Benny Adegbuyi, a great K1 champion with high hopes

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He wants it on top

He is one of the best in the contact sports. His career is looked at with envy and he does not want to settle here. He wants to climb in the hierarchy as high as possible, even among the first three. About his plans, he talked to us in an exclusive interview for our publication ‚Casino Life & Business Magazine’.

– You are 28 and already one of the best kickboxing fighters in the world. How do you feel about it?
– I don’t know. I can only enjoy the fact that I am ranked as one of the best and proud, because I have been working hard for this performance.

– In November 2012, LiverKick.com placed you on the 8th position worldwide. It is indeed a great accomplishment – but how high does Benny Adegbuyi want to go?
– This ranking was a result of my win over Serghei Lascenko. It is a very good position, which I was elated about back then. I have no knowledge about the updates, but I really wish to get onto the podium – first place, the second, around those numbers if possible…and I am really hopeful.

– As a child, you competed in karate and boxing. Tell us about the beginnings of your sport career.
– Yes, my memories are sweet. I started with karate when I was 8-9 – my parents took me there and I loved it, as you can see. This sport just left an impact in my past. I also did a little of boxing but the K1 influence was too big. I tried to associate arms and legs, as I think this is the best.

– What do you see as the turning point in your career?
– I can say that I heard the click when I was advised and managed to choose this gym center, Respect Gym. I am extremely glad that I found the right coach here, succeeded to reach the performance I have always wanted, it’s even more that I dreamed of.

– But what about the happiest and important moment?
– So far, I think that one of the happiest was the victory against Lascenko – he was ranked somewhere around 5 or 6 and he came just like that… My opponent was changed on a short notice, no one was giving me a chance and I proved to be good and even won by KO in the first round.

– You have 16 fights, 16 wins out of which 10 are K.O. Are your opponents scared of you in the ring, can you feel that? What is the best strategy to intimidate them before the fight?
– Yes, I can say that. As a beginner, your confidence is low. But in time, I was able to see that my opponents were fearsome. I am known for my straight and upwards, my wins were by KO, I end my fights quickly. The best strategy to frighten them away is not something about tricks or anything else, but only you being relaxed. This is the thing that scares them most – when you are unaffected, feel at your ease.

– You are being coached by the Alin Panaite. How would you define the relation with him? What are the things he taught you that you will never forget?
– Even though he is my coach and an older guy, I think we are friends, sometimes I think of him as a brother, as I learned a lot from him. First, it would be seriousness and discipline that he managed to instill in me – some of the most important things – that helped us get in the place where we are now. We did it together, not by myself, his contribution has been simply priceless.

– You are part of the Respect Gym team, a well respected one. Here are the best sports people. How much does a sportsman owe to the team around him on his way to big performance?
– This is exactly what I was saying, we are very good and this is essential. Also, the partners in training, the ambiance in the center. As many of us are competitive, we are pushing one another higher. One excels in one technique, another at a different one – therefore, we can help one another and correct our mistakes.

– From your career perspective, what do you wish for yourself this year?
– As you know, I have qualified in the SuperKombat final, which I want to win. I really wish to fight a revenge game against Pavel Zhuravlev, who won last year. I truly believe it was bad luck then – but I will win if we fight again.

– At a personal level, what is your greatest wish?
– I really want some quietness and peace, my parents stay in good health so that I can keep my career going. You need calmness and health to do something significant in your life.

– You are half Romanian, half Nigerian. You spent seven years in Lagos, then you moved to Aiud and Cluj. What is your connection to these two countries, except for your origin, and why?
– Well… My skin color makes me somewhat different than the Romanians. But I do feel Romanian. I lived in Nigeria, liked it a lot. After my parents separated, we decided to move here and I got used to this place. I really don’t know… I like both countries, they have something special.

– Which one do you call home?
– I don’t know… I think it’s Romania, though.

– You are nicknamed ‚Mister Gentleman’ and ‘Hammer’. The two have nothing in common, they are rather opposite. Why are you called like that?
– ‚Mister Gentleman’ came from my peers, coach, the people in the SuperKombat team – I guess because I proved a good character, manners. I have always been humble, so this explains my first nickname. As for ‘Hammer’, I earned it after a few fights I ended with KO, by my right hook. In Romanian, it means ‚Ciocanul’.

– How do you get along with these nicknames?
– Well, I am glad about them. They are nice, if I can say so.

– Should you start it over, would you choose anything other than kickboxing?
– Not at all. Even though my experience does not span so much in the past, kickboxing as a performance sport has a great effect on me. If I were to choose again, I would still pick kickboxing. Because I like it a lot.

– Do you have an idol? Who is this and why?
– Yes, I do. I have had Remy Bonjasky as my idol up to a point. My guess is that he revolutionized K1. It all had started as a show with all the contact sports involved. He brought in a very good technique and, thus, he made an impact on this sport.

– What does a regular day in your life look like?
– Difficult. I wake up in the morning. Very often, I have my first training session at 9:30 – a physical fitness training, on an empty stomach, when I am pushing my body to a higher level. After that, I come home, eat, take my nutritional supplements and try to take a nap. Sometimes I fall asleep, sometims I do not. I go for a walk downtown, just to relax and then I get ready for the rest of the day. At 7 in the evening, another training session, come home, eat, go to bed. And the next day, I start it over again. We can relax a little during the week-end only.

– Do you have a nightlife?
– No, a nightlife does not mix well with a sportsman life. I am not saying that I don’t like going out, but I do it more often when we are out of the competitional season.

– Do you go clubbing?
– Yes, I do.

– Are the people afraid of you?
– No, because I don’t have such an ugly face.

– Have you been in casinos?
– Yes, I have. I used to run a gambling room in the past.

– We saw you in Ploiesti, at a Miss Hostess Show, playing the electronic roulette. Do you usually win or lose?
– I lose and I win. I play it for fun, not otherwise.

– Do you have any other hobbies, besides sport?
– I love playing soccer on Playstation, watching the new movies, stuff like this.

– What is your professional goal for the next year?
– For this year, or possibly next, I want to join the top players in the world, be on the podium. Once there, I will have a lot of work. As you know, you need to fight against the best to become better than them and I hope to reach that stage really soon.

– Will you send a thought to the readers of our publication ‚Casino Life & Business Magazine’, who are not only passionate about gambling but also sport?
– I want them to read the magazine, as they can find out about sport and casinos and much more. And to support me and the publication alike.

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