09-27-2007, 10:11 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
| | Remy Bonjasky interview (Sep 25, 2007)
BONJASKY INTERVIEW BY ADAM STEEL |
HOLLAND'S K-1 HEAVYWEIGHT Remy Bonjasky has revenge in mind on September 29 when he fights Stefan Leko in Seoul. The 2003/4 K-1 champion beat the German in their quarter-final last year but was unable to continue after taking two kicks to the groin. Bonjasky took time out from training to talk to ADAM STEEL about the match-up, his plans for the future and determination to end a run of bad luck.
How has preparation gone Remy?
BONJASKY: It's gone good. We've trained twice a day in the morning and afternoon and
I feel good and confident for September 29 against Leko.
The only thing I've done different is train with Mirko Cro Cop in Croatia but nothing changed.
I think the training was more for Cro Cop. We were just sparring but sparring like against any other top fighter.
I train with Gilbert Yvel at the Vos Gym, who is a great fighter also. The only difference is
that Mirko lost a little bit of his stand-up abilities but he is still a superstar in fighting.
But he lost some of his reaction and techniques, that's why me, Gilbert and my trainer Ivan Hippolyte were there ahead of his fight against
It was a benefit to me as well because we trained like it was a training
camp, just training, eating and sleeping.
We stayed there for a week and then came back and went again.
- You must be super-determined to beat Leko after what happened last year.
BONJASKY: Just hearing Leko's name is enough to motivate me because last year he did
some bad things.
The first kick between the legs I thought 'Hey, it can happen to anyone'.
But the second kick was clearly aiming at the same place, that's what I thought. I think
he did it deliberately.
When I got into the locker room I threw up and couldn't stand, it was
horrible - too much.
We went to the hospital to check it out because I still want to have some
kids! Luckily it was okay.
I felt so good in last year's final as well and when I was standing against Leko I
felt it wasn't going to last long.
Then I got the kick and it was like he took one of my dreams away.
I couldn't do anything about it but now I'm going to try again and September
29 is going to be a big nightmare for him.
Leko can expect to go two rounds tops because I'm not waiting for a
decision, not this time.
I didn't ask for him but K-1 said the fans want to see a real fight. Last
year we fought, then had to stop, go to the locker room and come back and
They want to see a normal fight and the fans know that I'm going to kick
his ass. You are going to see all of my jumping knees again.
What do you think of Leko?
BONJASKY: Leko always has a big mouth and I don't know why. I think he is arrogant -
we aren't friends and we've never been friends.
At first he was okay, he was a normal guy, but when he has to fight you he
starts getting arrogant.
I don't know why because he has been in K-1 for eight, 10 years now and I
don't think he has ever made it to the second round of the final, so why
When people win something I can understand it when they get arrogant - I
won't get arrogant but I can understand it.
He has never won the Grand Prix, only a couple of small tournaments so why
get arrogant? It's not necessary.
I've fought a couple of times against Leko. I fought him in Las Vegas when
I was pretty new in K-1 and I lost the fight by a couple of points.
Then I fought him again last year and I think he is a good fighter.
But he isn't good enough to go all the way. He only has a spinning heel
kick and a couple of punches, that's it.
I wasn't impressed by his win over Mighty Mo either because if you don't get hit
and you know how to make points, anybody can beat Mighty Mo as long as you
don't get hit by his right hand.
I'm determined to beat him but I won't fight angry and I don't fight angry because you don't breathe and
you lose all of your techniques.
I won't kick him in the groin either! But I'm very confident, I feel great and we are training real hard together
The last two years have been tough for you from a personal point of view. You must think you are due a change of luck?
BONJASKY: It hasn't been easy. Together with my divorce, splitting
from my trainer Andre Mannaart and changing gym, my mother Margaritha died
on June 6.
It's been tough, the toughest time of my life until now. I think losing
your mother is the worst thing that can happen besides losing a kid.
A couple of times after my divorce and not seeing my son I thought I
couldn't get any lower.
That's when you really hit rock bottom and really see who your friends are.
When you win something, everyone rings you, inviting you out for something to eat, asking if they can come and see you and hold
the trophy, blah, blah, blah.
But when you've got a bad period or a hard time they never call - then you
can see who your friends are.
I've learned a lot though. A lot of people that I used to go out with or
talk to we don't talk that much any more. When you really see who your
friends are you need to send all of those other guys away.
Where did it all go wrong?
BONJASKY: Everything happened at once and maybe it was my own fault. There was a moment
where everything was going well and on the up.
And I was thinking that there must be a moment when everything will go
wrong and then it happened.
It was like asking for it. It was like a house that fell in, it was
It passed my mind a couple of times to quit because I wasn't motivated.
I still did my fights but I think you can see that it wasn't the
Remy in the 2003 and 2004 finals.
At that time I was flying all over the ring but after that you could see I
wasn't using that technique any more.
But now everything is okay. When you go to another gym you have to start
all over, get used to the people and how they do things.
Because every trainer and gym has their own style. You have to feel at home
before you get comfortable and it took some time, maybe a year.
I've been training now for a year with Ivan and now I feel comfortable and
everything is okay.
It's made me appreciate what I have and I've learned not to take things
Like sometimes when you see someone talking bad about you in a magazine I
used to get angry but now I just leave it, I don't take it personally.
How confident are you about regaining the K-1 title this year?
BONJASKY: I've looked at a lot of videos and I really feel like I can fight
and beat anyone.
The last two years I had a rough time but now I'm confident and I feel
good again so we can start beating people up again.
How can Semmy Schilt be beaten?
BONJASKY: Sem is not invincible. He is a very good fighter with an
If he was 10cm shorter I don't think he would be able to beat me, Peter
Aerts and Ernesto Hoost and the other guys.
I think his length is his biggest problem and his weight. He is 130, 135kg
and over two metres tall.
That's the biggest problem to overcome but I think you can overcome that by
putting on a lot of pressure and stepping back and moving around.
When you step in, make a few points like a hit and run strategy I think you
Don't get too close to him because he will use the knee and if you step
away far enough he will hit you with the front kick.
It's not like there is a big difference in power between him and everyone
else because I know Ray Sefo hits a lot harder.
But it's the sting, he has an accurate front kick and eventually it's like
making low kicks.
When you make three good low kicks you will start feeling them and after 10
It's the same thing. I think he can be stopped with low kicks, I'm sure
It doesn't matter how big you are or which discipline you've trained, a lot
of people underestimate low kicks and they are a very effective thing to
How big a threat is Badr Hari?
BONJASKY: He is a talented fighter but I could see in his second fight
against Ruslan Karaev if you put a lot of pressure on him it doesn't look like he
has got a big fighter's heart.
I can see when you put a lot of pressure on him he breaks down.
He has also been knocked down a lot in his career - not that he's stayed down but
he has been down a lot and I don't think it's a good thing.
Maybe he is still afraid a little because his jaw was broken by Peter
I was supposed to fight him in Hong Kong but it was too soon after my mum
They asked me to fight against Peter Aerts on June 23 as well and I said yes but
then my mum died and I cancelled. I was still getting my head together.
You've spoken recently about a move into MMA.
BONJASKY: I've got the upcoming three fights left with K-1 and my contract finishes in December.
If K-1 say they don't need me any more - not that I think that - then I
will have to start from the bottom again as an MMA fighter.
I've trained for a couple of months on ground techniques but it's
completely different to stand-up.
You use your power in a different way and it's completely different. Just
because someone is good at tennis it doesn't make them a good badminton
It looks the same but it's not and it's the same thing with fighting
stand-up and on the ground.
It's both fighting but it's two different things. I can submit people if
they let me, but against the guys who can really grapple it's going to be
I would try to keep a fight standing and then when it goes to the ground
just neutralise it and try and get up again.
The possibility is there to go to the UFC. After my contract is finished I
can do whatever I want, so we will see.
Finally, you made TV news in Holland this summer but it wasn't for kickboxing!
BONJASKY: Some English people came to Holland to do bad things I think. They shot me
in the back with a seven-inch dart behind Central Station in Amsterdam.
I was walking to a boat party with a friend of mine around midnight at the time.
I pulled the dart out and it was bleeding. I chased them running but they
were in a car and drove off.
Then I stopped a taxi and went after them and called the cops and they came
and arrested them.
They had been shooting people for weeks and the police had been trying to
get them but couldn't.
It was just instinct when I went after them, I wasn't really thinking.
They were really dangerous guys. After that the police went to their house
and saw a lot of drugs, money and real pistols so I'm glad the cops caught them
and I didn't.
I got a medal for bravery from the police commissioner in Amsterdam and I was glad.
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