Eight mortals will enter the Arena; only one will walk out the King in the Ring on Friday night, June 19th in Porirua, Te Rauparaha Arena. The reigning King himself Sone “'Arch Angel” Vannathy prepares to defend his title for the third time, this time in front of his home crowd. For the eight warriors to get to the final they are required to defeat 3 opponents in one night under k1 Rules. We speak to some of the fighters from the Wellington region to see how they will approach their destiny to the throne, and what is at stake.

These eight men are no strangers to one another, they have met in battle before on numerous occasions. Ra Radden has fought four of the eight men in the tournament. Alexi Serepisos has fought the Champion Vannathy, and Pumipi (twice). Sone Vannathy has fought five out of the eight men.

We asked the men who they thought would be the most dangerous one out of the eight, and which one they would like to clash their limbs against in the final.

Radden: “To me Sone is the most dangerous he just fights on a whole new level when it comes to King In The Ring, I would love to fight him in the final again”

Serepisos: “All these guys are good, hard fights. I think Pumipi will be hard in the first fight and whoever fights him will be banged up in the next fight (provided they win). I would love to fight Sone in the final of course, beat the champ to take the title”


Vannathy: “I think they are all dangerous, but they need to know I’m more dangerous than them. As I’m more focused on what I’ve got to do. I wish them all luck”.

In this tournament there are many strategies to consider, try to finish your opponent as quick as possible so you can have enough stamina in the final 3rd fight. There is also the small possibility of all the fights going to decisions, and if you get injured in the first fight, it may pay in the later rounds.

Radden: “Training is going very well I fought last month so I’ve been training for awhile now. Fight like it’s your last because there might not be enough time to save yourself for the next round and before you know it you can be eliminated.”

Serepisos: “I'm just training like I always do, to win. I don't care how the fights go, so long as I get through to the next round”

Vannathy: “My fight prep has always been the same. Jog every 2nd day hit the bag 3 times a week and spar if possible. If the opportunity arises yes I’ll finish them off quickly and move on. And if it goes the distance, I’ll have to make sure I give more to come out on top.”

Each man does not only have to deal with the physical stress, but also the mental stress that comes with combat. They all have their own journey to their claim to the Throne.

The family name “Redden” has a strong history in New Zealand Kickboxing; we ask Ra does that ever add any pressure to him to uphold that Redden name every time he walks into the ring?

Radden: “To be honest yeah it does. It always has put a bit of pressure as people do expect a lot from me and at the same time I want to be known for not only what my family has achieved in the sport but what I’ve achieved as well”.

One of the more younger fighters in the tournament, Alexi, we ask him about this tournament being his second one, what has he learnt since then, what motivation and new experiences will he be bringing with him.

Alexi: “Last time I was an amateur with 14 fights having my first pro fight. This time around, I've fought the top guys in NZ and some from Australia. Physically I'm also a lot bigger and stronger than I was last time too. I think I'm more motivated to win than the others are. I also really enjoy fighting, so I have a lot more fun in there than most fighters.”

Sone Vannathy is perhaps one of the most accomplished Kickboxers in New Zealand; there will be pressure like never before, as this time it is his third time in KITR in his Kingdom, his hometown. How does he bring the Thunder every time, and with such a high resume what more does he wish to accomplish in this sport.

Vannathy: “Being the 3rd time round I’d like to just win it just this once. Before I do hang up my gloves so I can focus on other areas of my life and give the gym more of my time. I share my knowledge and what I got out of the sport and to help lead and guide those that want to do it for fitness, fun, self defence, confidence, or to compete. I want to help others and see others achieve and if I can do that with what I do then I’m happy.

Yes, there’s always pressure, and yes even more so being in my hometown. Pressure can be a good thing or a bad thing. I look at it as a good thing as pressure will bring the best out of a person like me. I’m doing this for more than just for myself. I’m doing this for my gym, my friends, students, family and supporters. Most of all I’m doing this for my hometown Porirua. If I can do it once, twice and I still win it I can do it again".

Whoever is victorious at the end of the night, with their legs bruised by checking leg kicks all night, lactic acid running through their veins, their vision blurred by blood and sweat. Their hand will be raised, their adrenalin at an all time high, the belt strapped around their waist and the prize money awaits. To the Victor belong the spoils. Material wealth aside, one of these eight men will look back on this night and remember they fought three tough and gruelling fights to be named,

THE KING IN THE RING, Te Rauparaha Arena, Porirua, Friday, 19 June 2015

Gerard Roach | Alpha Muay Thai vs Kieran Garcia | Jai Thai Boxing

Ra 'Razor' Redden | Alpha Muay Thai
Chris 'Butcher Boy' Wells | SMAC
Pumipi 'Ceazer' Ngaronoa | Dannevirke Bulldogs Thaiboxing Club
Alexi 'Phet' Serepisos | Jai Thai Boxing
Sone 'Arch Angel' Vannathy | Arch Angel Thai Boxing
Nic 'Icecream' Aratema | Hammerhead MMA
Joey 'The Filipino Kid' Baylon | ETK
Kayne 'Insane' Konlan | Strikeforce

Womens Superfight
Natalia 'The Hun' Teller | ETK vs Gentiane 'AAA' Lupi | MTI Wellington

Middleweight Superfight
Nick Taylor | MTI Wellington vs Sean 'Ruthless' Redgrave | Spartan Kickboxing

Cruiserweight Superfight
Pati 'The Arsenal' Afoa | ETK vs Zane 'Hybrid' Hopman | Fortitude Thai Boxing

Heavyweight Superfight
Nato 'Hard Knocks' Laauli | ETK vs Thomas 'The Island Tank' Peato | Conquer Training Facility

Part 1: Close Up on Weigh In

Part 1: Close Up on Weigh In

Title Fight at INVICTA 13

Title Fight at INVICTA 13