Interview with a Gentle Giant: "The Hulk" Quek Kim Hock
Written and photographed by Andre Frois
With a close-up view of his professional debut at ONE FC 3, I was amazed by how this 20-year-old polytechnic student dominated his 30-year-old Japanese-Native American opponent. "The Hulk" Quek Kim Hock had taken up boxing when he was 18 and had transitioned to mixed martial arts only recently. It took me a while to believe that this soft-spoken gent, now seated before me, was the same aggressive striker who had finished off martial arts veteran Major Overall with clinical wrestling technique and flawless Brazilian jiu-jitsu. In a sport where we aren’t surprised by how arrogant and combative some competitors can be, it’s terrific to meet a gentle giant who’s also a loving son, brother and boyfriend. This young man looks set to become a household name in MMA.
I heard that you were already a national boxer and wrestler when you were only a teenager?
I’ve only been training for two years. I met Arvind (Juggernaut’s Managing Director and Kim Hock’s trainer) when I was 16. He’s been my coach up till now when we set up Juggernaut Fight Club.
How does your family feel about this hobby and potential day job of yours?
They were fine with it when I turned amateur, but they were of course worried when I told them that I was removing the gloves and head gear, and turning professional. However, this is my dream and I want to fulfil it.
What did it feel like stepping into a professional cage for the first time?
I felt like I was a caged animal – locked in with no way out. I knew my options were to either fight, or get eaten up.
What was the game plan going in?
They switched my opponent barely a week before the event. We gathered that he was a jiu-jitsu specialist, so I tried to keep the fight standing up. I used my wrestling to keep the fight a ‘sprawl ’n’ brawl’.
Did Major throw anything unexpected at you?
He surprised me a little bit by being willing to stand up and trade, instead of shooting for a takedown from the start.
Is Major a hard or soft hitter? Is it true that he broke his hand when he hit you?
Yes, he did fracture his forearm. Maybe it was the adrenaline, but I don’t recall taking any hard hits.
What attributes of yours do you think have helped you achieve such a high level of fighting at such a young age?
You can’t think of giving up. I was thrown around a lot when I first transitioned to MMA. Every takedown hurt so much, but I believe a top fighter needs the will to never give up.
You showed so much promise in your professional debut. Where would you like to go from here?
Thank you very much. I’d like to go as high as possible with my MMA career.
What’s the hardest part of preparing for an upcoming fight?
(Arvind interrupts) Arvind: Dieting! Kim loves to eat!
Kim Hock: It’s hard to cut back on carbohydrates and fat when we live in a country with so much good food.
Care to share your immediate goals?
Kim Hock: Hopefully, I’ll be on the card of the next ONE FC event, which will be taking place in Malaysia. Till then, I’m training to become an all-round better fighter, while concentrating on my jiu-jitsu.
Arvind: Give him a good year and he will have become a great fighter.