“I fight not for money”
Ivan Shtyrkov from Yekaterinburg burst into MMA world and immediately asserted about himself. His name was recognized far beyond borders of Russia after the scandal fight with famous Jeffrey Monson and no less entourage bout with a MMA grandee, Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva .
Both these bouts Ivan won. Now Ural boxer is preparing for his 10th bout in the career. In previous 9 bouts he won, there are no defeats. The next fight will take place on May,5 with Philip De Fries from Great Britain at the international tournament “Victory Day 72”.
In two weeks before the bout Ivan Shtyrkov gave the portal E1.RU large interview.
- Now the active preparation for the tournament on May,5 is going on – said Ivan Shtyrkov – after Silva I already had a fight in Chelyabinsk. New bout is at hand. As the saying goes, we only dream of rest.
- How hard is it to live in such an order?
- I think I am motivated by the fact that I am winning, I see how I am developing in technique and preparation. I have all conditions for doing my favorite work. I blend business with pleasure. It motivates to go further. I don’t think about tiredness. If I manage to have a rest after the bout for a week, there is no way to avoid light trainings.
- You had bouts with world stars – Monson and "Bigfoot" Silva. Is it interesting to fight with much less famous fighter after that? Is it harder to set your mind on?
- In this case I have a clear viewpoint – I’m preparing for every rival. It doesn’t matter whether he is famous or not. The main thing is that I should be ready for the bout, that there is calmness in my mind from the thought that I did everything not to lose. It’s important to be honest with yourself and devote yourself to your work.
- Did the preparation for the fight with Bigfoot take more time than with any other fighter?
- I was preparing not for Bigfoot initially. Actually, I learned that I would fight with him only in three weeks before the bout. When I got to know about the fight with Antonio "Bigfoot” Silva I had a lot of emotions. But, generally, to fight with any rival is a big responsibility. It’s very important to understand that there are no weak opponents and as my coach says: “There are no weak rivals, there are weak us”.
- What thoughts do you have before the next bout on May,5 about your rival - Philip De Fries from Great Britain?
- As it often happens in my category he is a tall fighter, about 193sm. He is a wrestler. From 12 victories he has 10 “submissions”, i.e. painful and chocking moves. His technique of bout is fight, grappling (grappling is a kind of single combat which combines technique of all fight disciplines with minimum limitations in using painful and chocking moves). But personally I’ve watched only two bouts with him. Mainly these bouts were watched by Alexander Shlemenko, under supervision of whom I was in training camp for three weeks in Omsk at single combats school “Storm”. I’ll definitely watch his fights to make a certain tactics for the bout.
- What the scratch do you have on your nose?
- Nothing to worry about, it’s just a dissection after sparring at the school of Alexander Shlemenko.
- What did Alexander Shlemenko say about your qualities, technique and physical shape?
- Earlier I also trained in training camps under his supervision. Mainly he gave me pieces of advice how to prepare. He also said the functional shape became better exactly for bouts and I managed to improve some technical aspects.
- Did he say what else needs to be improved?
- A lot of things. In every aspect. Only by its name MMA implies that you have to be able to do everything: punch, fight, defend.
- Your next rival took part in a UFC bout (Ultimate Fighting Championship – MMA sport organization in Las-Vegas). What does it mean for you?
- In the USA UFC is the main fights promotion, it embraces a great amount of fighters but it doesn’t mean that Russian boxers are worse. This kind of sport is just more popular there. Though, the participation in UFC is surely the level, it shows strength and experience of a person who managed to get into such a big promotion. But whoever the rival is, I have no problems with my mind. I never weaken myself.
- You take part in MMA already for three year. Do you have enough time to understand whether it is your cup of tea or not?
- On the whole I treat sport with respect. Sport gave me everything I have now. Sport made the person I am, not from sport point of view but as a human being. In bouts a crucial point was after the fight with Monson. After that a lot of things have changed in my life.
- What has changed? Perception of MMA world? Many people think it’s just a business…
- I wouldn’t call it a business. For an athlete it is a work and favorite affair. One cannot treat it just as business, it can be fraught. Material motivation is the weakest motivation in our life. And a lot changed in my life. It was the first really professional fight, previous ones, I could say, were half-amateur. That’s why my style of life changed, my understanding of what I am doing and what for. New opportunities opened and I started to understand that it’s in my line. It’s the responsibility and huge work that makes you stronger. Everything was developing so fast, there appeared – I don’t like this word – fame. If previously only my narrow circle knew who I was then on the Internet there were a lot of information about me, I was shocked a bit. I had to get used to it.
- Now do you?
- Now I try to abstract my mind from this and take critics differently. Honestly, I don’t read comments.
- Have you managed to take this punch?
- Maybe I learned how to avoid this punch when I isolate myself completely from the outer world of people who pour this entire negative on me not understanding what they are talking about. I understand all my responsibility. Nobody is insured against defeats. Today you can be a star, they predict you a big future but tomorrow you fall in knock down or get severe injury. But this style of life with risk is a choice of a sportsman, a fighter. It’s my way, I chose it.
- Sorry for question: does your mother know what you are doing?
- Of course (laughing). At the age of 6 my parents brought me not into singing or fortepiano classes but in sambo. It’s not the most humane kind of sport. Sport sambo is one of the hardest martial art. During all my life I have scratches, bruises and injuries. They knew what they were doing initially but didn’t know into what it would develop further. Of course parents worry but support me.
- How does it happen? Do you call you mother and say “Mom, today I have a bout…”?
- She knows everything because all this information is on the Internet. When there were first bouts, she was skeptic about whether it was worth. Now parents understand that it’s my favorite work where I go every day. It’s the same trainings and preparation. They see that I like it, that I am happy from what I’m doing. After a fight we, of course, call up and speak. The most important thing is the support of close people. Luck is also of no small importance. There are factors which we can’t control. It’s life. In every sphere it’s so.
- What is your global goal? For example, a football player dreams, generally speaking, to win the League of Champions. What plans and goals do you have?
- My main goal is to become a highly-skilled fighter. I want to wake up in the morning and understand that I’ve done something, that I deserve this or that thing which I have in my life. That I’ve deserved these fights, people’s recognition that I have now or will have in the future. But at the same time to be honest with myself and close people. I want to be a professional in this sphere. Work needs to be done well; it can be bad by itself. What’s the point then?
- On the ring you already look so cool, strong and powerful. What else you want to improve?
- Here is the thing.
I like MMA because there are many techniques, different programs, schools of various single combats ranging from jujutsu to boxing and karate. These kinds of sport differ from each other so much. One may become a highly-skilled specialist in this diversity and combine all that. For example, it’s possible to try to win a boxer with hands, to compete with a kick-boxer in foot punch technique or to fight better than a grappler. It’s cool. Everyone surely has his own limit but one should strive to it. It’s interesting, I have special attitude to sport. I live this and do it not for money, fame and popularity. It’s nothing. It’s just our world. Today it’s impossible to live without publicity, people should recognize you but a sportsman shouldn’t think about it. Today it exists but tomorrow doesn’t. It’s not of benefit.
- Have you watched a bout with Bigfoot once again? (Ivan Shtyrkov won by a decision of judges in the bout with Bigfoot but some spectators thought it was unfair).
- Yes, I watched it one more time in the morning after the bout. Woke up and watched. I heard many opinions. When I go for a fight I always respect my rival. Maybe, sometimes it plays a bad joke with me because I am supposed to feel angry, in an amicable way. I have a little of this aggression; I need to work on it. I respected Bigfoot as a good fighter and person, I didn’t hear bad opinions about him and then he started to publish some strange posts.
- Why? Did he think that the results were unfair?
- However much I re-watched this bout it’s possible just to sit and recount points. Here it’s important to be honest with yourself. If I really lost in that bout I would admit it and write in all comments – yes, fans, something like that. But now I can’t say that I lost it.
- What posts did Bigfoot publish?
- He said: “I went to drink beer after a fight and my rival was taken to a hospital…” I can say one thing – I did my best in this bout that’s why I won. I was taken to a hospital not in that sense; we just went to check me because people who give me the opportunity to fight worry about me.
- There is nothing surprising– it’s still an injury-prone kind of sport.
- Yes, I missed one punch, I was so tired and doctors helped me. What’s wrong with it? And going to drink beer shows what? For some reason he doesn’t say this in commentaries. I said it at the press-conference that he fell outside the ring by knock-down after which he failed to rehabilitate. After punching once again he crawled out behind the ropes. For that I think he had to be given yellow card. If a boxer just craws behind the ropes he is disqualified. You crawled behind ropes, you don’t want to fight then go home. I think it is surrender. It’s a tactic action but nobody speaks about it.
- Bigfoot was indignant that the bout was stopped sometimes…
- There was a situation with a gum shield. I went up on the ring; they gave me the gum shield and brought me back in the stalls from the back. That is they gave him back position and did better for him, not for me. I re-watched the bout because initially some thoughts crept in…
- That you lost?
- Yes, but I re-watched it and doubts disappeared. I don’t understand what he did in the 3rd round that to give him “10-7” assessment. I don’t know, I didn’t like his behavior. Of course, who I am to speak about it. He is a good fighter and did a lot for his MMA career. But it’s offensive for me when such people start to justify; there are videos and we can watch them.
- Have you read comments?
- Yes, there were comments that I was tired, “died”, there was no physics. Guys, what are you talking about? I fought with Bigfoot. Of course I was tired. I appeared on the ring to be tired; I had to be in that state. Every fighter should be in such a state if his rival is better in experience, strength and weight. It’s normal that a fighter was brought from ring. Why can’t he go with the help of his seconds? I go to fight. If people go to earn money by their name it’s also not shameful but in this case let’s don’t talk such things.
- Generally, he seemed not to remain even the second round…
- On the videos it’s seen that referee wanted to stop the bout but the main one asked to wait. I don’t mind, there was no necessity to stop the bout there. Well, in the third round he maybe looked better. But if you watch the second round… We counted – there were 109 punches at the target .That means that everything is counted.
- Was it your most difficult bout?
- Surely. It’s hard in the way of psychology. It’s seen in face-to-face, in the way I went on the ring that I worried so much. I don’t fear, there was exactly nervousness. I’ve never worried so much before. After that bout a great jump occurred in the way of psychology. After that case calmness appeared inside. This bout gave huge start with regard to psychology. I treat this bout with great responsibility. I have no right to lose the grade.
- There are 2 weeks left before the tournament on May,5. What are you going to do?
- Training took me 9 weeks. Firstly I trained here in Yekaterinburg, and then went to Alexander Shlemenko in Omsk. It was three weeks of work, fight, sparring, cross fits. Now we have more work – two trainings a day. And the week before the tournament will be easier, just for tone and rehabilitation. I don’t make any plans for the bout, just hope to do what I planned.
Interview is prepared by E1.ru portal.