Lee Hasdell - Pre Fight Utrecht
RINGS : Heroes Live Forever!
Interview from the event in Utrecht January 28 2001
Carl Fisher catches up with Lee Hasdell in the changing rooms at Utrecht, prior to his match with Sander Thonhauser
Right I'll get cracking - are you going to change your strategy regarding the fight or are you sticking to what you know best?
Lee Hasdell : Well I'm changing my strategy a little bit - as in that I'm not wearing gloves. I'm not sure if they're aware of it but they'll find out very shortly - hahaha.
Who have you been training with in preparation for this fight?
Lee Hasdell : I've been training with my students Dave Short, Danny Batten, Darren Wood - we've been working on Kickboxing and I've been doing more submission.
Are you going to surprise us with anything tonight?
Lee Hasdell : I'm going to go for submission tonight - I know he's a Kick-boxer but whenever I see him I go for submission and I seem to win - so
How's your year been this year, have you any plans to fight after Millennium Brawl 2?
Lee Hasdell : Well this is my last fight until Millennium Brawl and possibly my last fight. I might have one in Russia but I'm not sure about that yet. I'm actually probably going to do Pro Wrestling after this year.
Where will that be?
Lee Hasdell : Japan, America and England.
Do you want to tell us a bit more about that - how you got into it?
Lee Hasdell : Well I'm 34 years old now I've been fighting professionally now for 9 years and I've had 240 or so matches in Thai-boxing, Kick-boxing, Vale Tudo, Shoot fighting so I've got quite high mileage so I'm interested in going more mainstream - that where my heart is now and for me that seems to be a matter of progression.
So you've had a good career - and got out what you've put in?
Lee Hasdell : Yeah. I've fought in Russia, Holland, Japan - putting all my styles and techniques to the test. Last week I fought in Brazilian Ju-jitsu and won the match - you name it I've done it really.
Who do you see coming through the ranks now in Britain?
Lee Hasdell : Definitely Danny Batten in the lightweight division - he keeps surprising everybody at the gym. He'll tap out the heavyweights and hes only 65 kilos, so I think he'll be a big name. Then the regular guys like Dexter, James, Danny Rushton - I could keep going - but I particularly like James, I've worked with him a lot. He never complains, never makes trouble, he's never bad mouthed me and I consider him to be one of the best in the UK. He puts it on the line; he's been there, whether its injuries or money or whatever, so I respect him for that. Thats why I'd like to give him the opportunity for me to fight him - if I lose, then good luck to him. There wont be any malice, I'll shake his hand and congratulate him and let him carry the torch.
You feel confident then?
Lee Hasdell : Yeah definitely - my condition is good, obviously you get injuries from fighting a lot, I've had a lot of bad smashes - taken a few bumps and bruises but you keep going on and so may the best man win.
Right well can we talk about the standard in Europe of the NHB, are we catching up with the Japanese?
Lee Hasdell : Definitely - yeah - I mean, they've been doing it a lot longer so they've got a head start. A lot of their success has come from the old shoot fighting style of the 80's, so all their techniques from Catch Wrestling and so on are all coming back through - like with Sakuraba, so everyone's helping each other. Everyone is borrowing each others techniques, whether it's American, European or Japanese. It's starting to level out so its getting interesting now.
Who do you value at the moment in Europe NHB wise?
Lee Hasdell : Tough question. Gilbert Yvel, he's very explosive. There's just too many. Best thing is to get them to fight each other and then we'll find out - but its quite difficult as soon as the money's there and the big events in Europe, then I think it'll be done. The trouble with Japan is they're fussy about who goes and they don't want too many Europeans, as there are only 10 matches on a fight card, so its difficult to break into Japan.
Who do you think will be pushing Europe forward?
Lee Hasdell : People like myself, Andy Jardine, organisations that promote Martial Arts. I think we need to go mainstream, I think that the key and get sponsorship. Everyone talks about it but to be honest I don't think we are ready, maybe another year or 2 years. I don't think that the reason it's not big yet - I think that its too early. The sport is too immature and it shows from time to time in the way that fight promoters and organisations are acting at the moment. It just takes time to mature and then it'll be ready to go mainstream. I think if it went that way now it wouldn't last.
Would you like to fight in Pride now you're hanging up your Kickboxing gloves?
Lee Hasdell : I'm not sure my loyalties are with Rings - they got me started in Japan so my loyalty is with them 100% and the only way I could answer that is if mainstream finished and I would consider it, but its obviously not my choice it's very tough to get into Pride they only take the best, you really need to be a champion of Rings before you get the chance. Although when it first formed I was asked for a single match but I had to miss out because of my contract, but that was when it was a single event and no-one knew how big it was going to be.
Well Abu Dhabi is coming up in April - any predictions for there?
Lee Hasdell : Well I'd like to have another go actually, but they're being very strict on the trials. I was invited by the Britons last year and got to fight the number 2 - Mark Robinson - which I just made the weight - I was 99 kilos. They had no space below 99 so I gave away something like 20 kilos, which is a lot in submission wrestling, but I'd love to have another go even -99 or 99+. Looking at last time there were so many good fighters like Mark Kerr, a guy called Mark van Arnsdale he's an Olympic wrestler and he was unbelievable yet no one has ever heard of him. If he entered the NHB circuit he'd clear up. There's so many good wrestlers out there that no one has hear of, with amazing conditioning and skill. The main thing I notice is the American guys have been doing freestyle wrestling in High School for 12 years and then they do 2 years submission and they're unbelievable because they already have the balance, speed and then with the submission techniques .
Well I'll leave you there and let you get back to your preparation. Good luck Lee from everyone at SFUK and thanks for the interview.
Lee Hasdell : Thank you
January 28 2001
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