Earlier this week we were lucky enough to get to chat with Israel Adesanya and ask few questions before his King in The Ring 8 man tournament in Auckland, NZ on August 30th. Israel is the first fighter from New Zealand to sign with Glory and is the current WKBF Cruiser & Light Heavyweight, IKBF Cruiserweight and WMC Oceania Cruiserweight Champion.
LK: Hi Israel, first of all tell us your fight stats, height, weight, record, etc?
IA: Fight record is 34 wins/ 2 losses/ 0 draws/ 16kos, Height: 190cm/6'3", Weight: 84kg/185lbs, Stance: Orthodox, Age: 25yrs old.
LK: What nickname do u go by? I've heard Style bender?
IA: The last Style Bender. Lol big fan of cartoons, 1 of my faves being the Avatar series. Love the story behind it and the idea of me being the last of my kind, so I have to master all the elements of fighting to realize my destiny as the Avatar.
LK: You have an 8 man tournament coming up Aug 30 in Auckland, hows training going, how are you feeling?
IA: Yup for King in the Ring. I'm feeling great man, all I do is train eat sleep and repeat. I could fight tomorrow that's how ready I am.
LK: Do you know any of the other opponents? Who do you think is the best man in the tournament after you of course?
IA: Yup a lot of the guys in the tournament are friends of mine. We've traveled and trained together for years. But it makes no difference, I've had fights with my brothers and sister growing up. I'd fight anyone! I'd fight my grandma even...but she's dead. Makes no difference who has the bad luck to face me that night, I'll pull no punches and I expect them to come at me. I'm not the defending King in the Ring champ, but I know these boys all wanna beat up the Glory fighter. So that keeps me sharp.
LK: What do you think of the 8 man tournament format? Do you like it better than a single fight?
IA: I like the spectacle of it. 7 men will fall and 1 will rise, it's so throwback. But I prefer to have a single fight for the most part. 8 man tournaments are taxing on the body. I won my 1st 1 in 2010 for the IKBF 8man.
LK: You train at City Kickboxing, is that where you first started training? How's the attitude/ atmosphere/sparring partners?
IA: I started in TKD as a kid. Stopped for almost or over 10 years then training in Wanganui New Zealand with Derek Broughton. Then decided to move to the big smoke of Auckland city after visiting City Kickboxing on a road trip. One of the best decisions to train at City Kickboxing with Eugene Bareman and Doug Viney.
LK: I have to ask about your fight with Simon Marcus, how did you feel about that decision?
IA: Man, I know, the people know, and Simon knows he didn't win that fight. He hit me with 2 clean punches the whole fight, I rocked him twice and he wanted cuddles, I bent around all his strike attempts and hit him clean more times in the fight while doing the moonwalk. He'll get this work soon...hopefully on the Glory stage so the world can witness!
LK: How did you find the experience of your first Glory fight?
IA: It was awesome! Turkey was dope. I wasn't nervous at all cuz in China I did 15000 seat shows, so this was nothing. I should have embraced the nerves a bit and stayed true to my style rather than charge him in the opening round. But Verlinden used strong basics and years of experience to keep me at gear to and steal momentum, I respect that... but he still couldn't break me and I know without a doubt I can beat him.
LK: Any talks with Glory about about your next fight?
IA: Yup, classified at the moment. But it's coming soon and I can't wait to make my USA debut. The world gon' luuuurn haha!
LK: What got you into kickboxing in the first place? How old were you? Did you ever imagine you would be at this level?
IA: I was 17, I saw the movie Ong Bak and months after started training Muay Thai. Had my 1st novice fight within 6 weeks and my 2nd fight ever was full thai rules (and won). After UFC 90 witnessing the way Anderson Silva beat Coté, I had the misconception of fighters/ action heroes movies and media put on us shattered. Soon after I made the decision to be the best in the world and I moved to Auckland.
LK: Last question is something I like to ask every great fighter
Hardest puncher you've fought? IA: I don't take many shots in fights, but Doug Viney spars like a mad man and had hit me full clip a full times and I still stand.
Hardest Kicker you've fought? IA: Jamie Eades in a novice fight in 2008/2009. He made me realize to check leg kicks, but I returned the favour years later in a full Thai fight and had him limping with a gangsta lean.
Hardest fight? IA: Still waiting...
Favourite Fighter? IA: Anderson Silva, Mohammed Ali, Prince Naseem, Roy Jones jr, Rickson Gracie, Conor McGregor, Nick Diaz...etc the list can go on. I'm a fan of combat sports
LK: Thanks a lot for your time Israel, is there anything more you would like to say to your fans, sponsors etc?
IA: Just wanna thank those that have followed and believed in me through all this, my training partners, my sponsors Bow Fighters, FX Nutrition, Combat Kings, Stained Skin Tattoos. Stay tuned for this man, just getting started.
LK: Once again thank you, good luck on your upcoming fight, not that you need it.