04-07-2008, 04:39 PM
Status: Judo Throws Arouse Me
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: New Jersey
| | Melvin Manhoef on Aerts, Remy, and more.
FAST, furious and explosive - Melvin Manhoef has vowed to leave fight fans on the edge of their seats when he collides with fellow Dutch titan Remy Bonjasky at the It's Showtime K-1 Holland event on April 26. |
Manhoef produced one of his career-best performances at the Amsterdam ArenA last June when he wiped out Ruslan Karaev inside a minute.
And he has vowed to go for broke again as he guns for revenge against Bonjasky - a replacement for knee injury victim Peter Aerts - in their bill-topper at the same venue.
Fightnewz.net met up with the 31-year-old MMA and kickboxing star at Mike's Gym in North Amsterdam.
FIGHTNEWZ.NET: Remy Bonjasky has stepped in to replace Peter Aerts, what do you think about your change of opponent?
MANHOEF: It's a shame that Peter couldn't fight because I was really looking forward to it and it would have been the biggest challenge of my career.
I have a lot of respect for him, he is a legend in the sport and three-times K-1 world champion.
I grew up watching him, we trained together at the Chakuriki Gym and he is a good guy. He always talks to us and is friendly when we are in Japan, he's a great guy.
But for me the respect would have gone when we were in the ring and I think the real winner of the fight would have been the audience.
But it's the same story with Remy. I fought my first heavyweight match against him and he beat me on points but it was in a period when there was a lot of personal things going on with me.
I've been wanting a rematch for years. Now I've got my chance and I think the crowd can expect a top fight and fireworks because I'll be going for the kill and he will be going for the kill.
I'm going to put everything on the line - I'm not going in the ring to get an autograph.
I'm getting better in a small period of time and I also want to fight some real good names.
When I fought in K-1 against Ray Sefo I had a little bit of unfortunate luck. I trained on a lot of things and it didn't work out.
Sefo's elbow caught me on the back of the head and my equilibrium went. But I trained for something and I didn't do it good, so it was my own fault.
The referee stopped it at the count of nine and I still wanted to fight, but I can't discuss the system with the judges.
FIGHTNEWZ.NET: You had a spectacular win against Karaev at the ArenA last year, I guess you would settle for that again!
MANHOEF: I would definitely settle for the same result again! The first time that I became Cage Rage world champion when I beat Fabio Piamonte in 45 seconds was one of my most satsifying fights.
Also against Karaev. But all my fights are memorable, whether they are wins or losses.
FIGHTNEWZ.NET: You've promised to put on a show for the crowd and you are one of the most exciting fighters in martial arts at the moment. How important is it for you to give the fans exciting fights?
MANHOEF: It's the most important thing for me. I can lose but if I fight a good fight and I lose, I don't mind.
I don't want to be scared of losing. I do it to win but I don't care, if I have to fight I'm going to fight.
Even when the crowd is full and there are big names on the show, I want the fans to come away and say: 'Did you see that little black guy? Did you see his fight? Oh man, it was awesome!'
For me that's the most important thing because it's an appreciation of your work.
At the end of the day, you have to perform for the crowd and fight hard. Show them what you’ve got.
I like it when people cheer and shout for me and lose their minds when they see me fight.
I want to conquer their hearts when I’m fighting, this is my goal. I want to touch them in the heart, this is very important for me.
In every fight I have to go for it. Sometimes my trainer Mike Passenier says to me I have to be more relaxed and think a little bit but I like to make the fans very proud.
FIGHTNEWZ.NET: Apart from Bonjasky, what is your fight schedule for this year?
MANHOEF: On May 11 I'm going to fight a single match in the DREAM light heavyweight tournament and on May 17 I will maybe fight in England.
FIGHTNEWZ.NET: Things are going well for you now but they haven't always run as smoothly in the past.
MANHOEF: I was a bit of a bad boy. I don't know why I went down that road, but some things happen in life.
Things like that show you that there is a different way to go. The turning point was when I fought Remy Bonjasky and I lost the fight.
I had been in prison and I saw on TV Remy becoming the K-1 champion.
I was thinking, 'What the fuck, I've fought this guy and I gave him a good fight!'
I thought 'Shit, there is more in life than doing bad things'.
At that moment I thought that maybe I had to go for it. In 2004 I came out of prison and for the last three years I've been on the straight and narrow, I haven't done anything - only training hard and fighting hard.
All that stuff is part of my life, that's why they call me the Mike Tyson of Holland, everybody knows the story. But it's the past and the future is different.
That was my turning point and then I really started training.
After the fight with Remy I kept fighting every week, every month. Even if I got knocked out it was: 'Come on, keep on going'.
Now I stay in the gym, I don't go out and I don't want to go out.
I want to be left alone and train hard with my trainer Mike Passenier.
Because my trainer and everybody around me keep me on the right path, so that's very important for me.
FIGHTNEWZ.NET: How much happier are you now?
MANHOEF: I think it was necessary for me that I've been in prison because now I can see all of the bad things that I've turned around.
Now all the kids and everybody I train they see me as an example and I try and be a role model.
I can tell them about my experiences and encourage them to go to the gym and train, don't do bad things.
This is what I can do now and that is why it's very important to me to tell kids to be focused, keep a goal in your mind and I feel happy when I'm trying to keep kids and other people on the right path.
FIGHTNEWZ.NET: How much did you enjoy your time with Cage Rage? You won all your fights there, including the light heavyweight title, and had that epic battle with Evangelista 'Cyborg' Santos.
MANHOEF: I liked Cage Rage very much, I liked the atmosphere and everything around it. It also built me up as a fighter.
That's why I want to fight in London again, I've got a lot to thank Cage Rage for. To fight against Cyborg also helped me a lot.
The Pride people were watching Cyborg and the K-1 people were watching me, it was very interesting.
K-1 Hero's were busy with the contract with me already, but that fight pulled them over the line.
I would say it was my most memorable fight, it was a great fight because we went really deep.
Two weeks before the fight I broke my toe, so it was real hard for me to train and my gas was a little bit so-so.
I only fought on heart, but I had a few memorable fights.
The last fight against Akiyama in the Hero's middleweight Grand Prix was also very memorable because it was the final.
And the fight against Karaev everybody thought I was going to lose and I knocked him out.
I've got a few things, but every win in my career is for me really special.
FIGHTNEWZ.NET: You were a footballer before you were a fighter though?
MANHOEF: Two friends of mine went to AZ Alkmaar and said to them that they should take a look at me. They did and they took me on.
I was training hard trying to be a pro in the selection team but I didn't make the final cut.
I was a striker. I know a lot of guys in football. I didn't play in the highest division. The Eerste Divisie always - DCG. Not very famous clubs.
But when I lived in Rotterdam before I was playing soccer at Feyenoord. That was when I was 10 years old, around then.
I played with Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, who was at Middlesbrough and Chelsea. I also know Stefano Seedorf.
FIGHTNEWZ.NET: How did you go from football to fighting?
MANHOEF: Because my brother Moreno was fighting already and my uncle also had a big name in Rotterdam. I always went to watch but I didn't want to fight.
I broke my ankle and then I didn't get a contract and that's why I stopped playing football.
Then I went to another club and one time I went to watch my brother and said:' I'm going to come and do a little bit of boxing with you'.
I did it before with my uncle but not serious, it was heavy for me.
At that moment I liked it very much and after three months, I was fighting. I was 18, 19 at the time, I started late.
FIGHTNEWZ.NET: What was it like getting punched in the face for the first time compared to a tackle in football?
MANHOEF: It was different! The first time I was excited and was nervous everywhere in my body. I didn't feel anything.
I won my first fight in Den Bosch on points in thai boxing.
I was only doing thai boxing and after a while my second trainer said: 'You have to do something with MMA'.
At the time in Holland it was the Rings rules. I won my first fight in that against Jordy Jonkers and after that I didn't do it anymore.
But now in the last few years I'm getting the hang of it now!
FIGHTNEWZ.NET: What is your goal in your career?
MANHOEF: I have to be a Hero's champion or DREAM champion.
Two years ago I failed against Akiyama so I want to have a title.
Maybe a K-1 100 kilos title, but now it's with my friend Badr Hari and I would never fight him, we are good friends.
But when he doesn't have it any more - and he is getting heavier - then I'll go for it.
It's also a dream for me and in the next five, six years I want to keep on fighting and want people to remember me as a great fighter.
It's also a possibility to fight Mirko Cro Cop in DREAM but I'm too light now. I fight at 85 kilos and they are 100 something.
If you fight a heavy guy once it's no problem, but every time is too much.
If I keep going up to 95 kilos and drop down again, it's not good for my body.
FIGHTNEWZ.NET: What is your current training regime?
MANHOEF: Three times a day. In the morning from 8am I do running and sprints and then at 9am I do power lifting.
Normally after that I do a bit of training on the ground, then go home, sleep and eat.
I come back at 3pm and do something with Mike alone, go home sleep and come back at 7pm and do wrestling and at 8pm
do thai boxing.
But now I'm not doing this routine because I've got a kickboxing fight coming up and I do a little bit less MMA.
The cardio for MMA is different to kickboxing. You can rest on the ground with MMA, in the side mount or the mount and guard.
But when you have a stand-up fight it's difficult to rest.
If you rest you have to take punches and kicks.
FIGHTNEWZ.NET: Which discipline do you prefer, MMA or kickboxing?
MANHOEF: I like both disciplines. I've got a contract with K-1 for four, five fights.
I've got two kickboxing fights this year with K-1 and four MMA fights.
I don't know the schedule, my manager tells me when I have to fight and I say: 'Okay, no problem'.
FIGHTNEWZ.NET: How good do you think your team-mate Badr Hari can be?
MANHOEF: I think he is going to be the best because he is very young, he is not mature yet. He is getting his man power maybe over the next two or three years and then people are going to have a real problem with him.
He is going to be unstoppable because he is so young and he is already at the highest level.
He is learning a lot, training very hard and getting better and better.
FIGTNEWZ.NET: How well do you think Tyrone Spong will do as a heavyweight in K-1?
MANHOEF: He is the same, he is also very young so he is going to be good, but he must come up slowly.
He is having a heavy fight against Azem Maksutaj in the ArenA.
Maksutaj is a tough guy, I knocked him out in the second round in Italy. Nobody knows that but I have it on tape!
I was 80kg or something like that. I knocked him out with a left hook.
He was the favourite on points. I let him do his thing in the first round and I saw a small space when he was finishing.
He dropped his hands and I banged him and dropped him.
FIGHTNEWZ.NET: How happy are you with your ground work at the moment?
MANHOEF: It's getting better. I don't shout about it. It's not perfect yet and when it's not perfect you better keep your mouth shut! I've got my two feet on the ground.
FIGHTNEWZ.NET: What is the hardest you've been hit?
MANHOEF: Samir Bennazouz in a thai boxing match hit me the hardest. But it was too quick for me, I’d only fought for one year and then I fought him.
Maksutaj also hit hard, there were a few guys who hit hard but I can’t remember anyone who hit so hard that I couldn’t handle it.
FIGHTNEWZ.NET: You had a couple of great MMA fights against your countryman Bob Schrijber.
MANHOEF: Bob was my first experience of MMA being hit on the ground. It was like a big wake-up call because Bob was the man.
I was only kickboxing and I wasn’t so into the MMA. But the first time when I fought Bob I was beating him up and after a while I tripped and he came to the side mount and then to the mount and I didn’t know how to defend well at that time and he knocked the hell out of me!
Bob had good fights against a lot of tough people.
FIGHTNEWZ.NET: You've also had some big wins against the British guys Paul Cahoon and Ian Freeman, who are fighting each other soon in Cage Rage.
MANHOEF: I broke my hand in five places against Paul Cahoon, he is tough.
Ian is a good name and for me he is a tough fighter, he was a monster in some of his fights and it was an honour to fight him.
He earned his stripes in his career and I was very glad to fight him and very glad to win the fight.
I was surprised to finish it so quickly because I didn’t expect it. But he rushed into me and I saw it and caught him with my left hook, which is very quick and dangerous.
I’ve got respect for him and Mark Epstein, I like the guy. I like the English mentality.
They can fight very hard, break everything in your face and your body and say afterwards: ‘Hey, let’s take a drink, mate.’
That’s what I like. The English fans are also very good. They are very supportive - win or lose they always get behind you.
That's why I want to fight in London one more time.
FIGHTNEWZ.NET: How do you relax when you're not training?
MANHOEF: I organise a lot of events, I'm busy with K-1 events for kids in Holland - Kickbox Kids Championship.
They are signing themselves up, they pay 50 euro and I have got a big competition for them and after a while from 100, 150 fighters there will be a last 16 and a final eight tournament.
Guys aged eight and nine to 15, just like the K-1 and the winner from it gets 2,500 euros. It's this year.
But the money they can't use, it goes to their savings bank for when they have to study or do their drivers' licence or something.
I want to motivate the kids so that they don't make the same mistakes that I made. Don't be on the streets, have a goal, this is very important.
I turned my life around. I don't want people to judge me on what I did, people can judge me on what I'm doing now.
All that is in the past and I don't live there, I'm living in the future.
Of course I regret it but it made me who I am now. I've got a group of kids now who are problem kids and I can talk with them because I'm their role model and they believe me, so they want to listen to what I've got to say.
What I can say to them is go to school, do everything you have to do because fighting is just like living, you have ups and downs.
It's tough in the ring but you have to go on. When it's tough in life you have to go on.
When you have a disappointment in the ring or something you have to go on and in life it's the same.
I can teach them a lot of things. Everything I do and in the gym is very enjoyable, but what I get the most satisfaction out of is being busy with kids.
If you want to change the future you have to start with the kids.
Source - K-1: MELVIN MANHOEF
The article is very weirdly spaced, but a good read none the less.
Remy will pull through and take him out again. War Remy
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