Onno van Ravensteijn
Over in Holland for the 2H2H event and staying with good friend Remco Pardoel, Carl Fisher heads down to Eindhoven, to blow a few hundred guilders at Nikko Toshogu Sports/Press and meets one of the directors Onno van Ravensteijn, one hell of a nice guy. Read on
Carl Fisher : Looking forward to the event tomorrow Onno?
Onno van Ravensteijn : For sure - its going to be one of the most famous fight events of the last ten years, with 10,000 people there. Its great that Dekker and Hoost are there fighting after so long away.
Carl Fisher : What will Nikkos involvement be on the day?
Onno van Ravensteijn : Bas Boon, the owner, for the first time in years will just be watching, but we will all be working hard though.
Carl Fisher : Have you any sponsored fighters on the bill?
Onno van Ravensteijn : Yvel, Dekker and many others, seven or eight in all.
Carl Fisher : Who are the main fighters you sponsor?
Onno van Ravensteijn : Ramon Dekker, Remco Pardoel, Rob Kaman, many others together with names who are not fighting but still have a lot of attraction. Rob Haans World ju Jitsu champion, free fighters, the lot! Thai boxing we sponsor about fifteen people and a lot of trainers as well. The young kids we give them equipment and supplements to train with and we have fifty to sixty of these people as well.
Carl Fisher : Who set up Nikko Sports?
Onno van Ravensteijn : It was about fourteen to fifteen years ago. A father who was a professor had two sons, Bas and Gores Boon. As both his sons were into martial arts he suggested they start up a business in the South, as you always had to travel to Amsterdam for equipment. They began in a small shop and after a year I became involved as I was doing boxing with Bas and then Bas went into the Nikko Press Video, the whole video department and I look after the shop, and that still happens, but Bas still owns both sections.
Carl Fisher : Whats lined up tournament wise this year?
Onno van Ravensteijn : Three big events in Russia and a big one in Aruba again and if all goes well tomorrow another one at the Ahoy in Rotterdam at the end of the year. Also we will have smaller events lined up, as we want to showcase new talents, as we also sponsor B and C category fighters.
Carl Fisher : Are you interested in events in the UK?
Onno van Ravensteijn : Sure, sure the only thing to agree on is a set of rules. The English mentality is the same as the Dutch they are both people with not too big a mouth, but plenty of fighting spirit and heart. Last year we saw very good Thai and free fighters come through the ranks and the level of the fighters are high, but in the UK you may have five top names and 300 B grade fighters. In Holland, the ratio is a lot higher, but the numbers are growing all the time and its just a matter of time. The reason the Dutch and English get along is that they are not arrogant, they are listeners and want to learn. England has been a country where they have fought for everything in the past, so its in the heart. The same applies to Australia, a strong country built on English roots, and has a good Thai background.
Carl Fisher : Do you still train Onno?
Onno van Ravensteijn : I started doing everything such as Shaolin Kempo when I was young and then boxing until I was 21, then I did Thai Boxing with Micky Bennazouz Samir is fighting tomorrow, very talented and works in our shop. Then I trained in Barukai, which was the start of the Free fight. Then I had a family and I am also a journalist for a heavy metal and hardcore punk magazine, so I have a very busy lifestyle and can only train twice a week to stay in condition.
Carl Fisher : Is free fight more readily available now?
Onno van Ravensteijn : Absolutely as ten years ago there was only Barukai and people thought you were crazy or gangster for taking it up.
Carl Fisher : Who should we look out for in the future?
Onno van Ravensteijn : Too many to name! I think Holland will always have a strong presence in the martial arts, as we have good ju jitsu, Thai and free fighters. The Thai took a dip last year, but with the event tomorrow its back in the public eye once more. When the big names get the attention of the major press and make programmes about them, then you get the attention from the kids and the parents say he looks like a nice guy, not a fucking scumbag you know and when they see that these instructors are nice guys with papers and all that, then theres always a future. People can identify with them when they see them in the street and in person.
Carl Fisher : A bright future for MMA then, Onno?
Onno van Ravensteijn : Without doubt Carl. The mentality on the street is getting harder and the parents want their children protected its a positive thing.
Carl Fisher : Onno thanks for the time.
Onno van Ravensteijn : My pleasure
Carl Fisher ADCC Europe, 25 February 2001
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