It's not unheard of that fighters of a specific principle want to try themselves out in a different style. Mirko CroCop, Tyrone Spong, Dustin Jacoby to name a few, have all dipped their feet and crossed the boundaries of their chosen sport. So why would it be any different in other parts of the world?
For many years the 193 cm tall (6'3"), 104 kg (230lbs) physical phenom Zsolt Zathureczky was one of the most sought after fighters in Hungary when it came to MMA shows. Despite his young age (Zsolt will be 26 this December) it was unthinkable to organize an event without him being on the card.
At Age 17 Zsolt hit the gym and chose Team Pit Bull at Soroksár (a district of the capital, Budapest). In two weeks he was competing. And he never stopped since.
His results speak for themselves. Amongst countless MMA, Kempo and even street fighting tournaments he won:
- He became the K-3 Hungarian champion in 2009
- Won the Hungarian K-3 HW title in 2010 and
- Became the Hungarian HW Muay Thai champion the same year
After some hiatus he recently participated in a well-known tournament series in Hungary, Fight Club's 12th event. The 8 man tournament provided quality production and fights to the fans in K-1, Muay Thai and MMA rulesets. Zsolt beat all three opponents and won the tournament by finishing his last with a powerful bodyshot.
Q: - Hello Zsolt! First of all congrats for winning the 8 man tournament! Apart from this how's 2014 so far?
A: - Thanks, yeah Fight Club 12 was an awesome experience because of many reasons. It was very well organized and I was really happy that I had this opportunity to show my standup game. Because of my history with MMA people usually think that I'm more of a ground fighter. When I accepted the invitation my opponents seemed a bit way to eager to accept it as well...
Q: - Do you think they were looking at you as a heavy underdog?
A: - Well they must've thought that they're going to have a big advantage over me simply because of their background (K-1, Muay Thai) so I think I've managed to suprise them big time when my combinations and knees started to land.
Q: - How do you like K-1 rules by the way? Do you feel comfortable competing under such rules?
A: - I'm missing the clinch. My knees are one of my main weapons and I like to land them from there you know. YOu have to work around it otherwise you get separated quickly.
Q: - Is it safe to say that this was the biggest challenge then in fighting under K-1 rules?
A: - Yeah, I think my first fight was kinda rusty if you know what I mean. The second fight was way better and when the third came I was really feeling it and managed to finish with that body shot. It was a great test for me to see where my striking and cardio at and I was really happy as I felt fresh through the very end.
Q: - So was this your favorite KO maybe?
A: - To be honest this was my first time I managed to get it in a fight but I really liked it. I've caused painful moments with body shots before in sparring but I hope I'll get it again soon in an actual fight.
Q: - How does training look like nowadays?
A: - We put the plan together with my brother, set goals and a strategy which we follow. There are always things we focus on like the things we feel as weak links and we attack those until it gets fixed. He's helping me a lot with getting information, reading up on articles, translating for me and so on. We are truly a team so when I get to the gym I have nothing else on my plate just training.
Q: - What's next for you? DO you have any plans for the remainder of the year?
A: - Yes I have a fight in Germany in the Winter but I'd like some fights in the Fall too. I'm focusing a bit more on opportunities abroad and I'm trying to get as many fights I can.
Q: - You seem to be ready all year round..
A: - I have to. I don't have to be that strict with my diet but still I have to pick things. I need a lot of energy for my training. It's really easy to lose from cardio for example.
Q: - How can you coordinate and put everything together - traveling, training, fighting with your personal life and work?
A: - This is something extra you have to be able to do as a pro athlete. I meet my limits every week, every day and I have to confront them so I can grow beyond them with will and a lot of work. This is a lifestyle for me. Something that I chose. Certainly being a bit ascetic helps but you'll need the right partner as well to support you. Luckily I have all this. Sometimes it is hard but you know how it goes: "victory is reserved for those who are willing to pay it's price".
Many thanks Zsolt! Best of luck with the upcoming fights!