I had a chance to talk with one of Golden Glory’s fearless leaders, Bas Boon recently. Bas is a guy who has been around in the fight industry and managed some of the big names. Currently Golden Glory is on a roll and looks forward to an anniversary show as well as the K-1 World Grand Prix where Ruslan Karaev, Errol Zimmerman, Alistair Overeem and Semmy Schilt will compete.
There is some juicy stuff pertaining to Boon and Golden Glory’s former relations with M-1 Global figureheads Vadim Finkelstein and Apy Echteld. Some of it just sounds outlandish, but can be pieced together. If anything, this interview adds more texture to some of the tales of M-1 Global that have been circulating, although Bas says he would not prevent his fighters from working with them in the future.
K-1 LEGEND: You guys have been doing a great job and the success of Golden Glory shows that, as you’ve become one of the top, if not top, camp around for kickboxing, completely dominating the K-1 scene and making a serious impression the world of MMA. The K-1 World Grand Prix this year is half Golden Glory, what are you attributing this success to?
Bas Boon: The success comes from a great team spirit and the same management and trainers for ten years now, we will celebrate this anniversary with a huge event – Glory 12 on the 17th of October in Amsterdam (http://www.unitedglory.nl/). We went through a lot of difficulties this year, injuries, changing the location of Golden Glory Breda gym. We had to work really hard to get everything in place again. The team spirit in Korea was the best I have seen in my ten years with Golden Glory, we couldn’t loose!
K-1 LEGEND: Do you have any predictions for the Grand Prix, and are the fighters prepared to fight each other in the semi-finals or finals? In my personal view, I think we could see Semmy Schilt vs. Alistair Overeem in the finals, and no matter what that makes Golden Glory look strong.
Bas Boon: Yes of course the fighters are willing to face each other in the semi-finals/finals. Semmy vs. Alistair would be a great scenario, but its a tournament anything can happen, we could see Karaev vs. Errol in the finals, but more likely your suggestion. We plan to have a meeting on this subject and what we will do with coaching/ strategy, maybe we just sit in the audience and let them sort out who’s number one 1, they do the same everyday in the gym and now they have a chance to really prove who is best, the pride of being Golden Glory’s number 1.
K-1 LEGEND: What happened to Alistair vs. Mighty Mo at the Anniversary show and when will we hear Alistair’s opponent, if he is still on the show?
Bas Boon: Martijn de Jong is busy with the matchmaking. The opponent will be announced soon, its difficult now with Alistair destroying every one in his path.
I have been so busy with my partner in getting so many fighters fighting in one show. Golden Glory is expanding as well – we have a Golden Glory gym in Romania, England, three gyms in Holland and we are working on Scandinavia, Russia and LA.
K-1 LEGEND: Alistair Overeem has really come out into his own over the past year or so, with holding the Strikeforce Heavyweight Championship and becoming a real force in K-1, quickly becoming one of the top heavyweights. Has his focus shifted to kickboxing now due to his recent success and is the plan right now to tone down on MMA, or just to take fights as they come? I and a few others think Alistair could easily becoming an elite mainstay in K-1.
Bas Boon: Alistair is still an MMA fighter first and foremost but he plans to do both. It was the circumstances that influenced the decision for Alistair to fight Peter. After he knocked out Badr Hari on K-1 rules NYE 2008, he wanted to fight Badr on MMA rules, his team agreed to this, but Badr and his management decided against it later on. Alistair was pissed and so were we as we negotiated a new contract with strikeforce, the first opportunity would be April.
But on March 27th the offer came from K-1 to fight Remy, Alistair said after he knocked out Badr Hari that he wanted to fight the champ of K-1 which was remy Bonjansky. The fight happened and again Alistair did great, they could have given Remy an 8 count in round two were Alistair clearly knocks him down. We still looked at the scoring boards and round two was also given 10 10 10 score, we knew we could not win and decided to take a risk in round three which resulted in a knockdown for Alistair and that’s why he lost the decision, so they say!
However Alistair wanted to start fighting MMA again with his new contract with strikeforce and then Golden Glory hit a streak of bad luck.
(Note: The following is from Bas Boon himself, I’ve done some research and found a few other interviews he has done to try to confirm and iron out some of the facts. If you do not know the full history of Bas Boon and M-1 and Fedor, check this interview out. K-1 LEGEND takes no responsibility for the following outside of sharing it with you. I’ve inserted some notes to help clarify some of the tough translation issues or some past events.)
K-1 LEGEND: There was some misquoting of you recently in regards to Strikeforce, Fedor/Vadim and M-1. Is there any animosity between Golden Glory and Fedor’s camp at all? Is there a history with M-1 and Fedor or was this all just completely taken out of context?
Bas Boon: I posted an article on a Dutch forum, people were making excuses why Alistair was not fighting in the USA, believe me we really wanted this fight it would have been perfect in our schedule like we planned it for 2009, NYE Japan , March Japan, April/May or August Strikeforce and then back to Japan. Then the 50 ct incident came, some people were saying on the Dutch forum all kinds of excuses why Alistair would not come to the US. The reality was that Alistair ended up in the hospital after his brawl and in detention and had a very serious infection in his hand. On the forum in Holland people from M-1 were thrashing Alistair and telling how good M-1 was doing their business.
Then I made a comment on this saying that every organisation Fedor fought in went bad and that Fedor was not fighting much and that Appy and Vadim still have unfinished business with the management of G.G., because they got Fedor through Golden Glory and we made a legal deal about this.
Then some clown (I imagine that it was somebody from the camp of Simon Rutz as Appy was caught on tape, hiring killers from Russia to blow away the whole European Fighting Network Office from Simon Rutz, which there is an official police report!) [I can’t find this anywhere, sadly] translated the part what I said on his forum (out of context – why I said it, the thread on the forum says I made excuses for Alistair not fighting in the States) and then the person who made the translation made it look like I made an official statement. The translated piece went also to a forum called www.valetudo.ru
Then a chain reaction came, which caused Appy [Apy Echteld, member of M-1 management] to call me, he told me call Vadim becuase the Russians this and that!) you have to because big problems blah blah. I called Vadim and told him what happened, I told him, I would write him by mail: my version of the story and what still was bothering me. I did this, but then Vadim just translated a small part on his M-1 forum and the title on his article said Bas Boon made excuses to Vadim?
I wrote Vadim another mail telling him that I was disappointed and I really thought that because of this we could solve our old differences. I informed him that I would post the original letter on some forums. Today I got an email from a guy named Mikhail asking why I am posting this official letter and what kind of problems I have with Vadim.
I mailed Mikhail and wrote him that I send a mail before to Vadim and that Vadim did not respond to what I wrote and that I was disappointed to read a small translation with a huge title: that Bas Boon made his excuses to Vadim?
Everything in the letter is the truth, therefore I mailed a friend of mine in Russia to publish the official offer from K-1 to Fedor which was $150.000 more [$150,000 USD, Bas provided the K-1 offer which was a base of $600,000 USD per fight. This offer was extended to Boon and Co. for their previous management and links to Fedor at the Inoki show and was dated summer 2006, right before the PRIDE collapse and the BoDog offer. Fedor was on a spot contract with PRIDE at the time.] then Fedor was making at the time he fought with Pride. So why would a fighter who takes fight by fight (I suggested that) fight for $150.000 less money against Zulu in Pride, when there was an offer for almost 3 million on the table for 1 year The contract also included the option to fight in the states [there was a UFC clause, K-1 would offer Fedor to UFC for $1mil USD], he could have done both events as well as an FEG sponsor in the making.
I suspect that fedor was being used as leverage as I stopped doing business with Appy and Vadim delivering fighters and promoting and producing shows like 2h2h [2Hot2Handle] and M-1, it became a mess, two shows in Rotterdam resulted in a huge loss because there was no cooperation with G.G. Pride was putting the pressure on they had to help Appy and Vadim because if they would not pay them their money they would not get Fedor. What Appy and Vadim did not know at that time is that Pride was already dying as I started a law suite against Kawamata with loads of bad press appearing in Japanese newspapers, Gendai magazine etc.
The official offer was sent by Daisuke Terguchi and in name of Mr Tanigawa. I don’t think Fedor ever saw that offer, I received it through my office and I gave this offer to Appy and Vadim in Las Vegas. I told then lets all make money and this is a perfect opportunity to make back OUR losses the Bom Baye event, they all got paid, but I was left with more then 300.000 damage in unpaid flight and fight purses from (BOMBAYE 2003). [Bas lost out on $300,000 from the Bom BaYe incident that screwed everybody, but was a silent partner as to not upset PRIDE an turn them against other G.G. fighters]
I suggested to pay the Russians first as they just went from Pogodin to Red Devil and the relationship was fragile between Vadim and Fedor. A similar situation happened recently with UFC Joe Silva and Appy regarding Gerard Mushashi [Gegard Mousasi], Appy told Musashi he heard from some inside guy? (he does not have Joe or Dana’s phone number or contacts?) that an offer was made but it was to low according Appy? Later Joe Silva goes on record with his version of the story. [This goes along with the story that Apy and M-1 duped Mousasi into his Strikeforce contract. Joe Silva confirmed there was no offer]
It will be interesting what Fedor thinks after reading the truth.
K-1 LEGEND: Is Overeem vs. Fedor a possibility still? Fedor is seen as an unstoppable machine, but there are holes in his game like any other fighter. Does Overeem match up well with Fedor, you think?
Bas Boon: Yes, we will fight with Alistair against Fedor despite old pains with M-1 management, I would never take that away from a champ like Alistair Overeem, who really wants to fight Fedor!
K-1 LEGEND: Overeem’s move to heavyweight has seemed to really give his career a giant jump start, what prompted this decision and what went into his training to help him bulk up to being such a formidable heavyweight?
Bas Boon: We have talked a lot with Alistair about his lack of cardio in some fights when he fought in 205 lb class. He is a natural heavyweight, his weight then was around 102 kg (Alistair is 196cm) and he always had to loose about 10kg to make his weight, he would have problems later in the fight because Alistair’s aggressive fight style. We decided to move up in weight, from that moment on he fought Paul [Buentello] in Strikeforce 2007 for the belt (Alistair already defeated Belfort for the second time in a rematch in the states). He ko’d Paul in round two, then Alistair went through a difficult time in his private life which resulted in the loss against teammate Kharitonov, he did not have the good training before that fight as well his mental state was not good. We overcame that problem and the results are great, Alistair feels great, he does not gas anymore. Sparring in Breda with Zimmerman, Saki, Kharitonov, John Olav Einemo, he is improving by the day, his defence is getting better as well as his combinations and he can take a hell of a punch.
K-1 LEGEND: How is Gokhan Saki doing and when can we expect him to fight again? It was disappointing he couldn’t be a part of this year’s World Grand Prix and many believe he could be a big part in K-1’s future.
Bas Boon: Saki was unlucky first he had a bone splinter after his kO victory over Tyrone Spong in March this year and lost on points the heavyweight title to the Japanese fighter [KYOTARO/Keijiro Maeda]. Then we fought recently in Korea and Saki rips a muscle in the first minute of the fight, he still fights for three rounds but then because of the injury he could not be fit for the last 16 in Korea (he did qualify).
We will see him in a reserve fight on December 5th, we are going to Japan with a G.G. force!
K-1 LEGEND: What Golden Glory names should we watch out for in 2010 and what can we expect from Golden Glory in the future?
Bas Boon: John Olav Einemo (ADCC heavyweight champion and pride veteran) is doing really well working on his stand up and improving a lot. Nieky Holzken at K-1 max is developing as well as new comer in the team Karaev who is only 26 and improving by the day. There are some new young upcoming talents as well, which we will all be hearing from soon!