we can learn any opponent and their fighting style.

SW: Glory 18 will mark your third meeting with Robin van Roosmalen. In the two prior bouts van Roosmalen won via decision. What, if anything, have you done differently in this training camp to prepare for this fight?

DK: This fight is very important for me, two times I've fought already with no success, but now it's the third time so it has to finish with my success. I have done very hard preparation and I am very happy, everything went very well and without any injuries or stress. I'm in very good shape and I will show more than in Zagreb because I have improved a lot because of hard working.

SW: You are the current Glory lightweight champion with a record of 5-3-0. What is your overall professional record?

DK: I have 23 Wins 8 losses and 0 draws.

SW: You have a black belt in Karate. At what age did you begin training? Also can you speak about how your interest in combat sports developed.

DK: I was 9 when I started to train in Karate. Before that I was playing soccer, but I really didn't like it. I don't like group games, I like individual sports and I chose to train karate because it's also courageous.

SW: You have been training in Holland for some time with Dave Jonkers and Semmy Schilit. What was it about their style of training/fighting that attracted you?

DK: Till today I train here in Holland. I come here for preparation, I get very good experience here. Semmy is a great fighter and person. Dave is a good trainer, I'm working till this day with Dave and my Georgian Trainer Bachuki they are a very good combination together, and they know best how to work with me.

SW: Both you and van Roosmalen are viewed as very fast and aggressive in your styles. What other assets do you see yourself bringing to the ring?

DK: I am better I think it from inside, I also have better technique, I know and I will show it next week. I will not only use my physical skills I will use my technical skills too and I will be better. I will do my best to show to the kickboxing world that I'm better than him and that I'm the best.

SW: Looking beyond Glory 18, are there any other fighters in your division that you are interested in fighting?

DK: Yes I already said Georgio Petrsosyan, I want to fight him next, but we will see how my management can work it out with Glory.

SW: What are some of your hobbies outside the ring?

DK: I have some hobbies but unfortunately I haven't enough time to enjoy them. I like to go to nature (mountains), I also like fishing, and I like to take nice photos, but I have less time for all this :):)

SW: If you were not fighting, what kind of career do you think you would have chosen?

DK: Maybe a businessman or farmer. I don't have any idea :):):) I never think about that, but I know what I'd like to do in future.

SW: Any special message to your fans?

DK: Yes of course. I love my fans, I don't like to ignore them, any reaction or message. Thank you my fans for this all love, I promise I always will do my best! If I win or lose it will always be my maximum. Till today I never make you upset and I do my best to keep it like that. Follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You can also visit my website, davitkiria.com and don't hesitate to ask me any questions via blog or mail.

We at Liverkick.com wish Davit the best in this bout with Robin. Glory 18 will be one of the most exciting events of the year and the headliner Kiria vs. van Roosmalen is guaranteed to keep us all on the edge of our seats!

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Wayne Barrett ‘That belt will be mine’

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Wayne Barrett steps into the ring next Friday to take on fellow top 10 Middleweight Jason Wilnis. I had the privilege of speaking to Wayne on Monday and here’s what we discussed.

JS: Good afternoon Wayne. You're only six fights into your professional career yet you have already become one of the poster boys for Glory. What do you attribute this to?

WB: I attribute a lot of my success to timing. I don’t like using the word but it’s kind of like destiny. I always said at the start of my pro career I’d give it my all for two years and if I wasn’t successful I’d return to corporate America. Look at me now. 

JS: Next Saturday you make your sixth appearance for Glory taking on the young Dutchman Jason Wilnis. What holes do you see in his game and how do you plan on exploiting those come next Saturday night?

WB: I definitely see some holes in his game and I also see some great things too. I’ve been watching him for a while, he’s got good jab, a good overhand right and he’s started utilizing his kicks a lot more now. I’d say I know his game pretty well. I know I can’t let him come forward because that’s when he’s most dangerous. As for how I’m going to exploit those weaknesses, we’re going to go at it and you guys will see for yourselves.

JS: Do you think a convincing win will be enough to earn a title shot against the champion?

WB: I think that’s what everyone wants to see. I’m here to do my job so if the fans and Glory believe I’m next then I’m not going to turn it down, but also if they think I need to improve then I’ll do that too. It doesn’t matter really as that belt will be mine.

JS: Artem Levin's unique and elusive style has given everyone he's fought problems. How would you attempt to solve the puzzle?

WB: To be honest he fights very similarly to some of my sparring partners; I’m very familiar with his style. He’s similar to Roy Jones Jnr and a little Ali-esque too; he has a different kind of timing. He does not follow the standard Dutch style of timing or pace and that’s what throws everyone off. I recognize it though; I’m ready for it and when it happens it’ll be a great fight.

JS: Besides a shot at the current champion, is there anyone else at Middleweight you'd like to fight or from a stylistic standpoint, you think you would match up well against?

WB: I’ve looked at the whole top ten and personally it’d be a great honor for me to know that at the end of my career, I could sit back and know I ran through the whole top 10. In terms of specific match-ups I’d quite like to fight Perreira and Verlinden. I’m a big fan of Verlinden’s style; his technique is perfect and for me he’s the epitome of a Dutch kickboxer. I’m not looking past Wilnis or Levin, but people couldn’t deny me my credibility if I beat Verlinden.

JS: Give us a little bit of background on how your martial arts journey started.

WB: I came to the US as an immigrant from Jamaica. Obviously being an immigrant we did things a little differently and because of that I was bullied which led to fights at school. So one day my Dad decided my brother and I needed an outlet so we joined a local karate school. Karate helped me straighten up elsewhere, our teacher would ensure our grades were acceptable before coming to class so I wanted to do better at school so I could go to karate. However unfortunately I my lost martial arts teacher in an unforeseen motorcycle accident and lost interest for in martial arts for a while but then fell in love with boxing.

After having a few boxing bouts some friends and myself randomly walked into a Muay Thai school one day. The teacher instantly recognized I was a boxing from my stance and asked me to put my hands up. He kicked me in the leg and it was an instant eye-opener, it completely changed my life. I signed up on the spot and since then I’ve never looked back.

JS: What do you think separates you from the rest of the division?

WB: My brain, I use my brain a lot. I’m always thinking in there. I don’t move the same, I use different angles, my pace and timing are different. I’m not afraid to move, a lot of guys have the one dimensional style where they meet in the middle and duke it out but I like to use as much of the ring as possible, I try to be elusive. I want to take as little damage as possible whilst inflicting as much damage as possible. 

JS: Your rival Joe Schilling is fighting in Bellator soon against Melvin Manhoef. Is competing in MMA something you'd ever consider?

WB: Oh yeah absolutely. It’s not out of the question, but the guys at Glory treat me so well, so I have to represent for kickboxing. They have me fighting on Spike, they pay me really well and I’ve had less than ten fights as pro. MMA is on my mind but my focus right now is on kickboxing.

JS: What’re your thoughts towards a potential third encounter with Mr. Schilling?

WB: He’s the only person who I haven’t knocked out as a professional. I want to knock him out but it’s nothing personal. I just know I can and I don’t know why I didn’t do it before.

JS: Thank you very much for your time and have you got anyone you’d like to thank?

WB: Thank you to Liverkick, you guys have always been awesome. Thank you to everyone who supports me and everyone who supports kickboxing. If you’ve got a dream believe in it and work hard and see what you can accomplish. 

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Liverkick Exclusive Interview with Artem Levin

  • Published in Interviews

This week we had the pleasure of doing an Interview with Glory Middleweight Champion Artem "The Lion" Levin. Not only is he the best middleweight kickboxer in the world at the moment he is also a very humble, down to earth guy just like anyone of us. He's been doing martial arts from a young age and it shows in his fights by how confident he is and his ability to see attacks coming. We found it very interesting to hear what Artem had to say about certain topics. Here are both the English and the Russian version of the interview for everyone to enjoy.

LK: Hi Artem, just in case some people don't know can I ask your fight stats first? Height, Weight, Stance, Record and Titles (amateur and pro), and Age?

AL: hi. I’m glad to be interviewed. Height 190 cm, weight 85 kg, stance Orthodox, Professional kickboxing records : 50 Wins (33 (T) KO’s, 17 decisions), 5 Losses, 1 Draw Professional boxing record : 1 Win (1 (T) KO’s, 0 decisions), 0 Losses Professional.

TITLES - Pro: 2014 GLORY middleweight champion, Last Man Standing tournament winner (85 kg), 2011, 2010 current It’s Showtime World champion (77 kg), 2012, 2011 current WBC Muaythai World champion (79 kg), 2008 The Contender Asia Season 2 Russian qualifying tournament winner (72.6 kg), 2008 Battle of Champions tournament winner (72.6 kg), 2007 current WMC Intercontinental champion (76 kg), 2007 WMC EMF European champion (76 kg) * Amateur: 2014 Russian Muaythai champion (86 kg), 2013 SportAccord World Combat Games Muaythai champion (81 kg), 2012 IFMA World Amateur Muaythai champion (81 kg), 2012, 2011 IFMA European Amateur Muaythai champion (81 kg), 2010 SportAccord World Combat Games Muaythai champion (75kg), 2010, 2009 IFMA European Amateur Muaythai champion (75 kg), 2008 Busan TAFISA World Games IFMA Amateur Muaythai champion (75 kg) o 2007, 2006 IFMA Amateur Muaythai World champion (75kg), 2006 WMF Amateur Muaythai World champion (75 kg), 2005 WMF Amateur Muaythai World champion (67 kg), 2004 IFMA European Amateur Muaythai champion (67 kg), 2014, 2013, 2003-2011 Champion of Russia

LK: How did you get the nickname "The Lion" is there a good story about it? or did you just like it?

AL: Lev is a cognate word for lion in Russian. I was called that name since I’ve been a child. It has become a ringname when I’d got first professional titles. I’ve read and seen a lot of things about amazing lions. Now I am “The Lion”, at least I’ve got lion’s heart.

LK: What age did you start Martial arts, what did you start with, what got you into it, and did you ever imagine at 27 years old you would be Glory middleweight champion and have multiple world titles? Also I personally love your dancing entrances, they are one of my favorites, when did that start?

AL: I’ve started going in for muaythai since I was ten. My brothers always prepared me for boxing career, telling me that boxing is my fate. Thus I’ve always known I’ll become a champion. Even when first three years of practice I could win nothing. I appreciate my brothers’ work and talk raising me as a winner. I try to relax and enjoy the process. Movies with Van Damme led me to the gym. One of the best moments is his dancing in the bar from Kickboxer movie to sounds of Feeling So Good Today. I enter the ring with feeling so good and it will be a fine hunt for a lion. I’d be glad if somewhen Jean Claude will attend my fight.

LK: We have not heard too much from you since you won the last man standing tournament, what have you been up too?

AL: I won Russian National Championships in August. I’ve taken some rest after the great tournament. There were other things to get done. I’m in the game again, I’m hungry and I’m ready for the fights. And I’m excited to step in the ring. LK: Can you tell us the full Glory 17: Last Man Standing experience starting from arriving in LA to waking up next to your belt the next morning?

AL: I’ve been glad to see sunny Los Angeles after a very long trip. LA gives a sustained energy. I’ve been boxing here several times. But for the first time I was here with a large crew from Russia. Thanks to all my team. And other guys from US came to support me, from The Boxing Club of San Diego particularly. I’m on training camp here currently. There are my friends, so I haven’t been alone. I’ve walked on the ocean beach. The energy it gives. Nothing compares. I’ve taken power, force, strength from it to win the tournament. There were organizing issues, shoots, interviews and work outs each day. It exhausted me, but my team have made everything to make me feel ready and charged to the fullest by the start of the show. I’ve got no any powers after the tournament. I’ve gone out at the arena with no emotions. And couldn’t believe in that it’s real, it happens to me for a month.

LK: Also, this is a question I had to ask, What is your opinion of your first fight with Joe Schilling, especially the extra round and what did you adjust for the second fight to make sure nothing like that could happen again? Would you like to fight him one more time to show people the first time was lucky?

AL: It’s become the main motivation to the next fight. Everybody has seen what’s happened there. I’ve made a mistake in the second round, thought I’d won the fight already. And Joe punished me. It lead to extra round. Judges took away the victory, but it’s my fault actually. Scoring in GLORY is an interesting story. I can give out a point before the bell, because I know they will find a way to take it somehow. And again about the fight against Joe, I’ve been ready to everything, to Joe’s tactical and technical suprises, to judges’s surprises, that’s my aim was to come out and win undoubtely. Joe is a really considerable fighter, brave with strong heart. I support him always in other fights.

LK: I've always noticed that you also fight in the IFMA or SportAccord Muay Thai championships with headgear, shinpads and full gear, what keeps such an accomplished fighter like yourself going back to these tournaments every year?

AL: I have certain responsibilities before Russian Muaythai Federation. And I am the captain of Russian national muaythai team. I’m honoured to lead the team and to contribute to development of muaythai in Russia.

LK: Tell us about where you do most of your training?

AL: it’s my homeland, Prokopyevsk is a small town in Siberia. My coach is a man who made my first victory on local amateur championship at age of 13 and who was in the corner when I won prestigious world pro titles, including GLORY. He’s like second farther to me. I’m on training camp in San Diego’s The Boxing Club now.

LK: You have a new young talent Artem Vakhitov that you train with he is rated #6 in Glory right now, do you think he will become Glory Light Heavyweight champion this year? Also what happened with him no longer being in the Glory 18 tournament on Nov 7?

AL: It all depends on Artem. He’s young, hungry, ambitious and he wants the title. So, he’s able to achieve it. As far as I know he concentrates on health and recreation, not to worsen latest injuries. He will perform much better on the next events.

LK: Any talks with Glory about who you will be defending your belt against next? Or is there anyone that you want to fight next if you could choose?

AL: it doesn’t matter who is the opponent. You should win the strongest to be the best. There we no negotiations on the point. I don’t know what does the pause in sequence of events means. But as soon as the belt I mine, I’m opened for discussion with ace in my glove.

LK: Last question is one I like to ask every fighter:

  • Hardest Puncher you've fought? AL: Yodsaenklai Fairtex
  • Hardest Kicker You've fought? AL: Yodsaenklai Fairtex
  • Hardest Fight? AL: it’s yet ahead
  • Favourite Fighter? AL: Ernesto Hoost

Artem Levin about Manhoef vs Schilling on Bellator 131:

AL: It will be an amazing event. The advantage in the bout will be on Melvin’s side. He is more experienced and proficient in mixed fight. He will do much better in parter. Joe’s strong points are longer reach, he should keep distance and use knees. He should be self-reliant: be focused and maintain fight plan. Both fighters have a knock-out punch and this can result an interesting bout. I will support Joe and I will attend the event. If he needs any help in preparation for the fight I’m totally in. He’s congenial soul, he’s been around the block. I do respect Melvin though, if he’s fought

LK: Thank you so much for your time Artem, would you like to say a few things to all your fans, sponsors, trainers etc?

AL: Watch my fights. Follow me in instagram and twitter. Ask me. Let’s communicate. I thank my team, I appreciate your support. I enclose gratitude to my coach Vitaly Miller, to my manager Sergey Busygin, therapist Evgeny Startsev and my family. And I appreciate the support of Stroyservice company, which contribute to my career and development of muaythai in Russia.

LK: Thanks again Artem, all of us at Liverkick are huge fans of you and your style in the ring and are looking forward to you watching you defend the Glory title this year.

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ЛК: привет, Артем. Для тех, кто незнаком с твоей биографией, немного обзорной информации. Рост, вес, стойка, счет боев и титулы (любительские и профессиональные), возраст.

АЛ: доброе время суток !)рад отвечать на ваши вопросs !) рост 190, вес 85, правша. Счет профессиональных боев : 50 Побед (33 (Тех) Нокаутом, 17 Решением), 5 Поражений, 1 Ничья

Счет любительских боев: не ведет

Счет боев по проф.боксу: 1 Победа (1 (Тех) Нокаутом, 0 Решением), 0 Поражений

Титулы

Профессиональные

        2014 действующий чемпион GLORY, победитель 8-ки Last Man Standing (85 кг)

        2011, 2010 действующий чемпион мира It’s Showtime (77 кг)

        2012, 2011 действующий чемпион мира WBC Muay Thai (79 кг)

        2008 победитель отборочного турнира The Contender Asia Season 2 (72,6 кг)

        2008 победитель турнира Битва Чемпионов (72,6 кг)

        2007 действующий интерконтинентальный чемпион WMC (76 кг)

        2007 чемпион Европы WMC-EMF (76 кг)

Любительские

        2014 чемпион России (86 кг)

        2013 чемпион Всемирных игр боевых искусств (81 кг)

        2012 чемпион мира среди любителей IFMA (81 кг)

        2012, 2011 чемпион Европы среди любителей IFMA (81 кг)

        2010 чемпион Всемирных игр боевых искусств (75 кг)

        2010, 2009 чемпион Европы среди любителей IFMA (75 кг)

        2008 чемпион мира среди любителей IFMA на всемирных играх TAFISA в Пусане (75 кг)

        2007, 2006 чемпион мира среди любителей IFMA (75 кг)

        2006 чемпион мира среди любителей WMF  (75 кг)

        2005 чемпион мира среди любителей WMF  (67 кг)

        2004 чемпион Европы среди любителей IFMA (67 кг)

        2014, 2013, 2003-2011 чемпион России IFMA

ЛК: откуда твое прозвище Лев? Какая-то история за ним стоит? Или просто нравится так?

АЛ: вообще, на русском языке «лев» - это корень моей фамилии. С детства старшие товарищи и друзья называли так. Со временем, когда появились первые титулы, и я вышел на профессиональный ринг это само перетекло в рингнейм, но с детства я много читал о львах, смотрел передачи и восхищался им и теперь моя задача соответствовать ему. Сейчас я и есть "лев" или как минимум с сердцем льва!))))

ЛК: Во сколько лет ты начал заниматься боевыми искусствами? С какого вида начал? Что привело тебя в спорт? Думал ли ты, что в 27 лет ты станешь чемпионом Глори в среднем весе и будет столько титулов чемпиона мира? Лично мне очень нравится выход с танцами. Один из тех, что мне очень нравятся, как это появилось?

АЛ: я начал заниматься муайтай в возрасте 10 лет, но до десяти лет мои старшие братья вели со мной так сказать психологическую работу, что бокс это мое все, что я вырасту и стану чемпионом, поэтому я никогда не сомневался, что буду чемпионом. Даже когда в первые три года я не мог выиграть не одних соревнований. Спасибо моим братьям, которые так глубоко посеяли семя победителя в моей голове! Во время выхода на ринг я пытаюсь расслабиться и получать удовольствие от процесса. В тайский бокс меня привели фильмы Ван Дамма! И, естественно, я помню его танец в баре в фильме «Кикбоксер» под песню Feeling So Good Today)! И когда я выхожу на ринг, я чувствую, что сегодня должен быть хороший день и славная охота для льва!) Моя мечта, что бы Жан Клод присутствовал на моих боях когда-нибудь)))

ЛК: не было ничего слышно о тебе с тех пор, как ты победил в восьмерке «оставшийся в живых». Что у тебя произошло за это время?

АЛ: В августе я выиграл чемпионат России. Я отдыхал психологически после такого турнира. Плюс есть дела по мимо спорта. Сейчас я опять в деле, я голоден, я жду боев и мне не терпится выйти на ринг.

ЛК: Расскажи поподробнее про участие в турнире восьмерке ГЛОРИ начиная с приезда в ЛА до того как ты проснулся на следующее утро после боев чемпионом.

АЛ: После долгой дороги я был рад видеть солнечный Лос Анджелес. Опять он меня заряжает. Я не первый раз боксировал здесь. Впервые со мной приехала большая группа поддержки из России. Спасибо им огромное! Плюс много ребят со Штатов, в частности из клуба "The Boxing Club" в Сан Диего. Сейчас я провожу здесь сборы, и у меня много друзей в этом зале, так что во время боя я был не один. В обязательную программу входила поездка на океан. Его энергетика это нечто. Сила, мощь, могущество - это все я пытался взять себе в помощь на турнир. Ежедневно были организационные вопросы, съемки, интервью и, конечно, тренировочный процесс. Это все изматывает, но моя команда сделала все, чтобы к моменту начала турнира я был готов и заряжен на все 100. После турнира я был обессилен в первую очередь психологически. У меня абсолютно не было эмоций после того как я вышел из арены. На протяжении месяца я не мог поверить, что это сделал.

ЛК: еще один вопрос, который я очень хотел задать. Твое мнение о первом поединке с Джо Шиллингом, особенно по поводу дополнительного раунда. Готовился ли ты ко второму бою так, чтобы ничего подобного больше не произошло? Хотел бы ты еще один поединок с ним, чтобы доказать, что его победа в первом бое была случайностью?

АЛ: само собой это было одним из главных мотиваторов к бою. Вы все видели, что было в первом бою. Я допустил ошибку во втором раунде, подумав, что победа у меня в кармане, и Джо меня наказал. Это послужило поводом к допраунду. Судьи забрали у меня эту победу, но по большому счету это моя вина в первую очередь. А по поводу судей в ГЛОРИ это отдельная история. Я могу еще перед боем отдавать им по баллу, зная, что они все равно найдут повод снять его с меня во время боя. Возвращаясь к Джо, хочу сказать, что я был готов ко всему, к реваншу и к сюрпризам от Джо как в технике, так и в тактике, так и к сюрпризам от судей, поэтому моя задача была выходить и выигрывать, так что бы ни у кого не возникало сомнений. Что касается его, то это действительно достойный боец, храбрый с сильным сердцем. В других боям я практически всегда теперь болею за него!

ЛК: я хотел бы подчеркнуть, что ты участвуешь так же в чемпионатах ИФМА и СпортАккорда, где приходится одевать шлем, налокотники и другую защитную эпипировку. Что заставляет состоявшегося успешного бойца как ты участвовать в этих соревнованиях каждый год?

АЛ: У меня есть определенные обязанности перед федерацией тайского бокса России, и являюсь капитаном сборной России. Для меня честь поддерживать сборную и вносить свой вклад в развитие муайтай в России. ЛК: расскажи, где ты чаще всего тренируешься?

АЛ: Это родина моя. Маленький провинциальный город в Сибири – Прокопьевск. Мой тренер- это тот человек, с которым пришла моя первая победа в возрасте 13 лет на чемпионате города, и он же, с кем я завоевал все главные титулы в своей карьере, включая ГЛОРИ. Это мой второй отец. Сейчас я часто провожу сборы и тренируюсь в Сан Диего в "The Boxing Club"

ЛК: у вас появился молодой перспективный боец Артем Вахитов, с которым ты вместе тренируешься. Он 6 номер рейтинга ГЛОРИ сейчас. Как думаешь, станет он чемпионом ГЛОРИ в тяжелом весе в этом году? И что случилось, почему его нет в 4-ке ГЛОРИ18 7 ноября?

АЛ: Все в руках Артема. Он голодный, молодой, амбициозный, и он хочет этот титул. Думаю, что это вполне ему по плечу. Насколько я знаю, он решил уделить внимание своему здоровью, что бы не усугубить старые травмы и на следующих турнирах быть уже только лучше.

ЛК: обсуждали ли с ГЛОРИ кто будет следующим соперником на защиту пояса? Или кого бы ты сам выбрал на защиту?

АЛ: Мне без разницы с кем боксировать. Чтобы быть лучшим, нужно бить лучших. С ГЛОРИ мы не обсуждали. Я не знаю, куда они пропали, и с чем связана их пауза в турнирах. Но теперь пояс у меня, и я с удовольствием выйду на переговоры, но уже с козырем в своей перчатке.

ЛК: последний вопрос я задаю всем бойцам Самый сильный панчер из твоих соперников? АЛ: Йодсенклай Фейртекс ЛК: кто сильнее всех из твоих соперников бьет ногами? АЛ: Йодсенклай Фейртекс ЛК: самый трудный бой? АЛ: самый трудный бой еще впереди! ЛК: любимый боец? АЛ: Эрнесто Хуст

Это будет потрясающее событие. И думаю, в данном бою преимущество будет у Мелвина. Он более опытен и искушен в смешанных боях, и чувствовать себя в партере он будет себя намного лучше, нежели Джо. Что касаемо Джо, он крупнее, его конечности длиннее, он должен держать дистанцию и не подпускать Мелвина к себе, должен использовать колени. Я думаю, что все в его руках. Он должен быть сконцентрирован и делать свою работу, выполняя план на бой. Оба бойца могут ударить так, что велика вероятность нокаута, и этим уже бой будет интересен! Я буду болеть за Джо и буду присутствовать в зале. Если ему понадобится какая-нибудь помощь в подготовке, я сделаю все возможное. Этот парень мне близок по духу, он через многое прошел. Мелвина я уважаю, он достойный боец, и если бы он встретился в клетке с кем-то другим, мои симпатии были бы на его стороне. Обожаю его стиль. Он словно маленький бульдог, желающий разодрать своих соперников.

ЛК: спасибо, Артем, за уделенное время. В завершении беседы пару слов для твоих болельщиков, спонсоров, тренеров и тд.

АЛ: Следите за моими боями. Подписывайтесь в инстаграм и твиттер. Задавайте вопросы. Будем общаться. Спасибо моей команде, что они со мной, моему тренеру Миллеу В.В., моему менеджеру Бусыгину С.Ю., массажисту Старцеву Е.В. и моей семье. И большое спасибо компании «Стройсервис» за огромную помощь мне и развитию тайского бокса в России.

ЛК: еше раз спасибо Артем. Все мы в ливеркик твои болельщики и фанаты твоей манеры в ринге. Ждем с нетерпением защиты титула в этом году.

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Interview with Daniella Éltető - The Machine from Hungary

  • Published in Interviews

Hungary's 19 year old phenom, Daniella Éltető has won yet another pro world title. She stepped into the ring recently 11-Oct-2014 at Fight 4 Glory's event in Switzerland for WKU's Pro Muay Thai title. Her opponent was french muay thai National Champion Magali Foroni (34). Foroni with a championship to her name has achieved a lot in her career and gained lots of experience. Fans could see her fighting Tiffany Van Soest at Lion Fight 12 in 2013. No Hungarian female fighter had WKU's pro Muay Thai title before which makes the win even more special.  We interviewed "The Machine" the next day of the fight to ask a few questions on the fight and her plans. 

Q: - Hello Daniella! First of all, congrats on the huge win! How hard was keeping everything in sync and prepare while you had to learn as well? You recently started University, right?

A: - Thank you guys. Yes it wasn't easy at all. There were tons of stuff to do because of my studies and I had to pull out of two fights as well because of health issues. The first one would've been a WKN title fight in Bosnia and the other one for a pro Muay Thai title in Romania.

Q: - Did you arrive for the fight or you got to Switzerland a bit earlier so you could train and acclimate a bit?

A: - Unfortunately I couldn't get  there earlier as I had an exam right before the fight on Thursday..

Q: - What was the biggest challenge against Foroni? Did you find some holes in her game, some weak points?

A: - She's tried to keep me under pressure but we prepared for this fight. Our strategy was to attack the legs so every time the opportunity arised I went for it. I've landed many inside and outside low kicks but she was quite enduring. In the 4th round I've managed to get her in the clinch and landed many knees and elbows until finally they've thrown in the towel.

Q: - What's next? Do you have any plans for the rest of the year or do you want to take some time off and focus on your studies?

A: - There's another big fight right on the corner. If all goes well I'll fight in about two weeks in Milan. I have some small injuries but I expect to heal up just fine by then. I need a few days off and after that I'll be right back into preparing for the next battle.

Q: - Congrats upon the great win and being the first female combat sports athlete form Hungary to ever wear WKU's pro Muay Thai belt. Any message to the fans?

A: - First of all I'd like to thank Shindokai-Kan Hungary – KYO-Shin SE, my master/trainer/dad Péter Éltető and János Laub for helping me to prepare for this fight and everyone else for the encouragement, congratulations.

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Five Questions With GLORY's Marc de Bonte

  • Published in Interviews

Throughout the history of kickboxing and muay thai, Holland, Thailand and Japan have been the hotspots for stars in the sport. Although there have been numerous practitioners from other countries, rarely did they achieve the level of success or acclaim of their peers in the aforementioned countries. Thanks to organizations like the now defunct, It's Showtime and more recently Glory Sports International, stars from the United States and throughout western Europe and Asia are receiving more attention. Belgium, for instance, internationally known for numerous Tour de France victories as well as strong showings in motor racing and motocross has not been so well known for stars inside the ring, if you don't count 1980's action star Jean-Claude Van Damme. Today, however the land known for its delicious chocolates, fine arts and picturesque beauty is quickly becoming one of the hotspots for future stars in the sport, much due to strong showings over the last few years by Filip Verlinden, Marc DeBonte, Marat Grigorian and Jamal Ben Saddik .

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to ask Marc DeBonte a few questions about his career and goals for the future.

SW: At what age did you begin training?

MD: I started young at 6 years of age and also did my first youth fight at that age.

SW: You are currently ranked number 3 in Glory with a 2-2 record thus far, what is your overall professional record?

MD: My overall professional record is 87 wins-12 loses-1 draw

SW: You are known for your brutal knees, what do you feel are your other strengths as a fighter?

MD: Mostly I feel my boxing and knees are my best points but I am pretty all round and I can adapt pretty fast to any style.

SW: I'm sure one of your goals this year is to regain the belt from Valtellini, any other goals for this year?

MD: Yes to regain the belt and win the tournament at the end of the year, also to get my ranking in professional boxing up. We will see how it goes .

SW: I know you have trained in Hemmers Gym. Where are you currently training?

MD: I train at Tay gym with my trainer Ludo Kaethoven who has been my trainer for the last 8 years now. We work together with Hemmers Gym to get good quality sparring since a lot of high level Glory fighters train there as well.

With the year having reached the 3/4 mark, it is debatable as to whether DeBonte will be rematched with Valtellini by year's end. A rematch, however seems inevitable and the world will see whether improvements in DeBonte's boxing will be sufficient to push him past Valtellini's Tae Kwon Do base and equally powerful legs and low kicks. Whether it's 2014 or 2015, the rematch between DeBonte and Valtellini promises to be explosive.

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