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Last Man Standing Video: Melvin Manhoef vs. Filip Verlinden

Melvin Manhoef is back in the news as Bellator is hyping up his return to American soil in MMA against Doug Marshall at an upcoming Bellator event, so what better time than to get a Melvin Manhoef video out into the wild? This is Melvin Manhoef vs. Filip Verlinden from GLORY's Last Man Standing tournament at the PPV of the same name. It's Wednesday, so sit back and enjoy some kickboxing already.

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Shin on Shin Series: Episodes 8 - 10

Our bud Steven Wright has always made it clear how much he loves the sport of kickboxing. He makes his money by helping out some of the best MMA fighters in the world to hone their standup, but his passion has always been kickboxing. For about as long as I've known Steven he has been talking about his documentary. Steven is a lot like me in the regards of he always has a lot going on, but he always stuck to his guns; he was going to release his epic kickboxing documentary at some point. 

So we waited and waited and I at times wondered if he had forgotten about it. He hasn't, not at all. We've seen episodes 1 - 7 already, so here is 8, 9 and 10.

Episode 8: Where They Hate the Heroes (Holland)

Episode 9: The Ambassador Remy Bonjasky, Stars of the Future

Episode 10: The Pretty Killer, The King of the Ring

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Interview with Zsolt Zathureczky

It's not unheard of that fighters of a specific principle want to try themselves out in a different style. Mirko CroCop, Tyrone Spong, Dustin Jacoby to name a few, have all dipped their feet and crossed the boundaries of their chosen sport. So why would it be any different in other parts of the world?

For many years the 193 cm tall (6'3"), 104 kg (230lbs) physical phenom Zsolt Zathureczky was one of the most sought after fighters in Hungary when it came to MMA shows. Despite his young age (Zsolt will be 26 this December) it was unthinkable to organize an event without him being on the card.

At Age 17 Zsolt hit the gym and chose Team Pit Bull at Soroksár (a district of the capital, Budapest). In two weeks he was competing. And he never stopped since.

His results speak for themselves. Amongst countless MMA, Kempo and even street fighting tournaments he won: 

  • He became the K-3 Hungarian champion in 2009
  • Won the Hungarian K-3 HW title in 2010 and
  • Became the Hungarian HW Muay Thai champion the same year

After some hiatus he recently participated in a well-known tournament series in Hungary, Fight Club's 12th event. The 8 man tournament provided quality production and fights to the fans in K-1, Muay Thai and MMA rulesets. Zsolt beat all three opponents and won the tournament by finishing his last with a powerful bodyshot.

Q: - Hello Zsolt! First of all congrats for winning the 8 man tournament! Apart from this how's 2014 so far?

A: - Thanks, yeah Fight Club 12 was an awesome experience because of many reasons. It was very well organized and I was really happy that I had this opportunity to show my standup game. Because of my history with MMA people usually think that I'm more of a ground fighter. When I accepted the invitation my opponents seemed a bit way to eager to accept it as well...

Q: - Do you think they were looking at you as a heavy underdog?

A: - Well they must've thought that they're going to have a big advantage over me simply because of their background (K-1, Muay Thai) so I think I've managed to suprise them big time when my combinations and knees started to land.

Q: - How do you like K-1 rules by the way? Do you feel comfortable competing under such rules?

A: - I'm missing the clinch. My knees are one of my main weapons and I like to land them from there you know. YOu have to work around it otherwise you get separated quickly.

Q: - Is it safe to say that this was the biggest challenge then in fighting under K-1 rules?

A: - Yeah, I think my first fight was kinda rusty if you know what I mean. The second fight was way better and when the third came I was really feeling it and managed to finish with that body shot. It was a great test for me to see where my striking and cardio at and I was really happy as I felt fresh through the very end.

Q: - So was this your favorite KO maybe?

A: - To be honest this was my first time I managed to get it in a fight but I really liked it. I've caused painful moments with body shots before in sparring but I hope I'll get it again soon in an actual fight.

Q: - How does training look like nowadays?

A: - We put the plan together with my brother, set goals and a strategy which we follow. There are always things we focus on like the things we feel as weak links and we attack those until it gets fixed. He's helping me a lot with getting information, reading up on articles, translating for me and so on. We are truly a team so when I get to the gym I have nothing else on my plate just training.

Q: - What's next for you? DO you have any plans for the remainder of the year?

A: - Yes I have a fight in Germany in the Winter but I'd like some fights in the Fall too. I'm focusing a bit more on opportunities abroad and I'm trying to get as many fights I can.

Q: - You seem to be ready all year round..

A: - I have to. I don't have to be that strict with my diet but still I have to pick things. I need a lot of energy for my training. It's really easy to lose from cardio for example.

Q: - How can you coordinate and put everything together - traveling, training, fighting with your personal life and work?

A: - This is something extra you have to be able to do as a pro athlete. I meet my limits every week, every day and I have to confront them so I can grow beyond them with will and a lot of work. This is a lifestyle for me. Something that I chose. Certainly being a bit ascetic helps but you'll need the right partner as well to support you. Luckily I have all this. Sometimes it is hard but you know how it goes: "victory is reserved for those who are willing to pay it's price".

Many thanks Zsolt! Best of luck with the upcoming fights!

 

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Exclusive Interview with Marco Tentori

We had a chance to speak with Australian Muay Thai champion and Kung Fu specialist Marco Tentori before his biggest fight to date against "Stone Cold" Steve Moxon. Marco did beat Frankie Giorgi in December of last year, and Giorgi holds a win over Moxon but Moxon has been very active fighting big names. So it will be a tough test, that Tentori is more than willing to take on.

LK: Ok first off lets start with your fight record, height, weight, stance?

MT: Current fight record 26 wins 6 losses(but i dispute some) 8 KO's. Height: 179cm / 5feet 10.5 inches. Weight: middleweight 160lbs/72.5kg, though this is the middleweight class in pro Muay Thai & boxing, it would be closer to the welterweight div for MMA & Glory. Stance: variable. Age - 30

LK: Do you have any nicknames? If so whats the story behind it?

MT: Machine Gun, Alan Pond gave it to me the promoter who put the shows on for which I fought my first few fights (though now he is my coach). He had a habit of giving nicknames when a fighter didn't have one to help with the promotion of shows. He nicknamed me "Machine Gun" due to my high work rate and it stuck

LK: You are in Australia, have you been there your whole life? Trained in any other countries?

MT: Yes I have been here my whole life and only trained and fought in Australia, though keen to get out & fight internationally. Can be difficult to get fights in other countries due to our location.

LK: You have a big fight with Steve Moxon coming up in two and a half weeks, hows training and how are you feeling?

MT: Training is going great! So far one of the best camps I have had. I am feeling as good as ever and feel ready to go right now! Like a hungry wolf being held back on a leash. I can't wait to get in there.

LK: I noticed that you have already beat names like Frankie Giorgi but do you think Moxon will be the biggest test?

MT: Given Moxon's level of competition & activity I would say that he would be the biggest test so far, although Frankie Giorgi did beat Moxon not too long ago. I am not phased by Moxon's reputation or record, I welcome the chance to challenge him.

LK: So, i was told your main fighting style is Kung Fu, what type, what gym do you train at and have you been there from the start of your training?

MT: My background & base is Buk Sing Choy Lay Fut. I started my training in this style at the Chinese Kung Fu & Tai Chi Academy. For my first few fights I trained solely out of this gym & in that style, but since there were no full contact kung fu tournaments here at the time I jumped in & fought muay thai instead. A kung fu guy fighting against muay thai under their rules, not something that happens too often. While I was winning I had some holes in my game so Alan Pond invited me over to spar & do some training in his gym. Since then I have been based out of both gyms, the kung fu school & Alan Ponds gym, splitting training between both.

LK: What age did you start at the Chinese Kung Fu Academy? Also whats the name of Alan Ponds gym?

MT: As a teenager, around 14 years old. Alan's gym is the Midland Martial Arts & Ultimate Fitness Center, formerly the Chinese Boxing Club (his background being western boxing & Kung Fu, off the top of my head he had around 78 fights between boxing & thai boxing)

LK: You said that you don't agree with a few losses, which was the worst and why?

MT: Most of them were very very close. The worst one was when I fought Jason Lea for the Perth Cup in my 13th fight, while Jason had around 36 fights at the time. While I & the crowd felt that I won the fight, one judge had it for me, the other for Jason & the other had it a draw. As there was no provision for an extension round the drawn judge was told to pick a winner & chose Jason so it was awarded to him. Not much of a story there really, though I feel that one of the judges was not completely impartial. Not taking anything away from Jason, he is a top bloke & I respect him a lot he went on to fight on one of the first big Thai Fight tournaments in 2010. I say that I feel that one judge was not impartial, as he also judged the fight I had after that against the New Zealand champion. He had it 50-50 a draw, while the two other judges had me winning every round 50-45, So something not right there.

LK: What titles have you held?

MT: In order: former WPMF super-middleweight & middleweight state titles. WBC Muay thai middleweight national title, ISKA light-middleweight national title, OTBA middleweight national title, WKA south pacific title, WMC middleweight state title - challenging for the WMC national title in October. Again the weight categories are the standard ones for Muay Thai, not the MMA or Glory ones with the same names but different weight categories

LK: Would you say you have a rival at all? If so who and why?

MT: Rivals, none at the moment but I feel that I have unfinished business with those that I had the close losses to.

LK: Okay last one, it's something I ask every fighter,

Hardest puncher you've fought? MT: Pat Doherty

Hardest Kicker you've fought? MT: Ruan DuPlessis

Hardest fight? MT: what aspect of difficulty are you talking here? The hardest fight I had was against Dusan Salva, but it was my hardest as I was stupidly sick for a few days before (and after) the fight, vomiting & bad diarrhea. Was a struggle to eat at all & could not keep much down. I had to try very hard not to shit myself or vomit during the fight. I had to get stitched up after & spewed on the doctor. But hardest fight due to opponent & not circumstances, was probably Ruan DuPlessis.

Favourite Fighter? MT: Roberto Duran

LK: OK thanks a lot Marco, is there anything you feel I've missed and you would like to say, or anything you want to tell your fans and sponsors?

MT: Statement for fans: keep watching as the best is yet to come! I have called out the WMC champion Mike 300 and will be taking him on in October after Steve Moxon. Once I am through with them I will be looking for something even bigger. 

I would also like to thank my sponsor WMD Fight Gear.

There is probably more I would like to cover but its 1:30am and having trouble thinking of topics at the moment. It will likely come to me when I try to fall asleep..... haha

LK: Thanks again Marco and keep training hard, we will be looking forward to hearing about your next wins.

 

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LiverKick Throwback: Kohi vs. Nitta K-1 World MAX Japan Finals 2005

The world of kickboxing has a rich history to fall back upon so we here at LiverKick figure, why not? Why not give a glimpse into some of the fights from the past that have made up this wonderful sport and tie it all in to the present. The kids on the Instagram and Twitter like to call Thursdays "Throwback Thursdays," I'm just going to say that this is a LiverKick Throwback.

Today we go back to 2005, we go back to a time when Japan was the undoubted home of kickboxing and K-1 was king. K-1's MAX division was on fire and K-1 had a legitimate star in Masato. The past few weeks I've been thinking about how much I miss the days when Japan was the epicenter for the sport of kickboxing and the best way to sum up what is missing is to look at the K-1 MAX Japan tournaments. Masato was K-1's MAX star, but there were a host of other Japanese fighters who got a big push from K-1 to be that big star. There was Kozo Takeda, Taishin Kohiruimaki, Yuya Yamamoto, Yuichiro Nagashima, Yasuhiro Kido and Yoshihiro Sato.

Each fighter had varying results, some showed more promise than others, while you had guys like Kozo Takeda who just went down swinging as a cult hero that nobody had huge expectations for in the end. If there was ever one guy who had that chance, it was Taishin (also known as Takayuki) Kohiruimaki. Kohi won the K-1 World MAX Japan tournament a whopping three times, in 2004, 2005 and 2009, but still failed to really catch on with Japanese fans. In fact, he was often-times booed by fans. 

Kohi had the look, the ability, but his personality and fighting style just weren't up to snuff when compared to Masato. Masato was exciting, personable and charismatic, while Kohi fit more into the mold of a Remy Bonjasky in the ring and he wasn't that great of an interview or public figure. 

All of this being said, Kohi was still an awesome fighter and while he may have "choked" a bit whenever he got to the big stage, he really was one of the kings of the MAX Japan tournaments. What better way to highlight that than his awesome, awesome fight against Akeomi Nitta in the K-1 World MAX Japan 2005 Finals?

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‘Hope for the best and prepare for the worst’ - An exclusive interview with Hungary's 22 years old Patrik "Titan" Vidákovics

K-1, Muay Thai, kickboxing, Low-Kick, Light-Contact - whatever comes the -75kg Patrik takes it. And the results speak for themselves - Multiple times National and European cup winner, European champion,  World cup 3rd place, 2x world champion, Professional K-1 Hungarian Champion, Professional K-1 Intercontinental Champion. But how did the story beging for the young Titan?

As Patrik was walking down the streets of Baja, - a city in Bács-Kiskun County, southern Hungary -, in 2008, at age 16 he noticed a poster about upcoming kickboxing classes. He went to check out the training of renowned trainer András Mezőfi and fell in love with the sport immediately. Seven years have passed and Patrik is just as passionate as ever. Despite the success he remained a down to earth guy thankful to his coach, team and to the sport for everything it brought him.

He's grateful for the transformation the sport made him go through. To his own admission kickboxing has made him turn his life around as he was really shy and insecure as a boy.

"My mother has never would've thought that I'll ever try my hands at something like this" - said Patrik. Since he started he has not only managed to get two world titles, won pro championships but grew a lot physically and mentally, as a person.

Patrik is a total fanatic when it comes to training and he credits all his success to the hard work, perseverance he put in throughout the years at Kick-Thai-Boxing Team Baja. Due to this mentality and being ready all year round he managed to capture the K-1 Intercontinental belt last November in Berlin in a clash what started as an exhibition fight.

"I traveled to Berlin as a wingman really for the Hungarian team. The event had multiple championship, world championship and intercontinental championship fights and when I've arrived the organizers asked me if I could jump in for an exhibition fight. A few hours passed when it surfaced that the winner can bring the Intercontinental Championship belt  home. I was fighting a weight class above my natural -75kg (~165lbs) and after five rounds of war I managed to get the belt."

Q- How does your training look like nowadays?

A- We focus a lot on functional training with my coach András Mezőfi to get me in the best shape possible and I have a schedule for every day of the week. We train striking and the kicks separately and then we sync them and bring everything together. There's a lot of emphasis on cardio, S&C. In an actual training camp when I prepare for a fight I traing twice a day - in the a.m and late in the afternoon.

Q- Tell us about your next fight!

A- My next one will be in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 15 Aug at an event called No Limit 7. my opponent will be a dangerous 27 year old local fighter, 86kg (~189lbs), 185cm (6'1") Mesud Selimovic. He has won several international cups, and became Balkan kickboxing vice-champion in 2011. We were studying some tape and found some weaknesses. He's a smart, disciplined fighter setting up his attacks nicely. I'll have to watch out and will put some extra time in when training cardio. I think it can be a deciding factor because of the weight difference.

Q- I know that fighters in general don't like to think ahead than their next fight but what are your plans for the remainder of the year and for the near future?

A- I'm not looking past my opponent by any means but I want to capture my 3rd K-1 world championship in October and after that get the European championship belt too at the event organized by Kick-Thai-Boxing Team Baja.

Thanks for the interview and best of luck Titan!

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Malaipet Dominates at Lion Fight 17, Shows Power Still Left In Body Kicks, Right Hands

Heading to the ring for his main event rematch with Justin Greskiewicz at Lion Fight 17 Friday night, Malaipet Sasiprapa, the decision winner of the first encounter, strode easily and confidently. There was one thing for me to wonder coming in, if he was going to knock him out this time. I am not always clear on expectations.

Perhaps it was obvious.

Malaipet didn’t knock him out, though. He came close, for damn sure. A right hand landed in the first round that crumpled Greskiewicz. The punch did its part. Greskiewicz did not. He got up.

Then the body kicks worked themselves in.

The stakes for the fight were dramatized by “the Voice” Michael Schiavello who relayed Malaipet’s comments that following two consecutive losses if he lost three he would complete the final obligation on his Lion Fight contract and retire.

He won. Number 145.

The conversation then is not about retirement. Thank god! I don’t want to write that shit. The conversation isn’t about title contention, either.

He didn’t have much for Pinca past the second round. Kevin Ross paved over him, even in the earlier rounds when he wasn’t just backing up.

The conversation is about Malaipet, about those punishing kicks, about those right hands that can still put fighters down.

He looked good Friday night. There are still a lot of guys he can beat.

Upper level-elite fighters will put him on his back foot and work his defense. That was true years ago.

Come forward, leave space under your elbows and Greskiewicz did, Malaipet will open shop.

The Victor Saravia-Andy Singh was the high watermark of Lion Fight 17, though the Rami Ibrahim-Carlos Lopez and Cyrus Washington-Brett Hlavacek bouts were entertaining. Pedro Gonzalez could continue to win as long as his opponents don’t even try to counter him up the middle.

Saravia can be a contender.

Malaipet was a contender. Now it’s fun to just watch what he has left.

Sometimes it looks like a lot. 

 

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As Glory Content on Spike Expands, It’s Time to Start Thinking Bigger

Glory has long accumulated enough content to provide regular programming on SpikeTV, but the extent of its presence has largely been limited to 2-hour live or tape delayed events as well as 30 minute countdown shows. Ratings, while stable overall, have varied the most between long hiatuses with Glory finding it difficult to sustain the momentum generated by a successful event. This is why we’ve maintained that having Spike air Glory content on a more regular basis would help keep the product on the radar of combat sports fans.

Well, it seems like this may be coming to fruition. On July 25, SpikeTV aired a one hour-long special consisting of some of the best Glory fights and highlights thus far. If you tuned in, you might have noticed a small caption reading that the Glory Last Man Standing tournament will be airing Friday, August 8, at 10/9c. In case you missed it before, Glory and Spike are going to bring you the greatest combat sports PPV event of the year for FREE on August 8, filling a relatively quiet night of programming (unless Cops and Jail is your idea of quality prime time entertainment) with must-see TV. While we’re waiting to hear more about Glory’s plans for the second half of 2014, airing the historic LMS event on free TV is more than enough to satisfy Kickboxing fans in the meantime. By the way, if you have friends or know someone who would be interested in Kickboxing, this is the event they need to see.

Could these programming changes possibly signal deepening ties between Glory and Spike? While we don’t know for sure, it is likely. Consider that the once-known “First Network for Men” has lately struggled with its identity as more original programming has been replaced by syndicated content. Its association with the UFC once provided hours of original daytime programming as well as an exclusive live sports entertainment product for primetime. However, it has yet to convincingly compete in this space again, with Bellator achieving only a fraction of the UFC’s former presence. TNA, while not considered a leading brand, has provided steady ratings for Spike with an average of 1-1.2 million viewers every week (as reported on wrestling sites). However, by ending its relationship with TNA, Spike will need to rededicate its efforts to making its original sports programming successful. Bellator and Glory have yet to perform strongly enough on their own, but with the combined strength of these two brands in a co-promotional arrangement, Spike may able to reestablish itself as an outlet for combat sports.

What would be the next step for Glory and Spike? I would personally like to see the 17 or so unaired Super Fight cards that Glory has taped make their way to cable TV. This is ready-made content that could fill any weekend or weekday with solid combat sports action. While The Ultimate Fighter was a breakout promotional vehicle for Spike and the UFC, I would argue that the afternoons full of UFC Unleashed were equally as important because it gave casual and incidental viewers the opportunity to discover the product. The possibility of doing a reality show depends on the viability of the format today; for Glory, I see greater value in developing a television platform for Eldar Gross’s excellent documentary filmmaking than I do for a game show with an uninspired gimmick (Enfusion Reality included). If you doubt this, just consider the star-making impact of Eldar’s documentaries on Alistair Overeem and Tyrone Spong and imagine this in the format of a serious multi-part series with AMC/HBO-style marketing--there’s a chance to reach a wider audience here. This would be the type of promotion that Glory has been looking for with a cast of excellent subjects who have already been chosen.

We’re at a point now where the Glory product itself is in need of no further major refinement. The challenge now is making a connection with a television audience, and while this is a daunting task, there are a few things that we might consider. Let’s think about a time in combat sports when big fights made big news and big names mattered to little people. We talk about combat sports legends like the often-named boxers of bygone generations--men who became icons not only because of their accomplishments (after all, what cultural value do these accomplishments have if no one knows about or appreciates them?) but because of how they were sold to the public. The legend of Muhammad Ali had as much to do with the man as the people who promoted him and publicized him. Television in the cable era is far more fragmented than it was in the broadcast network era, but every now and then, when talent, interest, and marketing come together at the right time, a figure is able to transcend the boundaries of their medium. Far less well-spoken people who compete in sports more obscure than kickboxing get made into national heroes every Olympics; what stops our champions? Is the story of some dopy middle class suburban kid who spent all of their free time swimming more compelling than that of Zack Mwekassa? NBC sells the hell out of stories like that. Maybe it’s time to stop waiting for the mainstream to find us--let’s go after their hearts. This product and the people who compete are just as compelling as anything that could get sold on TV; it’s time to market the product with inspiration and creativity. It’s time to think bigger.

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Sharing a Six-Pack with Justin Greskiewicz

8/1/14, Mashantucket Reservation, CT - The night before a fight can be a weird time for a fighter.  Some go into seclusion, turning off their phones and locking themselves in a room.  Some go out to a big dinner with the team or friends and family.  Some just eat, watch movies, visualize and pass out, or try to.  I was lucky enough to catch Justin Greskiewicz, the Purple People Eater, the night before the biggest match-up of his professional Muay Thai career, Malaipet Sasiprapa in the Lion Fight 17 show at Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut.  

Not wanting to take up too much of his time, especially while he was eating, we shared a quick six questions, and then I let him get back to it:

Okay, the weigh-ins over, the hard work is done, time to eat rest, relax and get ready to have some fun tomorrow... if you have the time it'd be great if you can answer these any way you see fit.

The Arbiter: What makes tomorrow's match-up different or more challenging than previous fight? Do you think it's your toughest?

Justin Greskiewicz: This fight is definitely going to be tough. He keeps talking about how hard he trained and that we're gonna see the old Malaipet again. That will make my victory that much sweeter. This will be one of my toughest fights to date for sure.

T.A.: What are some challenges that you faced in training and teaching/running Stay Fly at the same time?

JG: Training hard for a fight is difficult with my own business to run. I'm pretty much the Lone Ranger running stuff there. Also, I don't really have a coach, but lots of people have helped me out along the way for this fight and so many people have stepped up so I could train hard.

T.A.: How has your training differed from prior fights? Any new wrinkles?

JG: I trained hard for this fight. My last 2 fights I had a tough time finding training, but I still did very well. For this fight, I had the help I needed to get ready to do it.

T.A.: What are the weaknesses in your opponent’s game that you think you can exploit?

JG: Malaipet's biggest weakness has been his conditioning, recently. I think I can exploit that if I really push the pace of the fight. Also, his boxing is not really great, he looks for one big shot at a time, and I'll be looking to take advantage of that.

T.A.: Which part of your game or personality would you say is your most reliable or central to victory tomorrow?

JG: My biggest ally in this fight is my will to win. A win here at Lion Fight would be great for my career, especially against one of the best in the game. I want it bad, and tomorrow I'm gonna take it.

T.A.: And lastly, are there any special combos or techniques we should watch for? Old favorites, new experimental stuff? 

J.G.: I will be looking to mix it up a lot in there tomorrow. You might see a fancy technique or two thrown in, which isn't normally the style that I fight. It should be exciting.

T.A.: Thanks for your time brother, I'll let you get back to your visualizations or Tekken or watching Dolomite, whatever your routine is.

J.G.: Ha-ha! Thanks still stuffing my face…

T.A.: Enjoy, asta manana!

J.G.: Werd up!

T.A.: Thanks again for taking time to answer even a couple if these. Best of health and luck tomorrow, CHOK DEE, BROTHER!!!!

Justin will be fighting Thai Champion Malaipet Sasiprapa tonight as the main event of Lion Fight 17 from the Fox Theater at Foxwoods Casino and Resort tonight.  If you can’t be there live you can catch it on AXS TV, starting at 7:00pm.

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A Few Questions With Glory Middleweight Israel "The Last Style Bender" Adesanya

Earlier this week we were lucky enough to get to chat with Israel Adesanya and ask few questions before his King in The Ring 8 man tournament in Auckland, NZ on August 30th. Israel is the first fighter from New Zealand to sign with Glory and is the current WKBF Cruiser & Light Heavyweight, IKBF Cruiserweight and WMC Oceania Cruiserweight Champion.

LK: Hi Israel, first of all tell us your fight stats, height, weight, record, etc?

IA: Fight record is 34 wins/ 2 losses/ 0 draws/ 16kos, Height: 190cm/6'3", Weight: 84kg/185lbs, Stance: Orthodox, Age: 25yrs old.

LK: What nickname do u go by? I've heard Style bender?

IA: The last Style Bender. Lol big fan of cartoons, 1 of my faves being the Avatar series. Love the story behind it and the idea of me being the last of my kind, so I have to master all the elements of fighting to realize my destiny as the Avatar.

LK: You have an 8 man tournament coming up Aug 30 in Auckland, hows training going, how are you feeling?

IA: Yup for King in the Ring. I'm feeling great man, all I do is train eat sleep and repeat. I could fight tomorrow that's how ready I am.

LK: Do you know any of the other opponents? Who do you think is the best man in the tournament after you of course?

IA: Yup a lot of the guys in the tournament are friends of mine. We've traveled and trained together for years. But it makes no difference, I've had fights with my brothers and sister growing up. I'd fight anyone! I'd fight my grandma even...but she's dead. Makes no difference who has the bad luck to face me that night, I'll pull no punches and I expect them to come at me. I'm not the defending King in the Ring champ, but I know these boys all wanna beat up the Glory fighter. So that keeps me sharp.

LK: What do you think of the 8 man tournament format? Do you like it better than a single fight?

IA: I like the spectacle of it. 7 men will fall and 1 will rise, it's so throwback. But I prefer to have a single fight for the most part. 8 man tournaments are taxing on the body. I won my 1st 1 in 2010 for the IKBF 8man.

LK: You train at City Kickboxing, is that where you first started training? How's the attitude/ atmosphere/sparring partners?

IA: I started in TKD as a kid. Stopped for almost or over 10 years then training in Wanganui New Zealand with Derek Broughton. Then decided to move to the big smoke of Auckland city after visiting City Kickboxing on a road trip. One of the best decisions to train at City Kickboxing with Eugene Bareman and Doug Viney.

LK: I have to ask about your fight with Simon Marcus, how did you feel about that decision?

IA: Man, I know, the people know, and Simon knows he didn't win that fight. He hit me with 2 clean punches the whole fight, I rocked him twice and he wanted cuddles, I bent around all his strike attempts and hit him clean more times in the fight while doing the moonwalk. He'll get this work soon...hopefully on the Glory stage so the world can witness!

LK: How did you find the experience of your first Glory fight?

IA: It was awesome! Turkey was dope. I wasn't nervous at all cuz in China I did 15000 seat shows, so this was nothing. I should have embraced the nerves a bit and stayed true to my style rather than charge him in the opening round. But Verlinden used strong basics and years of experience to keep me at gear to and steal momentum, I respect that... but he still couldn't break me and I know without a doubt I can beat him.

LK: Any talks with Glory about about your next fight?

IA: Yup, classified at the moment. But it's coming soon and I can't wait to make my USA debut. The world gon' luuuurn haha!

LK: What got you into kickboxing in the first place? How old were you? Did you ever imagine you would be at this level?

IA: I was 17, I saw the movie Ong Bak and months after started training Muay Thai. Had my 1st novice fight within 6 weeks and my 2nd fight ever was full thai rules (and won). After UFC 90 witnessing the way Anderson Silva beat Coté, I had the misconception of fighters/ action heroes movies and media put on us shattered. Soon after I made the decision to be the best in the world and I moved to Auckland.

LK: Last question is something I like to ask every great fighter

Hardest puncher you've fought? IA: I don't take many shots in fights, but Doug Viney spars like a mad man and had hit me full clip a full times and I still stand.

Hardest Kicker you've fought? IA: Jamie Eades in a novice fight in 2008/2009. He made me realize to check leg kicks, but I returned the favour years later in a full Thai fight and had him limping with a gangsta lean.

Hardest fight? IA: Still waiting...

Favourite Fighter? IA: Anderson Silva, Mohammed Ali, Prince Naseem, Roy Jones jr, Rickson Gracie, Conor McGregor, Nick Diaz...etc the list can go on. I'm a fan of combat sports

LK: Thanks a lot for your time Israel, is there anything more you would like to say to your fans, sponsors etc?

IA: Just wanna thank those that have followed and believed in me through all this, my training partners, my sponsors Bow Fighters, FX Nutrition, Combat Kings, Stained Skin Tattoos. Stay tuned for this man, just getting started.

LK: Once again thank you, good luck on your upcoming fight, not that you need it.

 

 

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