Kickboxing boss Stephane Cabrera shares his professional opinion and expertise with Don Roid on FightBox podcast.
The World Kickboxing Network (WKN) president Stephane Cabrera is involved in the industry of the fighting sports for over 25 years. He is the man who is credited with helping popularizing the sport across the entire world. On September 24 Cabrera presented at the Makowski Fighting Championship 10 event in Poland. The following morning Don Roid took an exclusive interview from Mr President that featured on FightBox Podcast 91.
Don Roid is a professional wrestler from Erie, Pennsylvania, USA. During the 15 years he has competed in nine different countries. Roid presently resides in Poland where in 2009 he launched the country’s first ever pro-wrestling promotion, Do or Die Wrestling. An experienced athlete now dedicates his talent to media, being a TV commentator and journalist. At FightBox Podcast he runs an interview show where he talks to international athletes of all fighting disciplines, as well as the top level specialists in the industry.
Stephane Cabrera on FightBox Podcast with Don Roid
A slightly slow talk quickly evolves into an incredibly exciting conversation. It starts with an overview of the MFC 10 show that happened the night before. Cabrera outlines the success of the promotion specifying that “ten shows mean that it is something that is working”. Indeed, the debut MFC was back in 2011 when Makowski KO’d Australian Brett Craine-White in the defense of his WKN world title. Cabrera points out that the event itself was a gala for everyone.
“Anybody that comes to the show like this, even he doesn’t know about kickboxing, he will enjoy,” he says.
Roid then brings Tomasz Makowski to the conversation, presenting him as a ‘really popular guy’ who is followed by many in Poland, even though he is from a very small town.
“In the kickboxing international market he [Makowski] is an image of Poland. He is the most famous. Everybody knows his name,” Cabrera says. “With our company he has fought nearly everywhere”.
“It is very important to be popular in your home place. But to be more – you need to go international.”
Cabrera outlines that it is a pride for the nation to see their local star representing the whole country on the world stage. He also reflects back on the day when Makowski proved his talents taking a bout on a week notice against Loris Audoui in Guadeloupe. He then fought throughout Europe as well as featured on the 2013 Total Carnage fight night here on the Gold Coast, Australia. Conclusively, he is the kickboxing name from Poland that everybody knows.
The conversation then led to the level of kickboxing in Poland in comparison to the rest of the world. Stephane Cabrera describes Polish kickboxers as the ‘pioneers in this sport’.
“There have always been Polish kickboxers who are famous,” he says. The name of a 10-time world champion Marek Piotrowski emerged, and was followed by a 7-time world champion Cezary Podraza, who also went in history as the first world champion in WKN. In conclusion Cabrera adds that “on the international level Polish kickboxers are famous as good sportsmen and always very hard”.
“If you see on the boxing scene – is exactly the same. This is kickboxing, it is another sport. But at the end this is the same spirit”.
Roid raises the MMA topic, saying ‘kickboxing is still a little bit behind’, as well as asking Cabrera what in his opinion needs to be done to bring kickboxing up.
WKN boss explains that MMA is on the top level because of the USA. He says that “USA invades with the image, the name and the fame, all Europe and all the world.” Particularly about Poland, he says that the country has a history in the sport, consequently ‘any kind of fighting will be popular’.
“This one [MMA] is the last one. So the last sometime is the most popular.”
He also adds that he thinks that there is no competition, while looking at the global image of fighting sports.
“This is the fight world. We have different branches. We have boxing, kickboxing, thai-boxing, full contact also; and the MMA.”
Cabrera certainly compares the above with the economy of the country saying “This is its [MMA] time. It goes up, then it goes down.”
Roid is then asking about the next big name under the WKN banner. Indeed, Jerome Le Banner, Nathan ‘Carnage’ Corbett, Jorge ‘Acero’ Cali are some of the most honorable WKN champions of the last decade. Cabrera says it is practically impossible to out-stand one, since there are many, due to the WKN operating on each continent with dozens of local stars. The names of Tomas Mozny and Amel Dehby would be just a couple to name.
The conversation evolves into the topic of the actual job of Stephane Cabrera as the president of the World Kickboxing Network.
“I can not say this is my job, because this is my life. This is something that I love.”
Cabrera says he wouldn’t be flying across the Planet if he didn’t like what he does for sport. Staying in the airport, change of the time zones is certainly very exhausting. However as an ambassador of kickboxing, he with no doubts targets the best for the sport.
“Now kickboxing is difficult to see as a global sport,” he says.
“Before when it was the start – you had the world star. Then after with K-1 it was also the world star.”
“Now you can not say there is a world star.”
“But you have in nearly each country some national stars. So what is very important for me to develop.”
“This is the kind of things that I try to work – to take the national star and to make them fight outside the country. This is my job.
“I like to develop and make history.”
In regards to history, in very deed, the World Kickboxing Network is the number one on the multiple occasions.
As an example the WKN is the first organization to promote the world championship in muaythai at the same event as the world championship in boxing. Jerome Le Banner vs Espedito Da Silva for the WKN super heavyweight world title featured on the under card of Evander Holyfield vs Vaughn Bean for the WBA and IBF heavyweight titles at Georgia Dome in Atlanta, USA on September 19, 1998. The WKN made history in Romania by promoting the first ever world kickboxing championship on the territory of the country at the LocalKombat project that eventually developed into the SuperKombat concept.
To top up the bill, only last Saturday, October 1, 2016 the WKN is the first ever organization to bring a kickboxer from Colombia to compete on European soil. Andres Dussan faced off Tomas Senkyr of Slovakia at Simply The Best 11 Poprad. The list is endless.
On the podcast Iran comes as an example for which the WKN is a unique organization to lift the level of kickboxing internationally. Cabrera outlines that it is his main goal – to bring the national stars onto the world level. This what makes the sport grow. In two weeks he brings a fighter from Iran to compete in Japan. In November another one is fighting in Belgium.
Even for Australia that is a well-developed country, thanks to the WKN the national stars such as Robert Powdrill and Danial ‘Mini T’ Williams received their debut opportunities to compete in Europe and Japan. The two are on the list of over twenty athletes, including Australian first string female muaythai fighter Yolanda Schimdt, who’s names the WKN has elevated during the last five years.
In regards to the competition with other federations, kickboxing boss Stephane Cabrera simply outlines that he is ‘complete’.
“Competition is always good because it makes you grow.”
“Me I don’t feel any competition. Since long my work is settled and I have all and everything,”
“So I make the sport. Not for the money.”
“I make it because I like it. It means I love it. So what I do – I do because I want. Nobody pushes me to do anything.”
“I think first for the fighters and for the image of sport.”
“Concurrence is good. Somebody does good – I need to do better.”
The interview includes the topics of the television, where kickboxing today is certainly an acceptable sport for practically any audience. They talk about women’s sport where Cabrera mentions that they might restart the Bigger’s Better Girl Power in 2017. It also touches the subjects of collaborations with other organizations, including SuperKombat, Glory and Kunlun, as well as Chinese market in particular.
In addition the WKN boss Stephane Cabrera recollects on his own fighting career, as well as France’s national sport Savate. A former 4-time French champion was meant to fight Carl Emery of Switzerland for a unified WKN/ISKA European title. Due to injury he was forced to stop fighting and instead he has built the KBCM fight team that led him to work as the trainer, manager and promoter.
Cabrera mentions on the formation of the World Kickboxing Network together with Olivier Muller, as well as being ISKA representative, and also the promoter of over 40 shows in France and Caribbean. Those shows that a former 4-time world champion from Northern Ireland, Billy Murray described in mid 90’s as the ‘really big events with the music, the lights the drama of the thing. “You come away from one of Stephane’s shows and know you have had your money’s worth,” Murray wrote.
Stephane Cabrera and Don Roid end the podcast on a positive note looking forward to the next rendez-vous.
The WKN world series Simply The Best make a debut in Poland with the 13th chapter on December 3. The event airs live on FightBox HD with the following broadcast throughout European continent by SFR Sport 5.