Exclusive interview with Richie Hardcore
Exclusive interview with Richie Hardcore – One of the best kickboxing Middleweight fighters in New Zealand and a popular 95 bFM DJ.
Richie is about to take on Japanese fighter ‘Hamada’ in a kickboxing match up this Saturday night 15 May, 2010 at the XPLOSION : NZ vs JAPAN ETK hosted event.
Here’s what Richie had to say:
NZF: Hi Richie, tell us a bit about your background?
RH: Hi. Well I started doing Tae Kwon Do when I was 13. It was the first thing I was really passionate about as teenager. I studied that for five years, gained a black belt and fought in lots of points sparring tournaments. I started Thaiboxing at Balmoral Lee Gar with Lollo Heimulli at 17 and trained in both martial arts for a while before switching full time to Thaiboxing as I enjoyed it more and found it a lot more of a challenge. I met John Conway at Balmoral when I was 19 or twenty years old after he returned from overseas. When Balmoral closed down for a brief period John really took me under his wing and has built me up to have had a great career. He has taught me a lot not only about Muay Thai and Boxing but life as well. We both continued to train at Balmoral, our sister gym, for many years as well and I have a lot to thank Lollo and his stable for.
NZF: When was your first fight?
RH: I fought lots of points sparring tournaments from 13 years of age for TKD but I had my first Thai Boxing fight when I was 18, I was still in high school. That was in 1998.
NZF: What is your current record?
RH: My current record is 30 F 26 wins, 3 losses, 1 draw. Current WKBF South Pacific Muay Thai Light Middleweight Title. Current: WKB4 Middleweight Champion. Current: HKMTA NZ Light Middleweight Champion. I think I have won about four or five other NZ titles over the years, my first in 2001.
NZF: What fight has been your career highlight so far?
RH: That first title fight was a big deal to me. I think winning the four man in 2008 was also highlight. It felt great to be victorious over two skilled opponents on one evening. Also winning my first fight in Thailand the same year was an accomplishment to me, as I'd had a year off before that fight due to a serious head injury and it was a real test for me to see if I still had what it took inside me to fight. It was my first fight against a Thai, I got 14 stitches or so and went on for a points win, so I think I passed the test (haha). I'd like to take the chance to thank Shannan Foreman for cornering me on that one.
NZF: What is the toughest fight you have faced?
RH: Greg Foley is the hardest fight I had. He totally outclassed me and is the only time I've been stopped.
NZF: When is your next fight, and who are you fighting?
RH: My next fight is May the 15th on the Xplosion New Zealand vs Japan show. I'm fighting Japanese K1 fighter Atsushi Hamada. I don't know a lot about him, though it promises to be hard as he is the naturally bigger man, and has a high knock out percentage. I feel very confident in my training and the team of people around me, so, as long as I don't make any mistakes and do the work on the night, I'll get my hand raised at the end of the fight.
NZF: How do you mentally prepare for a fight?
RH: I think hard work is the secret to putting my normal fears and anxieties aside. Every time I get myself out of my comfort zone, when I want to retch and everything is burning and I don't quit and keep on pushing on during training, I'm building my spirit and confidence. I like to surround myself with positive people, people who make you feel you are capable of anything. I try and stay away from neigh sayers and doubters as that negative energy effects me a lot. Also relaxing on rest days and taking your mind off the fight is important. You can burn yourself out mentally if you constantly think about the fight all day every day. It's important to ensure you are working hard in the gym but enjoying your training and life in general at the same time.
NZF: What is your diet regime when you prepare for a fight?
RH: I see a great nutritionist, Fiona Constantine at Body Fuel regularly to keep my body composition and weight, so I'm monitored pretty strictly. I'm a strict vegetarian so I supplement with protein during training due the extra demands I place on my body. I aim to eat primarily organic vegetables fruits and grains as I believe they are better for my health, as well as the health of the planet. I stay away from convenience and processed foods in general all year round and aim not to walk around too much heavier than my fight weight, as cutting a lot of weight in short time effects you negatively physically and mentally.
NZF: What does your fight training consist of?
RH: I like to vary my training a lot. I have the core Thai Boxing training, pad works, sparring, clinching. I also like to cycle, run, do plyometrics and conditioning drills. Pretty much the same as everyone else out there.
NZF: What’s your take on sex before fight?
RH: I'm usually too tired for it after all the training! To the best of my knowledge, scientifically sex doesn't have a detrimental effect on your performance, but as a rule I take a week off it before I fight, because then at the very least I'll get to sleep early (haha).
NZF: What is your strategy when fighting an aggressive fighter?
RH: I don't have a strict strategy for fighting an aggressive fighter, it would depend on the situation. I'm reasonably good at adapting to whoever is in front of me, so I tend to be able to adjust as the rounds go on.
NZF: Any major plans or aspirations for your future?
RH: At the moment beating Hamada on the 15th is my major plan. Other than that I'd really want to like to fight at one of the big stadiums in Bangkok before I retire, Lumpinee or Rajadamnern. There is no one I'm burning to fight, I just take it as it comes.
NZF: Any advice for those new to the sport and who want to get into the ring?
RH: I'd encourage anyone getting into the sport to try and apply the lessons you learn seriously training in Thai Boxing to the rest of your life. Hard work, eating well, discipline, respecting yourself and others, self esteem, confidence, avoiding drugs and alcohol; those are things that do you wonders in the ring but are important in all aspects of a full and healthy life. We are only fighters for a limited period of our lives but we can lead truly great lives if we take the gifts Thai Boxing has to offer and use them every day.