K-1 WGP 08 Post-Event Interview with Remy Bonjasky & Comments from Sadaharu Tanikawa

Dec 7, 2008
(PRESS RELEASE) -- On a sunny Sunday morning after his stormy win in last night's K-1 World Grand Prix 2008 Final, Remy Bonjasky met with media at the Keio Plaza Hotel in central Shinjuku. Joining him at the press conference was K-1 Event Producer Sadaharu Tanikawa.

K-1 World GP 2008 Champion Remy Bonjasky

-- How does it feel to be the champion again?
I feel great, I'm really happy that I won the title back again after a few years.

-- How did you celebrate last night?
I spent the night with my girlfriend. I was very tired after the three fights, so resting was a good thing, to check out my pains and try to recover.

-- Have you recovered?
Even when I woke up I had double vision and a headache. But from the headache I will recover, and even from the double vision. So it's okay -- the sport is hard, and we just have to learn from it.

-- Will you see a doctor when you return to Holland?
Yeah, of course you want to check yourself out, physical health is very important for me, both to continue in K-1 and also outside of K-1.

-- Are you upset with Badr Hari for the foul he committed against you?
Hari is a very good fighter and I respect his techniques and respect his way of fighting. But I was very disappointed in his actions when I fought him in the final, because I think all the people that came to watch wanted to see a good fight. So not only I was disappointed, but I think all the fans and all the reporters and even K-1 were also disappointed by the outcome. That was not a good thing, not for K-1, not for me, and I think also not for Badr.

-- What sort of penalty do think Hari deserves?
It's not me who has to decide what sort of penalty he's going to get, but I think he needs to be punished where it will hurt most, which is financially. I think he will not do it again if he's punished financially.

-- In 2003, you fell out of the ring, and you won the title. In 2004, you fought 12 rounds to win the title. This year you were the victim of a foul, and won the title. It seems winning doesn't come easily for you.
Winning is never easy, it takes a lot to win. But you don't want to win like I did in the last fight yesterday. I'm a real sportsman, and I love fighting in the K-1 ring. To win like this is very disappointing. I've done a lot to achieve my goals, to come to this level. It's not so satisfying to win like this.

-- Why do you think Hari did what he did?
Well, I can't look inside his head and know what he was doing. But it happened before with me, a few years ago during a fight with Bob Sapp. Sapp went down, then he did the same thing -- he pushed me to the ground and then hit me. Badr also went down, maybe he was thinking like Bob Sapp, 'I won't be able to beat this guy, maybe by a foul technique I can damage him and then when he stands up if he's damaged I can punch him out and win.' That's not a good way to play this game, to fight in the K-1 ring you have to have respect for your opponent and respect for the rules. If you don't have respect, it's going to be bad for K-1 and bad for all the other fighters.

-- Did you hear Hari's post-fight comments?
I didn't hear anything from him.

-- Well, he said he thought you were 'acting' . . .
The only thing I can say about that is that if he'd respected the rules we could have fought normally and decided in the fight who was the best. If he thinks I was acting, let me kick him in the head when he's down and we'll see if he's acting or not.

-- After winning the title in 2003 and 2004, you had some rough times. Now you've won again -- what changed, to help you win again?
In many ways, things changed. I got divorced, but now I have a beautiful girlfriend and she's helped me with everything. I have a new manager, and we've built a new team around me. There were three hard years, but together we coped with it. It was hard work, but in the end, this is the result!

-- You've now won the championship three times. What's your goal for the future?
Well, winning it one time is already a big achievement, winning three times is great. Now, to win it four times or even beat Ernesto [Hoost] and win it five times would be the best thing. I'll work this year to try to win it a fourth time then lets see what happens.

-- Is there a chance that you'll fight in K-1 Dynamite this New Year's Eve?
I'm always interested to fight in K-1 Dynamite, but that's up to Mr Tanikawa and K-1!

K-1 Event Producer Sadaharu Tanikawa's Comments

I thought Remy Bonjasky was in great condition, with both strong defense and strong attacks. He looked very good against Jerome LeBanner and Gokhan Saki; and the down he scored on Badr Hari in the final was also very good, he looked like he had a great chance in that fight. But then came the foul, that was not good at all.

K-1 is a sport, K-1 is not street fighting. We had the same problem with Bob Sapp in the past, and it's unfortunate it happened again yesterday. I was sitting ringside with Masato, and he was very angry with Hari's actions. This morning in the newspapers I read Hari's comments, he seemed unapologetic, and that is disappointing. We have rules, to fight in K-1 you must have a professional attitude. I will be discussing with K-1 Rules Director Nobuaki Kakuda about an appropriate punishment for Hari. Peter Aerts told me he wants a rematch with Hari at K-1 Dynamite on New Year's Eve, but as we don't know Hari's penalty yet that seems unlikely.

Otherwise, I was happy to see some new K-1 fighters doing very well last night and gaining popularity. I also think Melvin Manhoef can perform well in K-1, and hope to see him in events next year. K-1 is getting faster, as we saw last night, a big fighter like Hong-Man Choi has a difficult time keeping up with the pace. I think he might do well in mixed martial arts, we'll see about that. We'll be announcing more fighters for the New Year's Eve K-1 Dynamite event soon, some of the fighters from last night might be added.
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