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Liverkick's Exclusive Interview with Superkombat Champion Bogdan Stoica

On April 6, Bogdan Stoica makes his return to the ring from a nasty injury at the Superkombat WGP in Oradea, Romania. Stoica is the current reigning 95 kg Superkombat Champion, and is easily one of the most high-flying, dynamic, and exciting fighters in kickboxing today. Liverkick.com caught up with Bogdan to ask about his early life, his injury, and his upcoming fight in Oradea. 

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Liverkick: You are one of Superkombat's most well known stars, but fans in the West still don't know much about your beginnings. Can you tell us a little about where you grew up, and how you first got into kickboxing?

Bogdan Stoica: The first sport I ever was played was football. When I was six years old I began training with Steaua Buckarest (A Romanian Football Club), but when I was fourteen I started having health complication and was forced to quit. Two years later I decided to take up combat sports in my hometown of Bucharest. I used to visit my brother Andrei whenever he practiced judo, and that's what got me interested. I began with Wushu, and then became a professional fighter when I turned eighteen. The first time I fought for Local Kombat was in 2010. 

LK: What is it like having a brother than also competes at a vey high level in kickboxing? 

BS: We spar against each other all the time. It gets very emotional in the ring, and it helps to have his encouragement. Whenever we spar we use a lot of power and technique, but I would never actually fight with him. 

LK: How do you feel about the development of kickboxing in Romania? Has it changed since you were young?

BS: It's grown much bigger in the last decade. It's great for Romanian kickboxers because it allows us to better help young athletes gain more experience. Superkombat President, Eduard Irimia, has done fantastic things here and worldwide. Kickboxing has become a product where it wasn't before. It's so popular that people recognize me on the streets. Most of them tell me about my amazing flying knees, and it makes me happy that someone appreciates my work. 

LK: Most people aware of your accident that occurred in July of 212. For those that don't, can you give us your account of what happened that day?

BS: I was driving my motorcycle down a boulevard, and a car driven by careless driver collided with me. I swerved and collapsed to the pavement. For a few minutes I was unconscious, and when I awoke I was being transported to the hospital. I was there for about a week. 

LK: What did the doctors say about the extent of your injuries?

BS: They told me if I was not an athelete I would have almost certainly have been dead. They were also extremely impressed with my ability to recover.

LK: You began training again in November of 2012. How was your rehabilitation? 

BS: I followed the advice of my doctors. I have not forced anything, and taken my time, although I would have liked to fight in the final Superkombat in December. I did everything slowly, and took my time to make sure I was 100% recovered. 

LK: Did your family want you to continue fighting after the accident?

BS: As you probably know, they were very concerned for my health. But they also knew that my life is this sport, and I wouldn't be able to live without it. They have supported me all the way. and have been with me ever since the accident. I can happily say that they will be there for my return fight on April 6 in the Superkombat Grand Prix in Oradea.

LK: Speaking of which, you're making your return fight against Romano Romasco of Italy. How do you feel about this fight? Is there anything about Romasco you feel you'll have to watch out for?

BS: I'm not worried about anything in particular. More importantly, I can't wait to be back in the ring again, trying to put on the most spectacular show I can. I'm well prepared and hungry to take a win. 

LK: Do you ever plan to drop down to 85 kg again?

BS: No, for the moment I want to be the best in the world at 95 kg. In the future I'd like to fill out and fight heavyweight. 

LK: Is there anything you'd like to say to your fans around the world?

BS: I want to apologize for my break, and I promise I've done my best in training. I would like to make up for it in Oradea by putting on a spectacular fight. I hope that everyone will be satisfied with my performance. Thank you for your support and Supuerkombat World Grand Prix on April 6, on Eurosport!

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Head on over to Superkombat.com for more information, and be sure to catch the first installment of the Superkombat WGP on April 6. 

 

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LiverKick Talks to Jarrell Miller Post-Fight: 'Every Fighter Has to Pay Their Dues'

MillerFor a fighter who was just involved in one of the biggest and most prestigious Kickboxing tournaments that the world has known and to lose a fight that many believe that he handily won, Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller is sure handling it better than most fighters in his situation would. Many look at Miller when he’s in fight-selling mode and is talking a good deal of trash, hyping up his fights and rush to conclusions that he is some uneducated punk who runs his mouth, but in fact, the opposite is true as Miller might be outspoken, but comes across as personable, intelligent and very mature for a fighter his age.

LiverKick.com caught up with Jarrell Miller in Croatia after his fight where he was doing his best to unwind and relax after his fight with Mirko Cro Cop and he seemed calm, cool and in better spirits than most in his situation would be.

“I mean, it feels awesome to get to the Final 8,” he told us this afternoon in regards to being in the K-1 World Grand Prix Final 8. “Could have probably been a Finalist, but you know, you fight the superhero in his hometown,” he shakes his head. “The fans have spoken and they say that it was a hometown robbery and that I won it. You know, it is what it is, every fighter has to pay their dues and I’m paying my dues right now.”

Jarrell is indeed paying his dues, but makes no secret that his main goal is to be the Heavyweight Champion of the World in Boxing; “Right now my focus is on Boxing, but if an opportunity comes along and my team feels that it is beneficial to us, then maybe, maybe I’ll step back in a Kickboxing ring,” he adds about his possible future in Kickboxing. “But for right now I’m gonna take a few weeks off, get my mind right and get back to training.”

He had stated in an interview leading up to the fight that he understood that he had to knock Cro Cop out to get the win in Cro Cop’s hometown, but even though he controller most of the fight and landed the most shots, he was far from shocked when the decision was announced.

“Yeah, you know, I was surprised that they still announced it, but I knew it was gonna happen,” he shakes his head and smiles. “If you saw my expression right after the fight, you could see that I was thinking that they were gonna give it to him. You know, I take it for what it is, I mean, what can I say? I’m undefeated still, point blank, period and everybody knows that. Ain’t nobody beaten Big Baby.”

Many forget that Miller is still a young fighter and this was arguably the biggest stage and most famous opponent that he has faced in any sport, which had to bolster his confidence, regardless of the decision. “Listen, from the time that I was sparring with the Klitschko’s, and sparring and fighting are two different things,” he stops to clarify. “But you are absolutely correct because the pressure is on, but yeah it was a boost of confidence. It also let the fans see what happens when you fight in another’s hometown. I’m glad that they were able to see this and I appreciate their support and I hope to fight out here again.”

As for the prospect of a rematch with Cro Cop? Let’s just say that Miller would have fought him right then and there if he could.

“Hell yeah I’d take it. Listen, I’d take it ASAP, I’d take it right now, but um, you know,” he slows down, reflecting for a moment. “God has a plan for everybody and I’m just happy that I don’t have any injuries. I have a little lump on my head from when he hit me with a headbutt. He might have landed one good left hook or right hook, but I mean, I’m good, man, I’m blessed, man. I’m here with a bunch of great fighters; Melvin Manhoef, Zabit Samedov, Ismael Londt. I mean, this is a great atmosphere. I can say that I did it and now it’s time to do something else and you know what? I appreciate everybody out there; the fans, the press for being here and seeing all of the hard work that I put into this. For a Boxer to come back to their game and still kick their butt in it?” He laughs, shaking his head, before finishing. “And I appreciate LiverKick.com for putting this out there. Peace!”

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Eddie Walker: The Working Man Heading Into GLORY 5 London

Eddie Walker (C) Ben Classen/GLORYEddie Walker is a name that has been popping up more and more over the past few years, first in relation with K-1’s resurgence here in the United States, which equated to nothing but false starts for him. Finally Eddie Walker got his shot at the big time when Lion Fight called him up and offered him the fight with Joe Schilling. Schilling is one of the bigger names here in the United States muay thai scene and it was a fight that Walker had been looking to take for a while. The talk was that Eddie was out of his league, that he didn’t stand a chance, and it was no doubt a rough fight for him, until he knocked Joe out.

That set the scene for Walker signing with Glory and appearing in one of their Road to GLORY USA events, fighting in a one-night tournament with himself and Mike Lemaire as the big names. It was fate that evening as Walker cruised through the first few rounds of the tournament before the big main event between Lemaire and Walker went down, a tough fight between two of the better fighters at 187lbs in America with Lemaire walking away with the victory but Walker impressing Glory officials. It turns out that Steve Wakeling didn’t have an opponent for GLORY 5 London after Schilling and Marcus fell through, so he gladly accepted.

“I’m glad to be involved with Glory,” he stated while walking home from his day job as a manager at a recycling plant. “I guess that I impressed Cor and them with my last fight, so they offered me this fight and I was glad to take it.”

Walker divides his time between two careers and a family life, something that not many fighters have to do anymore, but Kickboxing and Muay Thai don’t pay like MMA does, which leaves him working a fulltime job, the same job that he has worked at for 13 years now. His schedule is grueling, to say the least, with him waking up at 4am each day to get in an early morning workout before he heads to work, gets out of work at 3pm and heads home to take care of his kids before his wife comes home. Then after his wife comes home it is straight to the gym where Walker works on honing his skills and preparing for his next fight before it is back home for dinner and rest before starting it all over again.

“It’s exhausting,” he laughed after explaining his day-to-day. “Muay Thai and Kickboxing just don’t pay enough for me to do this full time. MMA might pay that much, but I just don’t have the time to dedicate to the training to feel prepared for MMA right now. So yeah, for now I’m sticking with the job.”

If he were younger and had less responsibilities he might be able to do more in the way of training, but with a family to support he knows that he has to take the hard road. It doesn’t stop him from noticing how younger guys don’t understand what they have, though. “Man, I see these 19, 20 year old kids and they don’t work a fulltime job, they don’t have a family and they half-ass it in the gym. They show up for their fights and they are all out of shape and they look terrible. You gotta put in the work to be a fighter and most aren’t willing to do that.”

Walker's Knockout WallsFamily plays an important role in Walker’s life, as much as he loves fighting and would love to do it fulltime, he understands how important they are and that they come first for him. His wife, Ashley, plays a vital role in his fighting career as well. “My wife is a graphic designer,” he explained. “So she had this idea to take some photos from all of my knockouts and blow them up and hang them up around the house. So I have these ‘Knockout Walls’ all around, it’s kind of cool. She does a lot for me, my marketing and PR, she designed my website, too.”

When asked if he’d like to add Wakeling to his wall, he seemed happy at that prospect. “Oh absolutely, that would be great. Steve’s a great guy, though. I have nothing bad to say about him. I know that there is some promotional video floating around of me saying that I’m gonna knock him out and all of that, but I don’t like trash talk. This is a professional sport and I’m not here to do that crap.”

I was quick to point out that his previous opponent, Joe Schilling, is well known for his trash talk, which seemed like a sore subject for him, as was a rematch. “You know, I respect the guy. The way that fight even started was on Facebook. I made a post asking if I should watch the fight between Marcus and Schilling, two guys that I wanted to fight, or the fight between Tate and Sahak, two guys that I’m friends with. Well, Joe and I were Facebook friends at the time and he made a comment telling me to keep dreaming and whatever. So, you know [Andrew] Tate, right? Well, he and Joe went at it on there and it turned into this big thing.

Eddie Walker/Joe Schilling (C) Scott Hirano/MuayThaiAuthority.com“I just don’t like that trash talk stuff, we’re not in middle school anymore. We are professional fighters in a professional sport, there is no room for that. I found out that he had talked some trash on my wife as well, which you just don’t do. You don’t do that. I didn’t find that out until after the fight, either. I don’t want her to have to deal with that.”

So Walker goes into his fight with Steve Wakeling with a lot of respect for him and his skills as well as everyone else on the card. “Man, so many guys are fighting that I’m not sure that I’ll even show up on anyone’s radar for this fight. Even when I fought Schilling it was an arena full of Schilling fans or people asking me if I was the guy that was fighting Schilling. There are a ton of names on this card, I’ll just get lost in it,” he joked after I ran through the list of names on the card.

Even with his busy schedule, though, he still tries to make time for having some fun, or else he might go crazy from stress. The other day he posted a photo of him holding the new God of War game for PS3, which he laughed about. “That is my game, man. I don’t play a lot of games or anything, in fact, the last game that I played was the last God of War. But man, that is my game, I love them. I had to pick it up right away. Even then, I only got to play for like an hour last night after the kids went to bed, when my wife was just staring at me I knew that I had to stop.”

So while Eddie Walker might not have finished God of War: Ascension before his fight with Steve Wakeling at GLORY 5 London, let’s hope that he has the time after the fight to just sit back and relax for a while. On March 23rd Eddie Walker will meet Steve Wakeling in London on a stacked card headlined by Remy Bonjasky vs. Tyrone Spong.

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Kevin Ross Talks About Lion Fight 9 With LiverKick

Kevin Ross (C) Galen OkazakiThe ability to overcome adversity is what can make or break a fighter and take them from being just a fighter to a legend. In the case of American Muay Thai fighter Kevin Ross, the adversity has never been his skill, abilities or drive, but instead an ACL injury that he suffered last year. He spent months rehabbing it after surgery and everything was built up for his comeback fight this January at Lion Fight 8. We spoke with Kevin back then about his comeback trail as well as the details of what he goes through in his personal life, what actually makes Kevin Ross tick and we were all treated to seeing Kevin’s successful comeback against Chris Kwiatowski.

It was the first step of many for Ross after coming back from an injury that would have stopped most fighters in the prime of their career and this Friday, live on AXS TV, Ross looks to once again enter the ring and take on a very game opponent in the UK’s Bernie Mendietta. Part of his last fight was not knowing exactly what Chris would bring to the table, and in the case of Mendietta he expects the same.

“I think that I know less about him than I did Chris,” he joked. “I’ve just really seen clips at this point, where with Chris I had at least seen a full fight or two. I know that he’s a tough guy, though, I know that he likes to brawl, so I know what I’m in for.”

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