Joe Valtellini Pre-Fight Interview
Published on Jun 21, 2014
On Saturday night ‘Bazooka’ Joe Valtellini (11-2, 10 KO's) will fight GLORY welterweight champion Marc de Bonte (87-11-1, 28 KO's) with the intention of taking the title off him by force.
It is the high point of a short but action-packed GLORY run which has seen Valtellini blast his way from newcomer obscurity to #2-ranked welterweight and title challenger.
Vatellini’s breakout moment was his fight with world #1 Nieky Holzken in the final of December’s
GLORY 13 TOKYO welterweight tournament. He lost that one but won a lot of new fans with his polished and gutsy performance against an established elite talent.
Holzken is currently sidelined with an injury but will face the winner of this weekend’s fight. Valtellini says the rematch is in the bag.
Did you watch De Bonte’s fight with Karapet Karapetyan to win the title at GLORY 16 DEVER back in May?
I’ve definitely watched it a few times, kinda looked at his style and I kinda figured I was fighting him eventually, I even kept my eye on him before Tokyo because he was initially in the tournament so that’s when I was first introduced to him and his style.
You know it’s the welterweight division and he’s one of the top right now so he’s been on my radar so yeah, I think my style and his style, it works to my advantage and I think it’s going to be an exciting fight.
You and him is going to look a lot different to that cagey, technical fight he had with Karapetyan I would have thought?
Yeah, I know they know each other and it was a little bit of a comfort and I know he’s talked about how that’s how he usually doesn’t fight and I’m ready for whatever he brings, if he wants to change his style I can adapt whatever he brings I am ready for and I can adapt to whatever he has.
Did you see what Holzken said? He said he wants you to win this fight because he really likes you as a person, but he “really, really” wants De Bonte to win because there is some business to settle between them.
Ha, that’s funny.
How glad are you that you had that fight with Holzken in retrospect, as a learning curve?
It was a big learning curve for me and it just motivated me to get back in the gym and train harder, you know, that was only my thirteenth professional fight and it just showed that I have so much to work on still.
I want to dominate the weight class, I want to be that champion for a long period of time and if it took something like that to do it, to kind of see if that’s what the best is and I can hang in there with my thirteenth fight it just shows that there’s so much I can learn and keep getting better.
I look at this sport as a martial artist who wants to get better every day, I’m not going to sit here and kind of be happy ever, where I am, it’s about getting better, it’s about improving in every aspect and that just showed me that I want it really badly whatever it takes and yeah, I’m ready for it.
You expanded your camp this time right?
Yeah, there was a lot going on, you know, I really worked on some boxing and got some different sparring partners, I got some different sparring partners and I got to spar on the regular with Simon Marcus and Robert Thomas.
Is this you going outside your gym or bringing guys in?
Yeah we’ve been going out and meeting and got a few regular sparring sessions going. I am boxing with top Canadian boxers; at first going in and having these guys pretty competitive and by the end of camp, I am pushing these top Canadian pro boxers who are going to be the next things in boxing.
So I think overall I just expanded and improved and if that’s what that loss did to me then it’s something positive. You know I don’t even look at that fight as a loss, if you look at all the fans and all the support I got after that, no-one really looked at me as a loser at all, it just shows how motivated I am and how dedicated I am to becoming the Glory World Champion.
Going into that final was win/win really, as long as you didn’t go in there and fall over or something.
To me, if the opportunity is there for a world title, I think it’s, you know, to have one fight in one night, you know, anything can happen in a tournament and you know, recovery time is different you know, the next time we meet, I am sure it will be in an non tournament format and we’ll see what happens there.
GLORY matchmaker Cor Hemmers was also the trainer of the late and legendary Ramon Dekkers and he was telling me that he sees a lot of Dekkers’ style in you, and that when he talked to your coach Paul Minhas, it was revealed that you used to watch a lot of Dekkers.
He was big favorite of mine and even early on in my career people were comparing me to his style, the way he fights, the way he throws his combinations, I was kind of compared to him which is an honor to me, I am happy and that is one of the biggest compliments you can get in the sport to be compared to one of the legends of the sport.
Finishing this off, is there anything catching your eye on the card or any results or predictions you expect? Maybe the Ghita / Verhoeven fight, middleweight tournament?
I don’t know man, to be honest I’ve been asked this question a lot and as a fan of kickboxing, I am excited.
Come on! Don’t be a politician.
Ha! I’m excited, and honestly I’ve been asked many times to pick a winner for the eight man tournament and I really can’t even pick a winner, I can’t.
You know, I always have to support my local Canadian, Simon Marcus right, but again everyone in that tournament as a chance of winning, its so hard.
Even that title fight between Rico and Ghita, I am a fan of both of those guys. Ghita is looking awesome his last few fights, he’s been looking awesome but look at Rico as well you know so, you really can’t pick, as a fan I am excited.
I can’t wait to be done with my fight, take my title, sit in the crowd and watch those fights. I’ll hold my title and watch the top level kick boxers.
What was it like training with Simon Marcus, as he is a weight class higher?
He’s a weight class higher but you know even in my camps, I’m a lot bigger before I make my weight cuts. He’s big but he’s not that big, he’s just lean and he does well but you know sparring with these bigger guys, Robert Thomas as well, after Robert Thomas fought Artem Levin.
He’s a big boy and as I am cutting down to weight, when you’re sparring with these big monsters, you kind of get confidence and when I see De Bonte in front of me, he’s not going to look as big as those guys, you know so it gives that little bit of a confidence boost. In Canada you don’t have many people, I’m just lucky that we have such good talent nearby and we’re able to get together and help each other improve.
Last question, let me get my wooden spoon out and try to stir the pot of controversy with a blatantly leading question: you and fellow Canadian welterweight Georges St. Pierre in a Glory rules kickboxing fight, who wins?
Oh, I do, no doubt. [Laughing] It’s a totally different sport. Everyone keeps telling me there’s no reason you can’t put on a four-ounce glove and fight in the UFC but the way I look at is, it’s a different sport.
I am sure the first thing he would do is take me down and looking at it, an MMA career for me would be takedown defense my whole career and that would be pretty boring for me.
I think you would have to assume that under MMA rules you would lose and under kickboxing rules he would lose.
Absolutely, that’s the way I look at it, it’s a different sport. I give the analogy of racket sports, just because you’re good at tennis doesn’t mean you’re good at badminton and vice versa or if you can play squash, it doesn’t mean you’re going to be a good tennis player, there’s some similarities but they are totally different.