"Fighters from Serbia are strong, persistent and tenacious"...
The Champions Club CEO Bernard Caplin gives an extensive interview to "Nacionalni Gradjanski", a leading serbian national newspaper, on WBC Muaythai, K-1 Rules fighting, Serbian fighters and plans for TCC Serbia in the future...
"Fighters from Serbia are strong, persistent and tenacious. They are very dedicated to the sport and when they start something, they finish it. In training, they dont give up. And they dont only show up on and off but are dedicated and very hardworking." said TCC promoter Bernard Caplin in a recent interview to Serbian newspaper Nacionalni Gradjanski.
"Serbian fighters are happy and eager to learn. They are disciplined and with good manners. They are very strong, durable, much more durable than many other European fighters that I have seen over the years. They also have tremendous strength, which is important for combat sports. And the fighters from the Balkans that I have met over the past five years are good sportsman, both in and outside the ring" says Bernard, Chief Executive of The Champions Club, one of the leading organisations promoting Thaiboxing and K-1 Rules fighting.
Why are you in Serbia and what actually is the organisation "The Champions Club" that promotes Thaiboxing and K-1 Rules fighting?
"I began to train Thai boxing 13 years ago. I was too old to compete, but not too old to train and learn. I have been training and studying Muaythai for many years now, often in Thailand, in Holland, in Germany, in Denmark, Slovakia, the Czech Republik and North America for example. So I gradually entered the international world of Muaythai, first training and learning from some of the best trainers in the world, then as a trainer and coach myself and subsequently began to organise events, tournaments, seminars and workshops."
"The Champions Club, which I launched in 2007, is a promotion idea that brings together various martial arts federations. It is a place where fighters from any federation can meet boxers, kickboxers and other fighters to fight under K-1 Rules. This means that the Champions from different federations can finally fight united under K-1 rules. And no politics, I am a promoter, so if other federations do not allow their fighters to fight - it's not my thing. I just want to put on the best fights for fans to see, that´s it."
Why did your organisation that promotes Thaiboxing internationally decide to organise such an event in Novi Sad?
"Five years ago I started organising professional events in Thaiboxing. First in Germany, then in Thailand. I also met Misa Baculov from Novi Sad a few years ago in the Czech Republik when he was still fighting and we exchanged many ideas. Misa was sure that The Champions Club could work in Serbia too. We wanted to organise an event or competition together in the Balkans. And this led to our first successfull event on September 24th in Novi Sad. And we will be coming back to Novi Sad on 24th March 2012 for sure! I can tell you this much, Stefan Jelic from Novi Sad will be fighting for the Superheavyweight WBC Muaythai Belt of Serbia!"
What does your presence in Serbia means for fighters here in our country?
"My presence in Serbia means two things. First, we offer the possibility for young fighters to fight in the professional arena at home. The second thing is creating the opportunity for them to compete against fighters of European and World Champion status. This year for the first time ever, Serbia has a Champion in Thaiboxing - it's Nikola Ivanov-Beljski who won the WBC Muaythai National Serbian Welterweight "green belt". This opens up the possibility for Nikola to fight with Champions from other countries. We also decided that a portion of the profits from our Novi Sad event will support Nikola to travel and train in Thailand, where he will train with some of the best fighters in the world for around two months."
Are there women in Thaiboxing and are they successful?
"Yes, internationally there are plenty of women fighters. They are very talented and very dangerous, also nonetheless beautiful inside and outside the ring. Most of them are such that you would not think they are top Muaythai fighters when you meet them on the street. The majority of them however, are not from Thailand but from all over the world. In Thailand women's Muaythai is growing too now and is respected but Russian and Ukrainian women are very good, and there are also some strong Czech girls coming up."
Can Thaiboxers live from the sport?
"I do not think there are many Muaythai fighters in the world that can make a good living from this sport. They can survive at best. It may be just the best who can really "live" from it. It is not so in other sports. If you are in the top fifty in tennis, you can be rich, then if you are in the top 1,000 in golf, you can live well. However in Thaiboxing it is probably only the first three fighters in each weight category that make a good wage. Before Serbian fighters arrive at this level, they have to go through the same procedures as everyone else. They must begin to train when they are young, respect the rules and grow to love the sport. Also they must keep out of trouble on the streets and keep away from all the bad things in society, remain focussed and continue to train hard throughout their career."