"Francois Ambang def Eddie Walker KO R3 1:40 - Walker is tough as nails, but has to improve his legkick defense. Tough night for him."
That's the tweet I wrote the night of Glory 12, giving my quick thoughts on the Walker vs. Ambang superfight on that show. For many fighters, a tweet like this from someone covering the sport is a source of irritation - how dare someone sitting at ringside criticize their performance?
Walker read the tweet. His response?
He retweeted it.
When I reached out to ask him why he would send out something that was negative about his performance, his response was simple:
What is there to get angry about? It's the truth.
That interaction speaks volumes about Eddie Walker. A tough, gritty fighter and former ISKA champion, Walker had a stellar 2012 that included a win over Glory 10 Middlweight tournament winner Joe Schilling. That win caught the eye of the company, and Walker was invited to take part in one of their "Road to Glory" tournaments. He made the finals that night, and was brought on to a Glory show. But so far, he has struggled to fully show fans what he is capable of inside the Glory ring, going 0-2 with 2 stoppage losses both via leg kick. Many fighters could get discouraged about this sort of thing. Not Walker.
I had a chance to speak to Eddie Walker after Glory 12. What I found was an incredibly honest fighter with a penchant for self-assessment, a drive to push himself to be the best, and a passion for the sport of kickboxing.
On his losing effort against Ambang:
I'm very disappointed in my performance... I should have been more aggressive. I felt like my hands were better than his, but I was holding back and because I was holding back he was able to get the kicks off on me. I think he noticed that. I was checking his kicks and I hurt him once or twice, I could see the grimace in his face, but instead of me pushing forward and taking advantage of that I stayed back... it's my fault 100%. I should have been more aggressive.
Why wasn't he more aggressive?:
Don't know. I wish I did.
On how he prepares for his fights:
I study myself more than I do any of my opponents. I always look and see how I react off of shots. I see what I could do differently and how I could spar differently. To me it's all about reaction and tonight I did not react like I needed to react.
On his future in Glory and what is next for him:
Whatever Glory wants... I'm looking to come back harder and stronger and definitely going to be a more aggressive fighter... I want to fight everybody. I'm a fighter, that's what we do. Whoever they want to put ahead of me in 170, I'm down. Doesn't matter who it is.
On the perception that kickboxing can't succeed in the US:
Tonight may have changed that dramatically. Look at the knockouts that happened, look at the upsets that happened. This just shows that when you fight in Glory you dont have just 2 fighters in the ring... you have top notch fighters going at it.
On the importance of promoting and representing kickboxing and Muay Thai:
Kickboxing and Muay Thai is my sport. It's what I enjoy doing, it's what I'm good at. I'm glad a production like Glory is coming up to give strikers a chance to make it big and go against some of the other best strikers in the world and not have to venture over into MMA just because there's no other promotion to give those strikers fights. So I ain't going anywhere.
"I ain't going anywhere." As a kickboxing fan, those words are good to hear. Because combat sports need fighters like Eddie Walker - fighters who are unpretentious, focused, and dedicated to their craft. It's fighters like Walker that will make this sport succeed in the US. Glory has given them a platform, and those like Walker see the opportunity ahead of them - now we get to see how they use it.
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