Endy 'Bad News' Semeleer. 26 years old, Enfusion World Champion and recently signed with Glory to embark on a new chapter in his career.
In the run-up to what was supposed to be his most recent fight, and while he was putting the finishing touches to his training in Spain, the bad news was actually already in the air. What appeared to be a rumour actually turned out to be true. His debut fight for Glory against Harut Grigorian was cancelled because of, well.. Let's say there are different opinions about this. One reason that is being mentioned is the heightened focus on the safety of fighters following the recent fight in Belgium between Badr Hari and Polish Arek Wrzosek in which hooligans nearly destroyed the whole arena. The other explanation for the cancelation is a clumsy error in the organization.
The day following the disappointing news, Warrior Code had the opportunity to speak with Endy about how to deal with such last minute fight cancellations, how it affects your concentration and motivation, how to prevent this in the future and the dream tournament he would one day like to fight in.
Endy, thank you for your time. Not only are you known for being Bad News, you also had some really bad news come your way with last week. Your first match at Glory, there's obviously going to be a lot at stake. What went through your mind when the news got out?
"I would describe the feeling as complicated. Of course you can't do anything about it yourself so it sucks when a fight you've been working towards for such a long time gets called off. It's particularly annoying this time around because it would have been my official debut for Glory."
Can you even tell us as to why it actually didn't go through?
"To be honest, as a fighter you don't really know much more than what gets posted online. I understand that something went wrong in the organisation but I don't know much more than that. Is it therefore difficult to accept that, perhaps because of a futility, and because of something that is completely out of your hands, the fight ultimately didn't happen.
Of course it is very irritating, but I also realise that it makes no sense to dwell on this for too long. Process and continue. That's how I kind of try to look at it."
Has a new date been confirmed for the fight yet?
"Not yet, I believe that will happen next week. Glory wants to organise a new card in June and they would like to add my fight to that but at the moment it is still up in the air."
How does it feel to be in no-man's land? You have pumped yourself up for your fight, lived super focused and disciplined to really work your way up to a climax on this particular date.
"I spent the last part of my training in Spain to basically isolate myself there with my team for a period of time from the rest of the world so I could fully concentrate on the fight. At one point there was a rumour that it might not go through, so you actually notice that that alone has quite an impact on your concentration. It becomes more difficult to keep yourself motivated and to keep training with the same intensity because it may actually be for nothing.
Well, I say something because it's never for nothing of course. However, it feels that way because the pace at which we are training at that moment is so high because it is for a specific party. If you then know that it might not happen, that is sour to accept. After the rumour came the confirmation that the fight would actually not take place, which means that the gas will immediately go off. That's up to it but I'm actually in a situation now where I think my fight would be next month but I'm not sure.
How do I adjust my training and preparation to that and when do I have to raise the pace again? This is my first time experiencing this and I find it quite difficult."
Should you just bet on that possible date in June and hope that the fight does indeed take place?
"The date being discussed is June 25th and should be confirmed at the end of this week or early next so once that happens the pace will just pick up again. I'll have to be patient, but that's about the only way I can handle this.
Your opponent is of course in the same situation but this match must have felt special to you, your debut at Glory.
Grigorian is a hard fighter and can punch hard and of course I know how to deal with that. In my view, this match should have been a real firecracker and a spectacular first chapter in Glory for me."
Your nickname is Endy “Bad news” Semeleer. Can you briefly tell us where exactly this name came from?
"Actually by one specific party. At one point I had an opponent in a match and we knew it was really just a level mismatch. So, within the team we said at the time that that would be just bad news for him if he had to fight me.
The fight was eventually canceled because the organisation also realized that the level was too far apart. I was then assigned a new opponent, but the Bad News nickname was already set in stone, as it were. I'm Bad News to everyone because I'm just going to be the best."
You recently switched to Glory. Of course, that was to take on a new challenge but also because you had simply won everything there was to win and you needed new opponents. It is clear that at the moment the kickboxing world is divided into different organizations, but isn't it also cumbersome that you have to switch federations to be able to fight against guys in the same country?
"For me, as you say, the move to Glory was indeed to take on a new challenge. New faces and new platform to put my name on and build a reputation. Is it cumbersome to switch bonds? Of course with Glory Rivals we were already taking steps to make it easier to compete against other fighters from outside your league.
For me, of course, the easiest thing would have been if I could have kept fighting for Enfusion and just compete against fighters from Glory or any other organization. Glory has some nice names around, so does Enfusion, so why can't we talk about which fighter is the best instead of which organization is the best? For example, the champion of Glory does not necessarily have to be the best of Enfusion and vice versa. Well, the champion of Enfusion is of course also the future champion of Glory if you know what I mean.
If you want to be and be a champion, then you are someone who wants to fight against everything and everyone and be the best. I put myself in this group so I want to compete against everyone and that's why it's important, whether you signed with Enfusion or Glory, that you have the opportunity to compete against any fighter."
Do I sense a longing for a particular tournament that no longer exists?
"Correct, the K1. In fact, we need another tournament like K1, a moment of the year where the best fighters in the world come together and a real showdown takes place.
The great thing about K1 is that it doesn't matter who you are signed to, which country you come from or where you train, this tournament can really determine who is the best kickboxer in the world at that moment."