- K-1 Global’s Ned Kuruc Discusses the Future of K-1
- K-1 Global Announces Expansion in Romania and Azerbaijan
- K-1 Announces TopBetta as Official Gaming Partner for K-1 World MAX 2013 Final 16
- K-1 Signs Long-term Deals with Fighters David Calvo and Miodrag Olar
- Event Card
- Thai Airways International and K-1 Partner to Deliver Free Live Stream of K-1 World MAX 2013 Final 16 with Epicentre.tv
- K-1 Announces K-1 World MAX 2013 Final 16 Fight Draws
- Group Rates Available for Hotel Amic Horizonte in Mallorca for K-1 World MAX 2013 Final 16
- Final List of Participants for K-1 World MAX 2013 Final 16 Revealed
- K-1 Gym Tokyo is Ready to Train Everyone, From Kids to Pros
K-1 MAX Qualifiers in Calgary: Meet the Fighters
- Updated: June 4, 2013
On June 8th in Calgary four of the best up-and-coming stars in North America will vie for a two spots in the coveted K-1 World MAX Final 16. The K-1 World MAX tournament has a rich history now, with its champions being some of the best fighters in the world. We’ve seen North American fighters participate in the past, but never have we seen a fighter from North America make it deep into the tournament. This year could be different, though, as on June 8th Canadian Mukai Maromo takes on American Joey Pagliuso and Canadian star Shane Campbell takes on America’s Justin Greskiewicz. Two of them will move on to represent their country in the K-1 World MAX tournament.
For those who are unfamiliar with them, here is your chance to get to know them a bit better.
Home: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Q: How does it feel to fight Justin Greskiewicz for a third time now?
A: It’s a joy to fight Justin for the third time. Any other fighter and I would be more aggressive to the thought of winning our personal 2 out of 3, but Justin however is a cool dude that shares the same passion for muay thai as me and puts on a show every time he is in the ring. With both of us as showman, this is gonna be a fight that I wish that I could watch.
Q: You’ve become one of the more successful fighters in Kickboxing and Muay Thai to come out of Canada over the past few years, but there are more and more. Why do you think that Canada has been so good for Kickboxing and Muay Thai?
A: Canada has been a great producer of fighters because of gyms/groups of athletes that share the same passion, whatever the sport may be. I’m not sure how we got so lucky to have 100′s of great groups/communities across Canada but I’m also not gonna ask why the sky is blue and not orange.
Q: You’ve fought some really well-respected names from around the world and in some well-respected promotions, how does it feel to finally have a shot at fighting under the K-1 banner?
A: It’s a dream come true to fight for K-1! K-1 was the dream since my 19th birthday, the night I won my first title. The legends became my heroes and professors. I studied the likes of Buakaw, Souwer, Kyshenko, Masato, Petrosyan for hours every night.
Q: You’ve fought in Canada, America, The Netherlands, China, Thailand and Belarus, is there anywhere that you haven’t fought that you’d like to? Where do you prefer to fight?
A: I don’t prefer to fight anywhere, but here is a short wish list; Cali, Vegas, Spain, Amsterdam, Vancouver, Toronto.
Home: Riverside, California, USA
Q: You actually have a background in Karate, which makes your muay thai fights a bit different than the rest. Do you feel like your style is better suited for K-1 rules, where Karate was one of the main influences?
A: Yes. K-1 style is very fast so I think it gives me an advantage with finding opening in my opponent. When I fight muay thai you have 5 round to create openings, but I’ve been doing karate since I was 4 years old, so learn to hit with getting hit back.
Q: Speaking of your Karate background, your family is known throughout your area for Karate, because you bring that with you to the ring, do you feel like you are representing your family when you fight?
A: For sure, I always represent my family and USKO’s legacy.
Q: You actually fought for K-1 last year, scoring an impressive knockout over Ben Yelle, this time around you have a chance to qualify for the K-1 World MAX tournament, do you feel like now is your time?
A: Yes, I have been watching K-1 since the 90′s and now I finally get my shot! I’m training harder than ever, more mentally focused, I’m ready!
Q: Your opponent has been focused on MMA recently, do you think that gives you an advantage when it comes to the fight?
A: I think K-1 and MMA are two different games, so when they train stopping takedowns I’m training my strikes and combos, my focus is in on finishing my opponent standing up.
Home: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Q: You primarily fight in MMA right now, what made you turn back to Kickboxing?
A: My current MMA record stands at 8W 4L but my Muay Thai record is at 21W 3L 11 KO, so I’m actually a more accomplished muay thai fighter to be honest with you, and currently I’m an active participant in both! I never left muay thai, its my original love as a fight sport and fighting in K-1 has always been a dream of mine and I’m very pleased that its finally becoming a reality!
Q: So you grew up in Zimbabwe, which is a long way from Canada, what was the transition like in moving from Africa to the United States and now Canada?
A: It was mind blowing to say the least. The immense culture shock I experienced on the initial move to the USA for university was unrivalled and really taught me about the diversity of the world we live in. I loved it! I’m always open to new things and experiencing as much out of life as I can so when the chance to transition to Canada presented itself I jumped at it.
Q: How does it feel to be fighting for a spot in the K-1 World MAX tournament, which has been one of the most prestigious Kickboxing tournaments of the past ten plus years?
A: It’s a very surreal feeling and an honor! When I dropped out of school and set my sights on becoming a professional fighter, K-1 was a major driving force behind that and to finally be able to do it, is definitely a dream come true.
Q: You say that Roy Jones, Jr. is one of your favorite athletes, what Kickboxers or Muay Thai fighters have inspired you?
A: Roy Jones is a personal favorite because of his charisma, drive and determination, he was an unrivaled mix of skill, talent and showmanship! On the muay thai side of things, the 3 biggest influences would have to be Ernesto Hoost, Danny Bill and Rayen Simson! Avid professionals with unrivaled skill sets!
Q: What do you think about your opponent Joey Pagliuso and the unique Karate style that he brings with him?
A: I think he and I make for a very exciting match up because I have a come forward, hard-hitting muay thai style, so be ready to watch sparks fly and dreams die in this one!!
Home: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Q: When it comes to American Muay Thai fighters I feel like you are one of the best-known fighters out there, now you get a chance to represent America in the K-1 World MAX tournament if you get past Shane, how does that feel?
A: Thanks, I feel like I’ve gained some notoriety as an American fighter, and I’ll always relish the opportunity to represent my country whenever I fight international opponents. Shane is a world class opponent and I am honored to represent my country when facing one of the top Canadian fighters. I take great pride in representing America, whether I should beat Shane or if he ends up coming out on top. It would certainly be an honor to get a chance to fight world class competition on a global scale through K-1
Q: Your primary focus is obviously Muay Thai, but this is your second time fighting for K-1, are you comfortable fighting under K-1 rules?
A: Of course. The rules are not vastly different and every ring experience helps. K-1 rules are very comfortable for me.
Q: If I’m not mistaken, you and Shane Campbell have met before with him walking away victorious, how does that play into this fight for you? Do you expect it to a vastly different fight?
A: You are mistaken. We actually have fought twice before. We each hold a victory over each other. Both times we met were as Amateurs, for North American titles. I won the USKBA title against him and he won the WMF title against me. It has been more than 5 years since our last meeting, lots of things have changed.
Q: I think the question on everyone’s mind is this; when did the purple hair start and is there a cool story behind it?
A: I used to have a Mohawk, but bailed on it when i started seeing way too many “tough guys” wearing them. That’s just not my style. So, I started dying my hair different colors. My first professional win was with purple hair. I won by knockout against Ray Cole. I felt like it was a turning point in my career, so I made the purple hair part of my persona. A promoter at a local show jokingly called me “the purple people eater” and the announcer played along. Now I’m stuck with it. It’s alright though, I don’t think there will be too many “tough guys” rolling around with purple hair any time soon. Plus, I think I look pretty sexy with it, no?
My camp, Cool Hearts Muay Thai’s slogan is “we fight sexy.” Because anyone can fight hard, but we fight sexy.