Welterweight world champion Marc de Bonte (87-11-1, 28 KO's) makes his first defense of his belt when he faces rising Canadian star ‘Bazooka' Joe Valtellini (11-2, 10 KO's) on Saturday night in one of the feature bouts of the GLORY LAST MAN STANDING pay-per-view card.
De Bonte is from Belgium and jokingly says that he has replaced Jean-Claude Van Damme as the country's premium martial arts export. The current welterweight king lives in interesting times - he already knows that if he wins on Saturday, his next challenger will be Nieky Holzken.
When did you get into LA; You came out early?
Yeah, I have a few friends who live in LA so I stayed with them for about a week. I wanted to get used to the heat also, so I did my last couple of trainings here. I am glad I did that, so I am used to it now.
What does the last few days look like for you as you're getting towards the fight?
My last training is Tuesday, I go really intense and then after that it's just a massage, stretch a little bit and relax, just get ready mentally for the fight.
You've been kick boxing world welterweight champion for about six weeks now, has it sunk in yet?
Yes it has sunk in but I had my mind set for the fight immediately so I didn't have to me to lay back and think about it too much. I just started training again.
Has it made any difference back home?
Yeah, the media back home, usually there's not much space for kickboxing, now I get on national television with talk shows and everything, newspapers. It's very unusual for Belgium what they are doing, its having a positive development.
Shows on big stations like Channel One and all the national newspapers, they all came to talk to me. I didn't even notify them, they were following on their own.
You won the belt, your next fights already arranged and it looks like your next fight is already arranged after this weekend as well. Did you see what Nicky Holzken has been saying?
Nicky is a talker, you know? I've been challenging him for three years. First his management came up with excuses that we trained together, then I was too expensive, then I told them I would do it for free. I would have done it for free, because just to get that name under my belt would have meant a lot of exposure at the time.
But he chose a German guy to defend his world title against. Then in GLORY he is injured all the time, now supposedly for this weekend's event he was lined-up but then he is injured and can't do it... but he's fighting two weeks after this date in Holland, so how can he be injured? He's doing a boxing match!
Let's look back at your previous fight. That clash with Karapetyan got a little criticism on account of being a very technical fight, but being that you two are training partners and he is a very technical kind of fighter, the fight seemed it had to be like that.
Yeah I wasn't really satisfied with that fight, I saw it afterwards and I know why the public really didn't like it, it was too technical the pace was too slow, the altitude bothered me a lot.
First two rounds, I felt it but I was ok. But after the third, it started getting to my lungs real bad. Karapet felt it too, I could tell.
If you see us in sparring it's completely different, it's technical but we go really hard and that aspect was out of it this time but I plan on making it up with it this fight. I think Valtellini will come forward and when he does I will be right there to meet him.
Are you generally speaking more of a forward pressure guy? Do you like to move forward or do you like to let guys come forward onto you?
Have you trained anything specific, like leg kick defense? He throws a lot of low kicks.
Yeah, that's what we've been training for, to block a lot of low kicks. He throws a lot but not a lot with power. Like Holzken took twenty or thirty low kicks and he was still standing so they're not... Well, it's still important over a five round period to block most of them.
How many low kicks do you think you can take? I know I can take like four before I want to sit down and cry.
I don't know, I haven't tried yet but I don't plan on getting kicked in the leg too much.
Any prediction for the eight-man Middleweight Championship Tournament?
I like Melvin Manhoef a lot, he's also a friend of mine but I think Filip will get through that and I think the next fight will be against Levin. I fought Levin once; that will be a close one. Filip could pull it off; I think if he wins that fight, I think he'll take the final.
And finally; a prediction for the world welterweight championship fight between Marc De Bonte and Valtellini?
Marc De Bonte of course! I'm gonna go for the KO, if it comes it comes you know? I'm gonna keep making my points but I am going to mix in power shots as well.