My first Kickboxing Fight

My first kickboxing fight 1

In January this year, I had my first kickboxing fight. It took place at a nightclub, named 22 24, which is located in the East of the Netherlands. It was a K-1 rules bout, against a guy who trained 10 kilometers away from my hometown, at a gym with a familiar name to me. I trained at his gym in the past. His trainer was one of the first opponents of legendary Dutch stylist, Ernesto Hoost. With this article I want to share the road towards my first fight and the experience itself.

Karate Kid, Kickboxer, Best of the Best and Bloodsport

I started to love kickboxing when I was about 4 years old. I watched movies such as: Kickboxer (1989) with Jean Claude van Damme, Karate Kid (1984), Best of the Best (1989) and Bloodsport (1988). I don’t know why, but since I saw them, I was hooked. When I was 5 years old, I immediately signed up at the closest Karate gym. I continued to practice Kyokushin Karate until the age of 12. Right before I got the brown belt, I decided to start with football (soccer). Which wasn’t one of the best decisions of my life… I just punched and kicked everybody out of the field. I wasn’t the best football player, but I always wanted to win and had a good mentality, that’s about it pretty much. All my friends played football at that time, so it was fun for me anyway. For some reason I decided to quit football after 4 years, to pursue a career in smoking weed and drinking lots of beer, which off course brought me nothing. Luckily, it didn’t took that long before I realized it myself.

Meanwhile, I started to follow K-1 in my free time. Fighters like, Peter Aerts, Masato Kobayashi, Remy Bonjasky, Jerome le BannerBuakaw Banchamek, Ernesto Hoost, Badr Hari, Gokhan Saki and Andy Souwer inspired me to love kickboxing again. The love for the game was officially back around the year 2004, when I started to follow K-1 pretty intensively. I eventually started to train at 5 different kickboxing gyms between the years 2004 and 2015. But, with intermissions and no longer than 2 months at each gym. School, work and mentality where in my way of making my first fight. Which means, training 4 to 5 times a week.

Kickboxingplanet.com

Between 2005 and 2015 I studied a lot. Around that same time I started with Kickboxingplanet.com (which in my view, got somewhat out of hand haha). The website was actually made out of frustration, because I just didn’t had the time to train. I tried to stay busy with kickboxing, by editing videos, updating the website, and training at home. I tried to learn from all the online boxing coaches YouTube has to offer. With plenty of knowledge about kicking (from my Karate time), I started to train myself again. I learned some Dutch style combinations, did some boxing drills on the heavy-bag and tried to get a little more flexible again. Some of my friends where interested to, and decided to train with me once in a while.

 

 

Training

At that moment, I only did home workouts and some weight training, but that’s about it. I also smoked, maybe 4 to 5 cigarettes a day. I wasn’t addicted anymore, but I just liked to smoke a cigarette once in a while. At that time I just broke up with my girlfriend. She always told me I created non existing barriers for the things I really wanted to achieve. After the relationship I suddenly thought: “maybe she was right, fuck it… just do it man.”

Shit started to get serious, when I decided to go to a local gym for a one hour bag training session. I almost died that evening and I immediately stopped with smoking. My conditioning was bad, maybe even worse than Bob Sapp’s at that very moment haha. But it was a good wake up call for myself, because from that point on, I started with running for the first time in my life.

In the summer of 2015, I decided to go to London for 6 days. My plan was, to learn some Muay Thai techniques, to eventually apply them into my kickboxing arsenal at home. At day one, I got my ass kicked so bad, that I could only do 3 training sessions in 6 days haha. From that point on, I realized that I still had lots to learn. Nevertheless I picked up some new things about clinching and sweeping, which was pretty cool. In Holland I only trained at typical Dutch Style gyms, so I never really learned any Muay Thai techniques. After the holidays I got a new job and my life was pretty stable at that moment. It was the perfect time for me to focus on that one fight I always wanted to do. It has always been a dream of mine to at least do one fight in my life, even if it’s just for the experience itself. Next to that, I’ve always been told by different coaches that I should do something with the talent I had.

 

 

Two months later I trained 3 times a week at the gym. I noticed my body was getting used to the amount of training. After some months I eventually trained 4 to 5 times a week. A bag training session on Monday, the advanced class training on Wednesday, the N, C, B and A fighters class on Thursday and the recreational class on Saturday. Most of the time I also did some stretching, shadow boxing, running and a heavy-bag session on Sunday. I also did weight lifting on the side, which was one of the stupidest ideas ever. 9 out of 10 times, my muscles where still soar when I had to train at the gym. Because of that, I couldn’t spar properly. Instead of weight lifting I tried to relax a lot more in between training sessions. 

The training schedule wasn’t easy… I often came home with bruises under my eye, on the bridge of the nose, or on my thighs. Especially after the Thursday training session. When I went to work next day, my boss laughed at me, he couldn’t understand why I did all of this to myself. Nevertheless he respected my choice to fight, by hanging a heavy bag in the middle of the office haha. My parents and some of my friends thought the same and even I thought now and then… Roy what the fuck are you doing to yourself. But the passion for the sport and the will to get better, made me go through with it. Eventually one of my coaches asked if I wanted to fight, my answer was yes of course. From that point on, I had only 4 weeks to prepare myself. In the last 2 weeks before the fight I got to know my opponents name.

My opponent was a guy who already had 2 fights. He trained 10 kilometers away from my hometown, at a gym with a familiar name to me. I trained at his gym in the past. His trainer was one of the first opponents of legendary Dutch stylist, Ernesto Hoost. The evening before the fight, I trained for the last time at home. At the attic, my private dojo where I trained myself for many hours over the past couple of years. I did some stretching, shadow boxing and I practiced some kicks. The “Brazilian High Kick” became one of my favorite kicks. I nicked this move from legendary Kyokushin K-1 fighter, Glaube Feitosa.

 

 

The Fight

After weeks of training it was finally fight day! I got to say, I was pretty done with all the training sessions… I just wanted to fight so I could finally enjoy some time of haha. I arrived at the club for the weigh ins and the doctors check up. I was pretty nervous because I had to loose quite some weight over the past couple of weeks. My fight was set for 74 kg’s and I wasn’t fully sure if I was able to make it. Normally I weigh around 77 kg. When I stepped on the scale I was pretty shocked, because I weigh in at 72,2 kg. Last time I saw that number, was probably 10 years ago. But at least, I made it! I heard there where other guys who had to dive into a sauna. Just to sweat the last kg’s of their bodies. Not very pleasant right before a fight.

After the weigh-ins I went to a restaurant, from that point I got 2 hours left before the fight started. After I finished my meal I went into the club to look around a little bit. The ring looked nice and I saw a lot of seats for the audience. Shit started to get real when people entered the arena. My mates walked in and I saw a first glimpse of my opponent. There was room for 350 people in the nightclub and the fighters where allowed to warm up on the second floor. We where even able to watch all the fights, because the room got glass walls with ring view, so that was pretty cool.

I started with my warm up right before the 30 min break of the event. After the break, there would be one more fight and then it was my turn to shine. When I was halfway, my family and friends downstairs started to worry. I was training way to intense in their opinion. they told me afterwards I almost did over 30 mins on the pads on full power and speed. I totally wasn’t aware of that. I did my warm up with a GLORY undercard fighter and when I worked on the pads, I even learned new stuff. So I was just very eager to train, it got a little out of control I guess.

When the time was there, I made my entrance. For me that was the moment adrenaline took the overhand already. I was so hyped, I just wanted to kill the guy. When the stare down ended I was fully focused and ready. Suddenly a referee started to talk to me… “you can’t wear that pants, it contains pockets. That’s not allowed”. So I needed to climb out of the ring to get a new short, while 350 people where waiting for the fight to happen haha. If my opponent didn’t already know it was my first fight, he sure did now.

 

 

Round 1

Round 1 started of exactly how I planned it. Just making sure he couldn’t get close to me by throwing a lot of jabs and front kicks. I wanted to score with sneaky low kicks in between. Eventually it was not a super exciting round for the audience but I did what I wanted to do. I knew my opponent had some good hands, so I just had to make sure he couldn’t get close. The plan worked perfectly, he punched a lot and probably got tired while I was completely ready for round 2.

Round 2

When the bell rang for the first time, I wanted to drink some water but I choked myself in it (so stupid). Because of that I couched all 30 seconds I got to recover myself. Not a very good start for round 2 but we kept going no matter what. The round started off and I could feel he was still in good conditioning. I felt he was able to get closer a lot more and because of that I decided to use more knees. It worked, eventually he walked into a knee pretty quick in the round and the ref stopped the fight for a moment. He thought it was a nut shot though, which wasn’t the case… So, unfortunately no points for me. In the middle of round 2 I felt totally exhausted. My conditioning looked extremely bad and from that point on I was literally surviving round 2. At the end of the round I walked into a right straight and I got an 8 count. I stood up pretty quick, but at the same moment, the bell sounded for the end of the round.

Round 3

When the round started, I knew I only had air left for 20 seconds, so I quickly made some points with low kicks. After 1 minute I was done already. Every punch was weak, there was no power left in me at all. He still looked pretty good. This was my opponents 3rd fight already while it was my 1st, I think I underestimated this a little bit. His conditioning was a lot better than mine, or my warm up session was way to long. Probably both played a factor in this fight. During the last round I got kicked in the nuts and I fell on the ground for 2 times. I just was to exhausted to continue, but I didn’t want to give up. At the end of round 3 I went down due to a right cross. I could see that one coming from miles, but somehow I decided to make a low kick again and walked straight into the punch. Towel got thrown by my coach, end of the fight. There where still few seconds left and I wanted to continue, but I fucked up anyway so I didn’t really care about the towel.  

When I walked to my corner I was extremely exhausted, I couldn’t even think about what happened. When I stood there for 2 minutes and the gloves got removed it started to sink in. A fucked up moment of course, nobody wants to experience this in their first fight. When the handshakes where done the disappointment went away slowly. The amount of respect between two fighters is one of the most beautiful aspects in this sport. It’s strange how you first want to kill your opponent in the ring, but afterwards you feel nothing but respect towards each other. When I walked out of the ring, I decided to drop my shit in the locker room and go down stairs to watch the rest of the fights. At that point I didn’t feel any pain what so ever, but when I woke up next morning, I couldn’t do anything. I was just a complete wreck.   

 

 

The day after

I was super disappointed about my performance and I couldn’t walk for maybe 6 days. Trying to sit on a toilet was a big task for me already, I couldn’t bend my left leg at all. For some reason I wasn’t allowed to be successful in my first fight. It almost seems that I need to get a huge setback, before I’m allowed to have success. A true reflection of life, at least that’s how I experience it. A positive aspect of the outcome was, that I started to focus on the weak aspects of my game, which helped me to improve. I know I’m a better fighter already, than I was when I stepped into the ring. Setbacks are the biggest lessons in life.

Few days later my opponent contacted me through Facebook to ask if I had some footage of the fight. I gave him the footage and we talked for maybe 30 mins like nothing ever happened. I was happy he told me, that he should’ve blocked more of my low kicks, which indicates that he was in pain as well haha. This also shows the mutual respect their is in kickboxing and amongst the fighters. Something you wouldn’t find in any other sport in the world.

If I’ve to sum up the whole experience, I’ve to say it was so much harder than I expected it to be. You really have to live like a true athlete in every possible way. Lot’s of training, healthy food and going to bed early are a must to be a kickboxer who wants to compete. Kickboxing really is a lifestyle. Next to all the training, I also had a full time job so I found it pretty intense to combine these two things together. But, at the end of the day I’m happy I did it.

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