Throughout the history of kickboxing and muay thai, Holland, Thailand and Japan have been the hotspots for stars in the sport. Although there have been numerous practitioners from other countries, rarely did they achieve the level of success or acclaim of their peers in the aforementioned countries. Thanks to organizations like the now defunct, It's Showtime and more recently Glory Sports International, stars from the United States and throughout western Europe and Asia are receiving more attention. Belgium, for instance, internationally known for numerous Tour de France victories as well as strong showings in motor racing and motocross has not been so well known for stars inside the ring, if you don't count 1980's action star Jean-Claude Van Damme. Today, however the land known for its delicious chocolates, fine arts and picturesque beauty is quickly becoming one of the hotspots for future stars in the sport, much due to strong showings over the last few years by Filip Verlinden, Marc DeBonte, Marat Grigorian and Jamal Ben Saddik .
Earlier this year I had the opportunity to ask Marc DeBonte a few questions about his career and goals for the future.
SW: At what age did you begin training?
MD: I started young at 6 years of age and also did my first youth fight at that age.
SW: You are currently ranked number 3 in Glory with a 2-2 record thus far, what is your overall professional record?
MD: My overall professional record is 87 wins-12 loses-1 draw
SW: You are known for your brutal knees, what do you feel are your other strengths as a fighter?
MD: Mostly I feel my boxing and knees are my best points but I am pretty all round and I can adapt pretty fast to any style.
SW: I'm sure one of your goals this year is to regain the belt from Valtellini, any other goals for this year?
MD: Yes to regain the belt and win the tournament at the end of the year, also to get my ranking in professional boxing up. We will see how it goes .
SW: I know you have trained in Hemmers Gym. Where are you currently training?
MD: I train at Tay gym with my trainer Ludo Kaethoven who has been my trainer for the last 8 years now. We work together with Hemmers Gym to get good quality sparring since a lot of high level Glory fighters train there as well.
With the year having reached the 3/4 mark, it is debatable as to whether DeBonte will be rematched with Valtellini by year's end. A rematch, however seems inevitable and the world will see whether improvements in DeBonte's boxing will be sufficient to push him past Valtellini's Tae Kwon Do base and equally powerful legs and low kicks. Whether it's 2014 or 2015, the rematch between DeBonte and Valtellini promises to be explosive.