K-1 World GP 2008 Champion Remy Bonjasky
-- How does it feel to be the champion again?
I feel great, I'm really happy that I won the title back again after a few years.
-- How did you celebrate last night?
I spent the night with my girlfriend. I was very tired after the three fights, so resting was a good thing, to check out my pains and try to recover.
-- Have you recovered?
Even when I woke up I had double vision and a headache. But from the headache I will recover, and even from the double vision. So it's okay -- the sport is hard, and we just have to learn from it.
-- Will you see a doctor when you return to Holland?
Yeah, of course you want to check yourself out, physical health is very important for me, both to continue in K-1 and also outside of K-1.
-- Are you upset with Badr Hari for the foul he committed against you?
Hari is a very good fighter and I respect his techniques and respect his way of fighting. But I was very disappointed in his actions when I fought him in the final, because I think all the people that came to watch wanted to see a good fight. So not only I was disappointed, but I think all the fans and all the reporters and even K-1 were also disappointed by the outcome. That was not a good thing, not for K-1, not for me, and I think also not for Badr.
-- What sort of penalty do think Hari deserves?
It's not me who has to decide what sort of penalty he's going to get, but I think he needs to be punished where it will hurt most, which is financially. I think he will not do it again if he's punished financially.
-- In 2003, you fell out of the ring, and you won the title. In 2004, you fought 12 rounds to win the title. This year you were the victim of a foul, and won the title. It seems winning doesn't come easily for you.
Winning is never easy, it takes a lot to win. But you don't want to win like I did in the last fight yesterday. I'm a real sportsman, and I love fighting in the K-1 ring. To win like this is very disappointing. I've done a lot to achieve my goals, to come to this level. It's not so satisfying to win like this.
-- Why do you think Hari did what he did?
Well, I can't look inside his head and know what he was doing. But it happened before with me, a few years ago during a fight with Bob Sapp. Sapp went down, then he did the same thing -- he pushed me to the ground and then hit me. Badr also went down, maybe he was thinking like Bob Sapp, 'I won't be able to beat this guy, maybe by a foul technique I can damage him and then when he stands up if he's damaged I can punch him out and win.' That's not a good way to play this game, to fight in the K-1 ring you have to have respect for your opponent and respect for the rules. If you don't have respect, it's going to be bad for K-1 and bad for all the other fighters.
-- Did you hear Hari's post-fight comments?
I didn't hear anything from him.
-- Well, he said he thought you were 'acting' . . .
The only thing I can say about that is that if he'd respected the rules we could have fought normally and decided in the fight who was the best. If he thinks I was acting, let me kick him in the head when he's down and we'll see if he's acting or not.
-- After winning the title in 2003 and 2004, you had some rough times. Now you've won again -- what changed, to help you win again?
In many ways, things changed. I got divorced, but now I have a beautiful girlfriend and she's helped me with everything. I have a new manager, and we've built a new team around me. There were three hard years, but together we coped with it. It was hard work, but in the end, this is the result!
-- You've now won the championship three times. What's your goal for the future?
Well, winning it one time is already a big achievement, winning three times is great. Now, to win it four times or even beat Ernesto [Hoost] and win it five times would be the best thing. I'll work this year to try to win it a fourth time then lets see what happens.
-- Is there a chance that you'll fight in K-1 Dynamite this New Year's Eve?
I'm always interested to fight in K-1 Dynamite, but that's up to Mr Tanikawa and K-1!
His girlfriend is really hot.
K-1 Event Producer Sadaharu Tanikawa's Comments
I thought Remy Bonjasky was in great condition, with both strong defense and strong attacks. He looked very good against Jerome LeBanner and Gokhan Saki; and the down he scored on Badr Hari in the final was also very good, he looked like he had a great chance in that fight. But then came the foul, that was not good at all.
K-1 is a sport, K-1 is not street fighting. We had the same problem with Bob Sapp in the past, and it's unfortunate it happened again yesterday. I was sitting ringside with Masato, and he was very angry with Hari's actions. This morning in the newspapers I read Hari's comments, he seemed unapologetic, and that is disappointing. We have rules, to fight in K-1 you must have a professional attitude. I will be discussing with K-1 Rules Director Nobuaki Kakuda about an appropriate punishment for Hari. Peter Aerts told me he wants a rematch with Hari at K-1 Dynamite on New Year's Eve, but as we don't know Hari's penalty yet that seems unlikely.
Otherwise, I was happy to see some new K-1 fighters doing very well last night and gaining popularity. I also think Melvin Manhoef can perform well in K-1, and hope to see him in events next year. K-1 is getting faster, as we saw last night, a big fighter like Hong-Man Choi has a difficult time keeping up with the pace. I think he might do well in mixed martial arts, we'll see about that. We'll be announcing more fighters for the New Year's Eve K-1 Dynamite event soon, some of the fighters from last night might be added.
Q: What was your impression of the fight?
A: I fought a little bit stupidly. I didnít start sharp. I slept a little in the beginning so I'm a bit disappointed in the way I fought.
Q: What is your impression of Badr Hari?
A: He did a good job. But when they stopped the fight I wasn't dizzy so it was a shame. After the first knockdown, I was dizzy. The final one, I really wasnít.
Q: It was a disappointing result for you today, so how do you feel about your future?
A: It is new motivation for me. Next time I am going to knock him out. Iím more motivated now.
Q: Could you explain what happened at the end of your fight with Bonjasky?
A: You know what? I come to fight, and to destroy. I donít come here to fight with my hands held high and backing up. I am an emotional guy and I wanted to fight. He didnít. He didnít want to fight.
Q: How do you feel about the result?
A: I fight for my fans so I apologize to them for this. But I put on a good show, and an aggressive show. Iím just going to apologize to my fans. The K-1 judges make the decisions. Iím just a bad boy.
Q: Do you think Remy was truly hurt?
A: I think everyone saw what happened, so I donít need to answer that question. He couldnít stand up, but was quickly on his feet giving a great speech seconds later. His corner was screaming at him to stay down. I came to fight and he didnít. He is a great actor.
Q: This tournament had the theme of new fighters and a changing of the times, but it didnít really turn out that way, did it?
A: How didnít it? I knocked out the three-time champion of K-1 in two rounds today and put on a great second fight. Everyone talks about changing, but I cannot fight the ghosts. There were many changes today, but if you donít see that I donít care. I just fight for my fans.
Q: Although you lost, you look happy. Why is that?
A: I lost, but I fought very well. I think I fought hard and put on a good fight. I think guys like Badr Hari cannot handle the pressure guys like me can give him. So yeah, I lost, but the crowd likes fights like these.
Q: How about the first fight?
A: Against Teixeira? He is a great fighter. It was difficult to fight him. He is like a tree. It is very hard to fight someone like him.
Q: After you knocked down Badr, and then he knocked you down, how did it affect you?
A: I didnít feel anything particular. I just wanted to knock him down. That is what I do.
Q: Are you satisfied with your first result in the K-1 World Grand Prix?
A: Well, he beat me. Next year I want to take the belt. This time I showed a good fight, and next time I want to win it all.
Q: What did you think of Zimmerman?
A: He was extremely tough. His punches were incredibly strong.
Q: When you were knocked down, were you badly hurt?
A: Yes, I was hurt at the time, but I feel I recovered quickly and was able to keep fighting.
Q: So now you have been knocked down in K-1, do you appreciate how dangerous and scary it can be?
A: Being knocked down didnít make me feeling anything I didnít already know. When I entered K-1 I was aware of just how tough it is, and I will continue to train and fight here.
Q: What did you learn in your preparation for this fight?
A: I think I learnt various things, particularly boxing. And from now I will learn many more. You can have high expectations for my future fights.
Q: Do you have a goal for the next year?
A: To be the Grand Prix Champion.
Q: Can you tell us in a little more detail about how youíd like to improve?
A: I have a lot of experience with the flow of kyokushin fights, but I donít have that much with K-1. I think that is why I lost some stamina in the final round, and I was knocked down as a result of it. I need to get used to this, and I also want to really improve on the way I am landing my punches.
Q: You seemed to take some major damage, so how is your rib right now?
A: Iím not sure. I donít know if it is broken or not..
Q: Has the doctor taken a look at it?
A: Yes, but he doesnít know as he only looked. I need to have an X-ray.
Q: Could we ask you what you thought of the first fight?
A: The first fight was tough. I felt that I really must beat him because he said, well...blah, blah, blah. It was a tough fight, but every time he came in, I hit him. Every time he attacked, I beat him.
Q: What is your goal for next year?
A: Next time I promise you I will go to the final. I and will win it too.
Q: What did you think of the fight?
A: What did I think? As I said beforeÖSaki really isnít anything special for me. I lost my breath though, and he took good advantage of it.
Q: You were knocked down by a spinning back-fist. Did you see it coming?
A: Honestly, I didnít see it. It didnít really land hard, but it was enough to knock me down. It was completely my miss.
Q: How is your arm?
A: This last two weeks I was training very hard for Remy. He is good at front kicks so we worked hard on blocking them. Doing this training caused some water to build up. It is not broken.
Q: What has the doctor said? (Translator: He will go to have it checked after this interview. He's had only has a cursory check so far.)
A: It isnít broken.
Q: It is obviously disappointing, but what is your impression of the match.
A: Disappointing. For the moment all I can say is I did what I could, and I felt Remy was scared of me in the ring.
Q: What did you think of the fight?
A: If was very good. I knocked him out. I started slow, and that was my purpose for this fight, and it worked well. Last time I was a little too aggressive at the start.
Q: Why did you want to start slow? Was it to save stamina?
A: Yeah. I usually go out hard with many combinations, never giving myself a rest. This time I didnít try to force a KO, so it was a different style for me. Because of the weight difference it is very difficult to continue to pressure big guys.
Q: What did you think when you knocked him out?
A: I am used to this feeling as I have many knockouts. Sometimes, when I lose too! Knocking someone out feels great and I want keep this feeling.
Q: How do you feel about winning in front of your brother?
A: Winning in front of him and my uncle was great. They are very proud of me. I want to dedicate this fight to them as I love them very much.
Q: How is it going from MMA to K-1?
A: It is difficult doing both, but we are getting used to it. This time I had two fights in K-1 so it was a little better. From 2009 I may focus on only MMA, but we are not completely sure yet.
Q: What is your impression of K-1?
A: I want to thank everyone for being here. It is my first time in Japan. I donít understand the language. The people are very kind, and the food is good. Iím really enjoying it.
Q: And how about K-1?
A: It is very interesting. It is different to how I fight, but some things are being considered.
Q: Were there any fighters here tonight that caught your attention?
A: I was a little bit, well, not disappointed, but Bard Hari is a real fighter. A fighter by profession, and by nature. K-1 is a respectful organization though, so I give him a yellow card too. A bit of a slap on the hand so to speak. But you have to love him for being that true fighter. The bad guy.
Q: Do you feel that K-1 would play towards your natural strengths more than MMA?
A: K-1 would be a good thing as it is stand up, which is more one-dimensional so it is good. There is no ground game to deal with, but then you add knees and some other strikes and yeah, it is interesting. I think with my natural strengths I would do well in K-1.
Q: Would you be interested in fighting Badr Hari?
A: (Laughs) Whoever the opponent is would be OK. As a fighter I donít really worry about who I fight. If the match-makers made that fight, it would be good for me. I have seen how he fights now, and I just love fighting. I really love everything about fighting.
Kimbo, you don't want to fight Hari.