You became the K-1 World Grand Prix heavyweight champion three times. Are there any commonalities between kickboxing and being an entrepreneur?
Yes! In order to be a martial artist and reach the top, you have to be focused, smart, willing to adapt, have the ability to evolve, be disciplined, and have the perseverance to become what you’re aiming for. These are the basic elements of becoming a champion in and outside of the ring.
What has changed in your lifestyle since trading flying kicks for spreadsheets?
Standing in the ring and trading punches, kicks, and flying knees with big and strong opponents gave me a strange kind of tension in the stomach. An indescribable feeling that only a few in this world can speak of. Since I’m no longer an active sportsman or a ring fighter I can truly say that it was the biggest change I’ve made since switching from sportsman to owning my own business. I also became more aware of my style, my clothes, and the importance of conscious fashion. That’s something I’ve found more important as I became more mature.
What makes you feel confident?
The stretchy and comfortable fabric of these pants. Because of my big legs, it was a challenge to find well-fitted yet comfortable pants. Since the collab with LABFRESH, I don’t have to worry about finding the right pants anymore.
What does a typical day in your life look like?
A typical day in my life is waking up early to go to the gym. I work out and teach a couple of classes. Afterward, we start business meetings at the gym or commute from meeting to meeting at different locations. Whenever possible, I pick up my daughter from school and take her to dance classes or take her brother to soccer matches training. After finishing classes at the Academy, I head home to spend some time with my wife.
We love this quote you commonly use: “train hard, fight easy.” What does it mean to you?
The phrase “train hard, fight easy” means that everything you do, whether it’s a fight, a presentation, or a goal you want to achieve: you will make it easy if you prepare for the worst. That way, everything will be a lot easier.
What was your biggest challenge in finding the perfect pants?
Before teaming up with LABFRESH, I mostly just wanted to wear sweatpants. Being comfortable and finding the right fit is harder than you think. Especially when you’re a heavyweight kickboxer. Now that we’ve created these pants together, I can confidently say that these are the comfiest pants I’ve ever worn. All while looking well dressed at the same time.
Your son Cassius is becoming an amazing basketball player. How does that feel for you? Did you ever try to get him into boxing?
It feels great that my children are exercising and practising a sport they love. Cassius is playing basketball, Dean is playing soccer, and Skye is dancing and kickboxing. I find it amazing that they are chasing their dreams like I also did when I was their age.
Which fighter in the world should we keep our eyes on this year?
In boxing, I’d say Anthony Joshua. I hope he will fight against Tyson Fury. In Mixed Martial Arts it has to be Kamaru Usman, and for Kickboxing Levi Rigters. Find these guys on Youtube if you want to see the future of fighting!
Remy x LABFRESH
The ultimate stretch performance pants made in collaboration with three-time K-1 World heavyweight champion Remy Bonjasky.
The lightweight 4-way stretch fabric make it the perfect pants for travel and warm weather. Made in collaboration with three-time K-1 World heavyweight champion Remy Bonjasky. The fabric repels stains, wrinkles, and odour. Made of (recycled) polyester and cornstarch.