Interview with Antz Notorious Nansen
I started watching kickboxing when I was quite young. My sister used to go with our cousin Ray Sefo to Balmoral Lee Gar to go and train. I was never interested in it until I had enough of league and decided to do something......
Antz “Notorious” Nansen is a well known and respected New Zealand Muay Thai fighter who recently began his professional MMA career fighting Hiroshi Izumi in Japan last year.
Antz fights out of Elite Thai Kickboxing Gym (ETK) in Penrose, Auckland. He is currently preparing for his second international MMA fight, going up against former Shooto Heavyweight champion and MMA icon Enson “Yamato Damashii” Inoue, on April 25, 2010, at Nippon Budokan, Japan.
NZFighters caught up with Antz last week to get some insight into his fighting career so far, and his up-and-coming fight with Inoue.
(March 23, 2010)
NZF: Hi Antz. Tell us a bit about your fighting background.
AN: I started watching kickboxing when I was quite young. My sister used to go with our cousin Ray Sefo to Balmoral Lee Gar to go and train. I was never interested in it until I had enough of league and decided to do something else and I started with the Tai brothers in Henderson until their gym broke up. I took a two year lay off because I had a bad injury from my first kickboxing fight for them, and I then came back to ETK and I have been here for about 4 years now.
NZF: What age did you start training and why?
AN: I started doing Kung Foo when I was young. It wasn’t full contact so I wasn’t really that in-to-it. So I carried on playing League and when I had enough of that I went over to kickboxing. I couldn’t go to Balmoral Lee Gar, I had friends that were here and I couldn’t get out there as I was living out West at the time, so I went to the Tai brothers in Henderson and I would have been about 21.
NZF: When was your first Kickboxing fight?
AN: At 21 I fought Tony Angelov from City Lee Gar. I lost on points for my first ever fight. I did drop him in the first round but he came back super fit and super strong smashing me for the last two rounds...(laughing)...
NZF: Your first MMA fight?
AN: My first MMA fight was last year in September (2009). I wasn’t really into fighting MMA. They had asked Jason Suttie to do it not knowing Jason had retired, so Jason asked me to do it and I thought...yeh, might as well...so I took the trip to Japan and had a go at it.
NZF: So you are going back to Japan in April (2010) to fight in an MMA event against Enson Inoue, what do you know about him as a fighter?
AN: As a fighter, I know he’s really strong. He is a black-belt in Jiu-Jitsu, and the only guy to tap-out Randy Couture who was in the MMA hall of fame. He’s had a handful of fights but he is well known for...even though he has a black-belt in Jiu-Jitsu...he never goes to the ground. He always stays standing, even to the point of being knocked-out, he will always stay standing. He’s really strong, and mentally strong, he carries the same sort of mental game as us, whereas, honour is to die in the ring, so it will be a good fight and I am really looking forward to it.
NZF: How do you prepare mentally for a fight?
AN: I remind myself every day when I wake up who I do it for. I do it for my son. I was never really that smart at school, so this is an opportunity for me to get further ahead in life and at the same time do something that I love. So I remind myself of that every morning.
NZF: What’s your pre-fight training consist of?
AN: At the moment I am training 3 times a day, doing a lot of weight training, and 4 weeks before the fight I will drop it down to 2 times a day. It’s mainly just working with a lot of cardio...mainly just cardio...
NZF: What is your pre-fight diet consisting of? Do you change it quite considerably?
AN: Right at the start of training, when I first find out about my fight, if I have to lose weight I stop eating carbs after 6pm. Well most of my fights have been super heavyweights, and I have actually had to try to put on weight, so I sort of eat anything. I’m usually the guy that has to put on weight. I fought a guy that was 143kgs and I was only 95kgs so I don’t often have to worry about my weight.
NZF: Just going back to last year when you fought Hiroshi Izumi in Japan, how was it and what was it like to represent New Zealand on an international stage?
AN: At the time it was very surreal, I couldn’t believe that I was there. I was still sort of in holiday mode when I got there, until I started getting into the more professional side of the game, when we started getting interviews and started talking to lots of magazines and press conferences. That was when we clicked onto game mode, when we realised we were there to represent our country. It was really good, I was honoured to be there. When you fight in New Zealand you represent your club, but when I fought in Japan I felt I was representing all the clubs in New Zealand or representing NZ itself. So it was a real honour for me.
NZF: What has been your career highlight so far?
AN: I have two highlights. One highlight was losing to Tony Angelov, that was a big highlight for me. It was a big eye-opener to know that it wasn’t the same as street fighting. Every time I train, I remember that I got beaten by the fitter guy, he wasn’t stronger on the day but definitely fitter and more technical. My other highlight would have to be Japan and beating Jon Gallia in Auckland, which was my first NZ tile cause I knew he was a lot stronger and a lot smarter than I was at the time.
NZF: What was your hardest fight?
AN: The hardest fight would have to be a guy named Joel Martin. At the time I thought I could knock him out. I hit him with everything I had, and pretty much gassed it the first two rounds trying to knock him out. He had a really good jaw...(laughing)...and again Tony Angelov was one of my hardest fights.
NZF: So at the moment what is your current record and titles.
AN: I’ve lost 1 fight, drew 1 fight and had 16 wins. My titles for Muay Thai are:
NZ WKBF - Super Heavyweight Title (Full Thai)
NZ WKBF - Heavyweight Title
NZ WKBF - Super Cruiserweight Title
NZF: Any aspirations or plans for the future?
AN: I’ve always wanted to box. I’ve done a bit of boxing before. It’s just a little bit hard finding opponents especially if you have had a kickboxing background. I am a pro boxer at the moment, but wouldn’t mind venturing further on into that side of fighting.
NZF: Any advice to those new to the sport and who want to get into the ring?
AN: Yep...always dream big, but most importantly, train hard, because if you train hard the fight will be a lot easier, and if you think that the training is easy then the fight’s gonna be a lot harder.