Three time K-1 World Grand Prix Champion and K-1 WGP 2008 finalist Peter Aerts talks in this exclusive interview about his last fight at the Finals, rematches, Hari - Bonjasky situation, young guns, freak shows, age, alcohol and more...
How do you feel after the K-1 tournament? Hopefully no injuries?
Of course, I'm extremely disappointed. But lucky for me I'm injury-free.
How can you assess your last fight at the finals of K-1 WGP? What's the reason of your loss? What would you change in your potential rematch?
Well, it's easy to talk afterwards but anyway I believe my mind was somewhere else at the moment of the fight. Completely not sharp, no aggression. And this is exactly what I needed. It's just one of these days, you know, December, 6-th was one of them unfortunately.
Do you want a rematch with Hari? I heard you were asking for immediate rematch as soon as New Year's Eve? Is that true? Do you know the date of your next bout (name, opponent, K-1/MMA rules)?
Right after the event I asked for a rematch with him but it's up to K-1 brass to match the fighters. I need to set things straight with Badr and that's something that's going to happen eventually. My next bout is set on March. 28-th. K-1 will decide against whom I'm going to fight. My opponent's name is not known as of now. But undoubtedly it'll be one of the events under K-1 banner.
Would you please comment on the final bout of K-1 WGP between Badr Hari and Remy Bonjasky?
To tell you the truth, I believe Remy was winning until that debacle point. I don't think Badr would've won against Remy that night. What was the reason of Badr's behavior I don't know neither. It was extremely disappointing since he's a good fighter and he needs none of it. It's disappointing moreover because public appreciation of K-1 as sport has been growing and the Finals were pretty exciting and entertaining until the end.
Some people unjustly accuse Remy of simulating double vision and even stealing the victory from Hari although it was Bonjasky who was winning on the judges' score cards...If you were Bonjasky would you go on and keep fighting Hari after that stomp?
I think I would go on and fight...but again I don't know whether it was logical...
Imagine a fight between Badr Hari and Semmy Schilt? How do you see this fight go? What strategy should Badr stick to in order to be victorious against Schilt?
Everyone gets lots of different problems when opposed to Sem Schilt. Winning against him would not be easy for anyone. Badr Hari is very talented and has a good chance against him if he tries to box with him. Otherwise he'll lose. By the way I think Sem is genuinely motivated to win against Hari now that he missed the Grand Prix Finals. It will be an exciting battle, I believe.
Who'll win the rubber (third) bout: Bonjasky or Hari?
No idea. Every single fight is a different stiry.
What's the most memorable fight of your great career?
My battles with Andy Hug still excite me.
Let's talk about rematches, is there anybody from veteran fighters you'd like to fight again in order to revenge a loss?
Hmmm, there is almost no veterans now in K-1. It's all new blood.
If it's possible could you please reveal your record of pull-ups, pull-ups and bench-press record?
Honestly I'm not concentrating on this too much. As for bench press, I do 8 sets of 120 kg most of the time.
If it's possible would you tell what car a three-time K-1 WGP Champion has?
Is it true that you prefer vodka among alcoholic beverages?
[Laughs] Yeah man, it's actually true. Among spirits I always prefer vodka.
What's your favorite music?
There is no specific kind of music I like. It all depends on the situation and place I hang out.
In your previous interviews you mentioned that you were going to compete for 3-4 more years on the highest level? Did nothing change? What's then? Are you planning to become a full-time trainer?
My contract will expire in 1,5 year. If then I feel myself as good as I feel now I'll sign additional contract for 2 years. I'd love to make 20 K-1 Finals. Since 1991 I'm the regular participant among 8 finalists. And undoubtedly I still intend to conquer the crown for the 4-th time.
There are so many K-1 athletes coming out of the Netherlands. Who are some of your best friends among these guys? Who do you respect the most?
People I consider real friends are Stefan Leko, Jerome LeBanner, Chalid Arrab and Ray Sefo. As far as respect goes, I have respect for everyone!
Could you tell some funny story having occurred backstage in the past?
I don't have any particular story but what I can say is that atmosphere used to be more relaxed and there was much more joking around. Not it's a different situation, now it's all big business, you know.
Who do you see as the most promising young fighters fighting in K-1 now?
Tyrone Spong, Gokhan Saki and Errol Zimmerman are some of the biggest names in K-1 now.
Who do you see as the future stars of K-1 training now in your team? Mourad Bouzidi maybe? Also what do you think of aspiring but not very well-known fighters on the international scene like Rico Verhoeven and Hesdy Gerges?
Recently I came back to train under Thom Harinck. Among others I'm going to spar with Hesdy Gerges. I don't know very well but from what I heard he's a big up-and-coming talent. He has future and K-1 needs fresh blood.
An emerging star of the moment is Tyrone Spong who put on some weight recently. What are his chances in the heavyweight division of K-1?
Tyrone Spong is a big talent. He has to get used to the new weight first. No doubt he's got the potential to become the "New Big".
What's your personal attitude towards the Bob Sapps and other giants-freak shows in K-1? The organization is seemingly getting rid of such kind of bouts recently...
Personally, I'm happy that K-1 changes direction in this case. At one moment it had nothing in common with fighting anymore. It only hurt K-1 reputation and its acknowledgement around the globe. But now they chose another direction which I'm happy with.
Mister Aerts, it was an honor to talk to you again. All the best in your future fights.
You're welcome. Best regards, Peter Aerts