KickboxingZ caught up with Vechtsport Info NL Founder and Publisher Ron Emmerink for the latest happenings in Holland.
Emmerink, who still trains in kickboxing, is a longtime fan of the sport, and regularly visits dojos and sponsors fighters. He took time to talk about the recent GLORY 62 heavyweight tournament, the upcoming mega fight between Enfusion champions Tayfun “Turkish Turbine” Ozcan and “Bad News” Endy Semeleer, the upcoming KOK debut in Holland and also ONE Championship.
KickboxingZ: Hello sir, thank you for the interview. GLORY 62 recently took place in Rotterdam, and Jamal Ben Saddik won the big heavyweight tournament to become the number one contender to champion Rico Verhoeven.
How was the response to the tournament in the Netherlands? Was there a lot of interest in the event?
RE: The tournament was heavily promoted, but it lacked a big name like Rico Verhoeven or Badr Hari. But the 8-men tournament was a big hitter with the winning of Jamal. He is considered a hero fighting with a broken hand.
KickboxingZ: There were rumors that “Bad Boy” Badr Hari asked for too much money for another fight with Rico. Do you think there is still a chance of Rico fighting Badr, or will “The Goliath” get the next opportunity?
RE: My thoughts are that Badr first will face Jamal Ben Saddik. Jamal is the first in line to fight against Rico by winning the tournament. Of course everyone would like to see a Rico vs Badr (rematch), and it will happen, but late in 2019 would be my guess.
KickboxingZ: Melvin Manhoef and the WFL are putting on some big events in the Netherlands, and are broadcast on Spike. Enfusion is now being televised on the Viceland channel. Is kickboxing growing in popularity? I recall a few years ago, the sport’s reputation seemed to be bad there because of allegations of connections with organized crime.
RE: The bad days seem to be over. Martial arts and especially kickboxing are more accepted now. The sport has a lot to thank to Rico Verhoeven and other fighters. Let’s not forget we have a lot of fighters that are the perfect son-in-laws. Take for example Enfusion champ Tayfun Özcan-he is a great example of a perfect kick boxer and role model.
KickboxingZ: Speaking of Enfusion, how is the reaction so far to the upcoming February 23 super fight between champions Tayfun Ozcan and Endy Semeleer?
RE: This fight is between the settled champ and the up and coming fighter. Semeleer has a good rep, but it will not be easy to win from Özcan. The fans are looking forward to it.
KickboxingZ: There was a big shock last year when two great Dutch fighters, Andy Souwer and Nieky Holzken, signed with the One Championship organization. Is One Championship becoming more known in Holland, and do you expect them to come to the Dutch market soon?
RE: The step that Souwer and Holzken made towards ONE was a shock, but lots of fight fans respect the decisions to go to ONE. Both fighters are still going strong, and as Holzken proved, a good addition to the ONE fight roster (Editor’s Note: Holzken made his ONE debut with an impressive knockout against former Muay Thai champion Cosmo Alexandre). Rumors are that ONE is coming to Europe. Italy is said to be the first stop, but with the Dutch fighters that already signed before Souwer and Holzken, it could be Holland too. All will depend on how ONE looks at Europe. A fact is they rely heavily on the Asian fans.
KickboxingZ: KOK is coming to Holland on March 30, and announced Albert Kraus, Vlad Tuinov, and Georgina van der Linden for the show. What are your thoughts on KOK working in Holland? Is there room for another big promotion?
RE: There is always room for another promotion. However, they will not be welcomed with open arms by everyone. The venue(event) is planned close to others, so it will be exciting to see if and which fighters will actually fight. The already established promotions have a stronghold, and contracts with fighters they can enforce in not letting them compete. One thing is for sure, there are some exciting times ahead.
KickboxingZ: MMA has obviously taken off in the Netherlands, and the UFC holds events there now. Do you expect MMA to take the lead from kickboxing in popularity in the near future?
RE: We have seen some fighters moving to MMA, like recently former GLORY Champ Robin van Rosmaalen. The main reason for a lot of fighters to move to MMA seems to be the money. MMA is more lucrative and there is more money to be made. But will it take over kickboxing? Time will tell.
KickboxingZ: That’s all the questions I have right now. I know you’re a busy guy and appreciate your time. Is there anything else you’d like to say, or anyone you’d like to thank?
RE: I thank KickboxingZ for the interview, and especially Raj. You guys are doing great work, so my message would be to your visitors to keep following the site. Keep up the good work.
Note: Fans can check out Ron’s website Vechtsport Info NL for Dutch Kickboxing, MMA, and martial arts news.