By Andreas Georgiou at www.mmaplus.co.uk
The British are coming at GLORY 20, and the invasion is being led my top ONE FC Heavyweight Chi Lewis-Parry, who will make his GLORY debut against Park Yong-Sun on the SuperFight Series portion of the Dubai showcase.
The Heavyweight fighter, towering at 6’10 holds a 4-0 record in kickboxing, however his move to GLORY will see him face significantly tougher challenges than he has previously in his stand-up career.
“Opportunities just seemed to present themselves to me and I’m a game guy,” explained Lewis-Parry. “I’ve always said you could give me the number one guy in the world now, last minute and I’d take it. I think GLORY contacted my management and just said that they were interested in me, fighting on their Dubai card and of course it didn’t take me two minutes to sign that thing, and now I’m on my way to Dubai so I’m a happy chappie.”
The former UCMMA K-1 champion also spoke about his lengthy lay-off, having not fought since July 2014, and his anticipation to return to action against the world’s elite strikers.
“I just want to get started, so I can get onto the next one. I’m an eager beaver, I’ve been sitting on the side for a while now, I just need to get some action. My sparring partners are getting a bit annoyed with it as well, I’m taking it out on them. I’m ready to go, the most important thing is I’m excited about it. And to be on GLORY is every fighters dream isn’t it? The cream of the crop at stand up combat, so I couldn’t be happier.
The London based Brit also refuted any claims that he is out of contract with Asian mixed-martial-arts powerhouse ONE FC, and that both parties are waiting for the right moment before they can put together the next move for the championship trailing fighter.
Lewis-Parry also noted his desire to fast track himself into a GLORY Heavyweight contender tournament: “I am contracted with both. They are both aware about my contracts and they don’t interfere with each other. GLORY is okay to give me fights and ONE FC approve so it’s all good.
“You know, I guess we’ll see how it goes, I’m hoping I get in the GLORY contender tournament and see what happens there because I want wouldn’t mind running for the title, just like I want to with ONE FC. There are a lot of guys who are just happy to be there, and I’m like f**k it, I want to try and win. Try and build a legacy and buy a few houses, that’s the way I see it.”
However, the Brit has seen an adjustment to his GLORY debut. Originally scheduled to face Xavier Vigney, the American was pulled in favour of the GLORY 21 Heavyweight contender tournament, thus South Korean Park (14-8) being brought in as a replacement.
“I don’t want the newbies or the nobodies, I don’t want them, I only want to fight the big names. So I’m kind of glad actually that Vigney pulled out, because he was a nobody to me, as far as I’m concerned, I was like ‘who are you?’. It just wasn’t a name for me and Park has fought on K-1 Max before, he’s fought some bigger names so that’s more attractive to me.
“I don’t care to be honest, it’s probably better for him [Vigney] really, he’s done himself a favour because he was going to lose that fight. He’s the same size as me but he’s not where near as good as me, but at the end of the day I don’t really care, we’re all doing this for the same reason, we’re trying to have a good life, and this just happens to be the way that I’m going to achieve that. So, I don’t blame him, I’m not annoyed, because there is always going to be someone to fight, especially in GLORY.”
Park was originally slated to debut in the promotion at GLORY 5: London, although the Tae Kwon Do practitioner elected to take time away from professional competition in 2013 to refine his kickboxing, but Chi Lewis-Parry disproved his opponent’s ability, but agreed a win would bolster his credentials for future opponents.
“Who’s he been kickboxing with? He hasn’t been kickboxing against me. That just means nothing, I’m prepared to fight. So if he’s gotten better then good, it means the fight might be a little bit more exciting. I just hope he’s got better hands that I’ve seen him have because if he hasn’t he’s going to go out quick.
“I don’t think there is anything he can do, even if he took seven years off to concentrate on kickboxing he hasn’t got anything for me. So I know what I’m here for and I’ll show that on April 3.”
Sitting above the Heavyweight division is 25 year-old Dutch champion Rico Verhoeven, who is 7-1 since the start of 2013, with his sole loss coming to the extremely tough Andrey Gerasimchuk. “The Prince of Kickboxing” was crowned GLORY Heavyweight tournament champion at GLORY 11: Chicago, in October 2013, where he defeated legends Gokhan Saki and Daniel Ghita in the same night.
He would eventually go on to win the official world championship at GLORY Last Man Standing, again defeating Romania’s Ghita on points. His most recent defence was over Errol Zimmerman at GLORY 19, but an injury to “Bonecrusher” saw a promising fight cut short.
Chi Lewis-Parry credited Verhoeven’s large success in GLORY to his style, but likened his own style to the late, great Ramon Dekkers, and described his unorthodox style as a potential ‘problem’ for the current world champion.
“Rico, I think he’s brilliant, he’s fought some of the best guys and he’s beaten them, and styles make fights, I’ve always said that, whether it’s MMA or kickboxing, muay thai. It’s Ramon Dekkers style which had him dominate Thailand back in the day when thais dominated Thailand, not Europeans. His style was not that conventional thai style.
“I think my style is a problem for most just because I’m unorthodox myself, I’m tall, I’m not one of these Heavyweights who just stands there and trades. I’m more of an elusive counter fighter, and you don’t get that with the tall guys.
“I’m willing to earn my stripes and should that opportunity present itself I’m more than happy to take it.”
Alongside Chad “2Slick” Sugden, who also features on the SuperFight Series prelims, Lewis-Parry will spearhead the British contingent’s new wave in GLORY, and finally give fans a face to cheer for in the incredibly stacked, world class Heavyweight division.
“I’m very grateful for the position that I’m in, I’m in a very good position to represent not only Britain as a nation In the sport, but I’m getting to represent a lot of hope for the British fans and the up and coming fighters because there is so much room in these organisations for Brits to do well.”
Also, The Dream Team fighter accused British fighters of having an island mentality, and implored more Brits to think of the bigger picture and look to challenge themselves on the international stage in hopes of finding more success for the United Kingdom in kickboxing.
If there was any doubt about the heart of Lewis-Parry, 120kg “Chopper” defined the serious nature of his mission in GLORY, and the opportunity presented to him to make history as a British world champion.
“I’m not doing this just for a laugh, it’s not the kind of sport you do for a laugh or just because you feel like doing it. This has consumed most of my life over the past couple of years and my focus is on it.
“But this is it, this is all I do, it’s not all I can do but it’s all I’m doing right now, it’s what I’m focused on. And I have the most current opportunity to do that, there’s a little bit of buzz behind me, I’ve got a little bit of hype, I’ve got the fight.
“Right now I’m the guy with the opportunity and I intend to use it. If I get to be that guy to spearhead the British onslaught then I’ll be that guy, I’ll happily take that role.”
UK viewers can watch Chi Lewis-Parry live and exclusive HERE on April 3, for live streaming of GLORY 20: Dubai.
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