The Unexpected Heavyweight Face of KSW

Sep 12, 2019

Over the last three years, Philip De Fries has epitomized the phrase “career resurgence.” The 10-year veteran’s five-fight winning streak is the second longest of his career. He hopes to extend that run to six, as well as secure a third straight title defense, in his main event slot against Luis Henrique Barbosa de Oliveira at Konfrontacja Sztuk Walki (KSW) 50 on Saturday night in London.

When a fighter goes on a tear after a rough patch in their career, the cause is often for several familiar reasons. Such as a change in where they train, new coaches or just maturing as a person and fighter. However, for De Fries, addressing the psychological hang-ups he had with fighting lead to the most important period in his 23-fight career.

“[Before] the start of my five-fight [winning streak], I lost. I had a really hard time, and I kind of hit the drink a bit, and my mental health got a bit out of hand. I was drinking a lot,” De Fries told Sherdog. “I was still training and helping my friends out with fights, [a one of them said] ‘there’s something the matter with your Phil.’ It turned out I had chronic anxiety my entire life. I was terrified of fighting, and sparring; I don’t know why I did it. Since I got treatment, that’s when this winning streak started. I went and [fought for] M1, and when I was walking out I was like, ‘I’m not terrified.’ Each fight it built, and the last two or three fights I really enjoyed walking out.”

Along with talking about his anxieties and addressing the problem, De Fries talked about becoming a face for the Poland-based promotion, as well as the relationship he has with its owners and the positive interactions he has with them. He then talked about his opponent at KSW 50 and why he feels he can beat him wherever the fight goes.

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