Strikeforce and K-1 champion Alistair Overeem was recently in Poland for a seminar and was interviewed by Polish site BoxingNews.pl. Overeem is always ready for an interview, and this one touches on much of what you would expect, looking ahead at the Antonio Silva fight and the Strikeforce finals, his lack of interest in fighting Fedor these days. But then Overeem is asked what will come next for him after Strikeforce, and his answer is a pretty weird one:
The UFC or maybe boxing... I think [boxing] matches my personality. I'm always looking for a challenge... It'd be cool to go into boxing and beat a main guy there. I know if you give me good preparation, good sparring partners, which, I can arrange, I can fix that, with my background already in kickboxing, my K-1 background, I'm sure I can break some bones.
The reporter brings up the idea of Overeem facing Vitali Klitschko, and asks if this is a fight Overeem is seriously considering. The Reem's response? "Definitely."
It's hard to judge how serious Overeem is about the idea of taking a break from MMA to focus on boxing, or if he is just thinking out loud here. But if he does make this move, it would not be out of character for Overeem. The Pride veteran spent much of the last two years focusing on his K-1 career - a move that worked wonders for his MMA career, both in terms of his in-ring skills and his marketability. As a K-1 fighter, Overeem used a lot of clinches and knees, which he has since brought into his MMA game. A focus on boxing and tightening up his punches could further improve him in MMA. And while it's hard to imagine him actually defeating Klitschko, even a strong showing against Vitali would further increase the "Reem" aura he has cultivated in recent years.
Klitschko is 42-2 as a boxer and is undefeated since 2003. Interestingly, he began his career as a kickboxer, putting together an undocumented record of 34-1 before making the move to boxing. Along with his brother Wladimir, he clearly dominates the heavyweight boxing ranks, and would obviously be a massive favorite against Overeem.
Scott Christ over at Bad Left Hook has the boxing fan's take on this potential match-up:
Now obviously I don't think he could beat Vitali Klitschko in a boxing match, but then I didn't think Albert Sosnowski or Shannon Briggs could either, and those fights happened with zero intrigue or appeal beyond the normal Klitschko audience, so I guess what I'm saying is, hey, why not? What the hell? Everyone in heavyweight boxing is so far behind the Klitschko brothers that I couldn't blame Vitali for potentially entertaining the idea, as silly as it might sound to purists and even considering it's beyond unlikely to ever be a serious issue in the first place.
I agree with Scott that while it's highly unlikely this will ever actually take place, it would definitely draw a different set of fans to boxing, and would be a fascinating moment for both Klitschko and Overeem.
Video of the full interview after the break.