Ruben Lee of Spain (left) poses with Sedar Eroglu of Turkey ahead of their kickboxing world championship fight which will take place on Saturday October 8 at Al Nasr’s Rashid Bin Hamdan Hall. Image Credit: Imran Malik / Gulf News

Turkish fighter Sedar Eroglu is all set for his kickboxing world championship title clash in the 90kg category against Spain’s Ruben Lee on Saturday October 8. The star-studded fight night at Al Nasr’s Rashid Bin Hamdan Hall is expected to pull in a large crowd and Eroglu – who has been preparing for this contest for one year – is looking forward to getting into the ring. “I am ready for this fight and I feel I am in great shape and in good form too,” he says. “I am always prepared to fight and I am ready for this challenge. I will give it my best as I always do.”

Eroglu has competed in the UAE before in Abu Dhabi at the World Championships but this will be the first time he battles in Dubai. “I feel very comfortable here in Dubai because the culture here is very similar to back home in Turkey.”

Eroglu has a 28-2-1 professional record and has been the Turkish National champion 17 times. He is also the IFMA Muay thai world champion and Wako Kickboxing world champion. So how does he feel the right with Lee will go? “I will win the title. I am confident. I feel very good, I am strong and I have prepared very well. I have not fought Lee before – this is the first time I will fight him. I have watched his videos and having seen his technique and style I believe I will win. I do not have to say too much – I will let my fighting do my talking for me.”

20 world class fighters

The BKK Kickboxing Championship’s 10-fight card will feature 20 world class fighters and multiple championship winners from around the world, as well as an exciting clash between India’s Muhammed Shuhaib and Shakeel Abdullah Chandio of Pakistan.

“BKK Sports is actually pioneering and championing diversity in sports, you can see from the fight card there are number of countries involved,” says Azim Ijaz, BKK Sports coordinator and head of legal. “We have a Pakistani fighter, an Indian fighter along with the usual fighters from Morocco, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Portugal and Spain. It is the first time fighters from India and Pakistan are fighting on this level. So the one thing we are pushing is diversity so what fight fans can expect here in Dubai is inclusion. We are also looking to find and recruit Philippine, Iranian and Bangladesh fighters – we believe diversity drives development.”

All eyes will be on the main match between Eroglu and Lee. The Turk dabbled with other sports when he was young such as football and swimming but says he did not connect with either of them. “I didn’t really enjoy them. I always liked the aggressive sports more and when I discovered kickboxing it became my life.”

His very first fight was against Thomas Bridgefather in the USA when he was 19-years-old. He lost but made a big impression on everyone including the fans and the organisers. “I took a lot of encouragement from that,” he says.

Lee is the current ISKA World Champion and has won the Europe Championship and the Spanish Championship 10 times. “I am excited to come to Dubai to have the first fight for BKK Sport,” he says. “It is a good opportunity for me to become a better fighter. I believe BKK Sports will become very strong in the future so it is important to have the first fight and do well in that.”

He has had 98 fights and won 68 and has never lost by knockout. “I have never fought Eroglu before but I know he is tough and a very good Turkish fighter and he has won many titles. But he has two arms and two legs like me, so it shouldn’t be a problem!”

Lee says he doesn’t like to research his opponents too much by studying videos of them - he prefers to get into the ring and within a few rounds he says he has figured them out. “My strengths are my kicking, punching and speed around the ring. I think it is going to be a good fight and the people are going to enjoy it.”

Feel confident

He only found out about the fight four days ago and has not had much time to prepare but he says he always keeps in shape and is ready for this challenge. “I feel confident about the fight, I always go into the ring to win and if I can prove myself and put up a good performance I hope BKK Sports will want me for future fights, I would like to work with them for years to come.”

Lee started learning Kung-Fu when he was 16 and lived in China for a year where he attended a military school with 5,000 students. “We did 8 hour training every day,” he recalls. “Discipline was the key here, I would wake up 5am and start my routine. We only had hot water for 1 hour so it was very hard but I learned a lot. I was the only foreigner so everyone was curious about me. I had to learn to fight every day there. This was the reason it made me a top athlete I believe. It made me very powerful.”

He has fought in 15 different countries but this will be his first fight in Dubai. “I am very excited about it. Dubai is a really nice city, there are people living here from all over the world. I hope to give them a good show.”

He has plans to teach kickboxing in the UAE in the future. “Maybe next year I will come to the UAE to teach kickboxing in some schools and gyms. I teach kickboxing in Spain and this is a good opportunity for me and I would love to come to UAE and do this.”