THE NEW GENERATION OF DUTCH SUPERSTARS SHINE BRIGHTLY
BY KOSTAS ARGYRIADIS
Normally shows of this magnitude in Holland are held in the always packed 5.000 seat temple of kickboxing: “Sporthal Zuid” in Amsterdam. This time however the town of Den Bosch, hometown of WPKL World Champion William van Roosmalen, in the south of the country near the Belgian border was chosen by super promoter Mohammed Aithassou as the stage of a truly great night of fight action.
HASSAN ETTAKI VS KURT DE PAUW
IKBF European Champion, WKA World Champion Muay Thai and WAKO Pro World Champion kickboxing, “The Bold Belgian” Kurt de Pauw, in the first headline fight of the evening, came in with an impressive record of 49 fights, 41 wins, 7 losses, 1 draw, with 12 K.O.’s His opponent; Hassan Ettaki, probably the best knee fighter on the international circuit today, has half the amount of fights of the Belgian, but just came off a sensational first round TKO win over the legendary Ivan Hippolythe. Ettaki started out in force, showing his usual display of spectacular spinning kicks and superior clinching teckniaues. The experienced de Pauw however kept his head clear and stood his ground. Things looked bad for de Pauw, when in the second round he got dropped by a fierce knee and took a standing 8 count. It only seemed a matter of time before Ettaki would add yet KO statistic to his record. Not so ! for the remainder of the fight, a cautious fighting de Pauw did a fine job of keeping the attacking Ettaki at bay with front kicks and countering well with hand techniaues, even having the Dutch Moroccan in a slight spot of bother at the beginning of the third. Leading all through the fight, Ettaki got the narrow points win.
NAJIM TOUHLALI VS RYAN SIMPSON
Next on the card was a European title fight Muay Thai. Unbeaten Najim is the latest sensation of Dutch Muay Thai ! A spectacular fighter who has come through the ranks like a comet, cruising straight for the World Title. His opponent: none other than Ryan Simpson; a fighter who some already call “the new Ernesto Hoost”. Winner of the 1997 Dutch award for the most technically gifted fighter; the man who this year beat Ramon Dekker by KO and subsectuently won the prestigious US $ 15.000 1997 S.Cup shootboxing tournament in Japan.
The bout turned out to be everything it promised to be on paper: a great fight, with both boys showing superb technical skills in every department. A well balanced encounter enjoyed by the crowd, with Simpson relying a more on his lightning fast hand combinations and Najim putting emphasis on his kicks. On my card the fight was dead even until the fifth. In the last round Simpson really started smokin’ and hurt Najim on several occasions but was unable to finish him off. Result: a narrow, but deserved points win for Simpson.
MOHAMMED OUALI VS GERALD MAMADEUS
WPKL World Champion kickboxing 66.6 Kg Mohammed Ouali, and his opponent ex Full Contact (kicks only above the waist) World Champion Gerald Mamadeus are always crowd favorites and true to their reputation did not let the fans down. After an incredible display of spinning kicks, knees and sharp hand techniques from both boys which had the crowd on the edge of their seat, Ouali’s hard leg kicks and better clinch work just gave him the edge and the points win.
WILLIAM VAN ROOSMALEN VS PARIS VASSILIKOS
Main event of the evening was the WPKL heavyweight kickboxing world title fight between William van Roosmalen from Holland and Paris “The Golden Greek” Vassilikos. Van Roosmalen is any fighter’s worse nightmare and has been unbeaten for six years. The Dutchman is a real spoiler with an unpredictable unorthodox style. One of his most peculiar and very personal technique, is the close-in leg kick. Holding his opponent in the clinch he shifts his pelvis, much like one would do when throwing a close-in knee to the side of the body, makes a swagging move and simply lets his shin drop like a log on the other fighters thigh. Vassilikos on the other hand is the complete opposite of Roosmalen, light on his feet and a true ring technician. The Greek made headlines a few months ago, when he beat WKA kickboxing world champion Mark Russel, a fight that got him this shot at the WPKL world title. Round one and two showed van Roosmalen monopolizing centre ring, throwing hard one off techniques, trying in vain to catch the elusive Greek. Vassilikos for his part stayed close to the ropes working short bursts of combinations, always having the best of any encounter, trying to frustrate the sluggish van Roosmalen. Having figured out the Dutchman’s style, the Greek took the initiative in round three and kept it up through round seven, showing superb technique going high and low with the hands and even twice catching van Roosmalen with high kicks that rocked the big Dutchman’s head back.
Van Roosmalen’s incredible ability to absorb punishment is already legendary to ring connoisseurs and on the night we were again treated to a demonstration of it. The 97 Kg Dutch giant lust shrug off anything Vassilikos had thrown at him in the previous rounds and turned the fight his way in the 7th, 8th and ninth, throwing some serious leather to the Greek who showed signs of fatigue. The Greek got his second wind in the tenth and in a second dramatic turn around of the fight, again took control of the bout forcing the Dutchman on the backpace and taking the well deserved points win in the lion’s pit itself: van Roosmalen’s hometown.
P.S. With van Roosmalen lust having signed up a three fight deal with the KRS, the big competitor of Master Ishii’s K-1 shows in Japan, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Vassilikos in one of the next K-1’s. For those unfamiliar with the KRS; this organization filled up the huge Tokyo Dome for their first super show and also has signed up Branco Cikatic for a record amount of half a million dollar.
Text and Photos: KOSTAS ARGYRIADIS