Chi Lewis-Parry plans to make the most of his opportunities in Glory. | Photo Courtesy: Glory
Chi Lewis-Parry made a significant impact in his Glory debut, stopping overmatched South Korean heavyweight Yong Soo Park just 25 seconds into the first round of their April 3 clash to enter the record books with the third-fastest knockout in the premier kickboxing league’s history.
Lewis-Parry returns on Friday at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, as he takes part in a four-man heavyweight qualification tournament at Glory 21. The winner will advance to the heavyweight contender tournament, which carries as its main prize a shot at the Glory heavyweight championship. Translation: Lewis-Parry could be two wins away from a spot in the contender tournament and four wins away from a crack at heavyweight gold. By the sound of it, he sees those four victories as a given.
Lewis-Parry excels at the hype game. He radiates confidence and self-belief, and the fact that his fellow tournament participants have remained comparatively quiet eats at him.
“This tournament gets you a spot in the contender tournament, and that puts you two wins away from a world title shot,” he said. “These guys should be excited about this opportunity, but I don’t hear anything from any of them; it’s like they are scared. ‘Oh, I do my talking in the ring’ -- whatever. You aren’t talking anything before this fight, and you certainly won’t be doing anything in there. What are you doing? Nothing. You are going to get punched and kicked and knocked out; but if you did anything to hype the fight, talked a bit, made it interesting, at least people would take some notice of you and remember you. As it is, they will know me; they won’t know you. Be pro-active. We get one shot at this, and it’s a short window. Not everyone is able to fight until they are 65 like Peter Aerts.”
Lewis-Parry is clearly unhappy with the efforts made by his fellow heavyweights to promote what promises to be a hard-hitting tournament. Some fighters believe promoting is the promoter’s responsibility, but he is not one of them.
“It does annoy me because this thing should be massive; this is the crème de la crème of fighting sports entertainment. This should be the biggest thing in combat sports,” Lewis-Parry said. “People complain about MMA and the guys clinching on the fence and stalling on the floor. Here, guys are just trading constantly. You are getting finishes and you are getting explosive fights, but you need the fighters to do their bit and sell the fights, and right now, not enough of them are doing that.”
There is no doubt that Lewis-Parry has won over some fans with his colorful comments since winning his debut last month. However, he has also gathered some detractors. Trash talk can be polarizing.
“For every two positive comments, I will get a negative one,” he said. “Does it bother me? No, it’s [expletive] awesome. It means you are doing something right. Emotional reaction means you are making an impact; and I am just being real. Everyone can be a bit of a dick sometimes. Nobody is pristine and perfect.
“It’s like when you see some actor get caught doing cocaine; it probably does better for them because it makes them real and that makes them relatable,” Lewis-Parry added. “People need to be able to look at you and go, ‘I could be that guy.’ You need to be doing something where for them to get where you are is a massive journey, almost impossible but not completely impossible.
“That’s when people start buying into you,” he continued. “They can see that you are real and that you are at a place where they could have got to with hard work; but I think there is a lot of fear out there. Fighters have egos. They are scared to step outside of the comfort zone and really put themselves out there.”
Silence is not golden, according to Lewis-Parry.
“Guys who don’t say much, personally, I think they are just afraid of looking like idiots if they lose after saying stuff,” he said. “But you can lose anyway, without saying anything, and you’re not really saving any face; you’re just anonymous. Whereas if you are putting yourself out there, you can lose and still be somebody that people are talking about because they remember you: ‘He’s the funny one’ or ‘He’s the guy who said all that crazy stuff about him.’”
Lewis-Parry will face Demoreo Dennis in the heavyweight qualification tournament semifinals. The other semifinal will play host to former De La Salle High School football standout Xavier Vigney, as he takes on K-1 veteran Maurice Jackson. Glory 21 airs on Spike TV at 11 p.m. ET/10 p.m. CT.
According to the 6-foot-9, 254-pound Lewis-Parry, who once tried out for the Los Angeles Lakers during his professional basketball days, motivation to make noise in the fight media comes from more than just a desire to entertain the fans, though that does rank highly on his list of priorities. Never one to aim low, he has set his sights on the Glory heavyweight championship.
“I think you have a short window of opportunity to make an impact, not just in this sport but in the world, in general. I guarantee that even if I never hold that belt in my hands, I will be the most talked-about guy,” he said. “My mind isn’t just on being known as a fighter; my mind is on being known as the guy who was in that movie, the guy who modeled for Calvin Klein, the guy who won that reality show, you know what I mean? My goals are bigger than being a fighter. You have to squeeze the most out of life.”
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