Nieky Holzken: kickboxing goals and caged boxing w/ ONE Championship
Last time out, Nieky Holzken secured a first-round stoppage victory in his kickboxing contest with Elliot Compton. This occurred inside Singapore Indoor Stadium in less than two minutes, fittingly at ONE Championship: Big Bang II.
The decorated former kickboxing champion is emphatically looking to reinsert himself into top contender talks with quality performances like that.
Below are several excerpts from my recent conversation with Nieky Holzken.
Last time with Elliot Compton there…Getting the trademark body shot, digging hook to the liver. Was that as comprehensive of a performance as you could have had? Because that seems like textbook Nieky Holzken.
“When I’m feeling good in my head. When I’m 100%, I know everything I do can be a knockout. But my trademark is a body shot and sometimes the people are open for the body shot. I say before the fight I’m gonna knock him out with a body shot and it happens. So I see it before.”
Was it something you’d seen in footage on him? Did he kind of leave the body open a little bit or just more so speaking to your ability to find the body and get that going yourself?
“After watching some of his videos. I saw his hands were really like Muay Thai and hands up. Elbows not to the body. So then I can deliver the liver punch.”
As much as you’ve been active in the kickboxing sphere I was also noticing you’ve been active in the boxing world for a little bit there too.
You had that short-notice fight with Callum Smith on four days notice there from what I was seeing and obviously, Callum Smith recently had that fight with Canelo Alvarez. Did you end up checking out that fight there and if so what were your thoughts on that?
“I think if I had a proper camp of two months. It would be a different fight against Callum Smith, I know for sure. Because I pressured him for 12 rounds on his back feet. So it was very difficult for him and I think he underestimated me. But I think me against Canelo Alvarez that would be a hell of a fight. Because we both want to fight and want to knock people out. And we have a little bit the same style with a body shot and everything. So that would be a great fight, I think.”
That was a curious kind of fight because I think people that knew your kickboxing background weren’t surprised at you having a quality performance there against Callum Smith. But I think a lot of the boxing aficionados were kind of surprised by that. Just because that had been your biggest test in boxing up until that prior point there.
So I mean despite it being a losing effort, is there a degree of confidence you get from that? And if so, are we looking at more boxing fights going forward and trying to take certain fights on that level in the boxing sphere? Or is kickboxing still ultimately going to be the main focus?
“On this point, kickboxing is a priority. But I would love to have some boxing matches at ONE Championship. That would be great. I know that they have done it in the past. So it would be great to do a boxing match in a cage whenever that happens. So that would be awesome. But the priority lays on kickboxing. Because there are no big fights for me heading towards boxing. But if that was possible, I really would like to box because I really like it.”
You’ve contended a couple times for that ONE Championship welterweight belt. What do you think the path back to championship contention looks?
“If I keep knocking people out or winning my fights. I think I’m still the number one challenger. It would be automatically that he has to defend the title against me again. I was a little bit unlucky the first fight with the knee….Hats off to Regian Eersel….Let’s get another title shot.”
It seems like just being part of ONE Championship is something that’s very important to you, overall….I mean your pinned tweet is a clip from your debut performance there.
What has it been like over the last couple years to just kind of grow with ONE Championship and then also watch the promotion grow in accordance with that?
“Yeah, it’s really nice to be a part of ONE Championship because yeah, they are very good for their fighters. Especially for media, they treat me very good. I’m looking forward to working for a long time with them. It’s nice to see them grow also. It’s just nice to be at ONE Championship because it’s much better than the other organizations that I’ve fought for in the past. They really treat it like a business and ONE Championship really treat you like an athlete.”
Yeah, because it seemed like at least from my perspective and I mean you could correct me if this isn’t the case but it seemed like things towards the end of your Glory run didn’t end maybe as neatly as they could have.
So to that point there’s probably a renewed sense of enthusiasm being part of a promotion like ONE Championship.
“Yeah, Glory didn’t treat me so good last couple of fights. Because the first fight, they let me lose. After twelve fights they let me lose on one point when I was champion. Everybody say I could never lose that fight against a guy who was just running away for five rounds. Make one light point and running away, stick his tongue out of his mouth. It was not a clear win from that guy but it was a French guy and the boss from GLORY is a French guy. So after they let him win, they have a contract with a big television company in France.”
Who do you want to see Nieky Holzken face next in the ONE Championship Circle?
I’ve been enamored with combat sports for as long as I can remember. I’ve hosted MMA talk shows Lights Out and Pure Fight Radio with featured guests like Jens Pulver, Roy Nelson, Miesha Tate, Mark Coleman, and more. I’ve been an MMA broadcaster for XFFC as well as BTC and have done play by play commentary on live pay per view on GFL as well as FITE TV. I’ve provided written, audio, and video content covering some of the biggest MMA promotions like Rumble in the Cage, Unified MMA, and King of the Cage. I’ve worked as a sports entertainment personality for over five years and given play-by-play or featured promotions of KSW, ONE Championship, TKO, and Invicta FC. My work can be found in the USA Today Sports affiliate MMA Torch, Cageside Press, MMA Sucka, and Liberty Multimedia.