Interview with Andrei Manzolo

Courtesy of Vitaly Versterinen,  freelance correspondent for weekly "MK Estonia". The article has been published in 25 September 2013 issue. EAK brings to your attention the article in full length.

We met
with Andrei Manzolo on September 13, the day before his fight with Max Vyrovski,
which was held as part of the Xplosion event.

In the
beginning of the interview I would like to introduce you to the audience, which
is not familiar with kickboxing. How many years have you been going in for
kickboxing and what made you come for training the first time?

I have been going in for kickboxing for about
10 years. Before that I had been going in for karate and a little for boxing.
When I was a child I watched movies with Stallone and Van Damme, and that urged
me to go in for training. I heard a lot about coach Dima Vorobyov, then I saw
him and came to him at the EAK (Estonian Academy of Kickboxing) club and
started training. Then I found out that there were a lot of competitions and
decided to participate.

already have a number of titles. Name the most significant ones.

WAKO champion of Estonia, WKA champion of
Latvia, WFCA, WAKO, WKA champion of Baltic States, acting IsKA King of the ring
champion in Muay Thai, used to be WKA bronze medallist in Muay Thai and
champion of Europe in K-1.

which title did you have to fight the hardest?
I had a lot of hard fights. I didn't win some of them, but I can't single out
any particular fight.

category do you like most of all?

Most of all I like category K-1, and during
workouts I prefer boxing.

those who don't know – what is K-1?

K-1 is very similar to kickboxing: you may
punch and kick any part of the body, and knee strikes are allowed.

now train and fight under contract in the UK. What is the contract and what is
the club's name?

Yes, really, I had decided to go to the UK
for some time. There are a lot of fights there and a different level of
training. There I participate in ultimate fights, K-1, and Muay Thai. I fought
even as a boxer. I fought with the champion of the UK and won by scores. This
is a good opportunity to earn money, gain experience and become more famous.
The club I fight for works with the Phoenix MMA club.

are your impressions from training and are there any fundamental peculiarities?

Training in the UK is much different; a lot
of attention is paid to endurance. Loads are greater than at home. And striking
techniques are quite different. A lot of punching combinations. Series of 6 to
8 punches, which is rather rare in Estonia.

my visit to the UK I realized that their food, to say the least, leaves much to
be desired, and diet is extremely important for an athlete. Do you have any
problems connected with food and how do you solve them?

Yes, that's true. There's a lot of fast food
in stores and snack bars. It is very difficult to find healthy food. For me it
is a big problem. There's no cottage cheese and it is practically impossible to
find good yogurt and many other ordinary products. I have to spend significant
time in the bathhouse to keep myself in good shape or to eat chicken and salads
for several weeks, though for me it is very difficult and I don’t always do it.

for a fight should be not only physical but also psychological. What is more
important for you and what takes more energy?

Honestly, I always have more physical
preparation but sometimes problems with psychological preparation may arise.
Everything may get upset on the last day before the fight. It is a quite
frequent situation that even though you might be well-prepared, you may lose
because you burn out psychologically on the day of fight. I try not to think
about victory, not to think about loss. I just go out to demonstrate what I
have learned. I go out to fight. Before that I am relaxed and try not to think
about what is waiting for me in the ring. Sometimes I tell the guys that I will
fight in several hours but I don't even feel it. The very feeling of the
upcoming event comes to me when I start changing clothes and putting on the

So you
have put on the gloves. You are ready to fight. How do you tune yourself with
respect to the rival? Maybe you make yourself angry or something else?

I tried to do that but I'm very kind and I can't
be angry. I don't think about how he can do harm to me. On the contrary, I try
to feel nothing but respect towards him. Only during the fight I wait for him
to start attacking me and then a veil descends over my eyes. At that moment I
don't hear anything, I don't see anybody around me, I just fight and do what I
have been coached to do until the gong sounds.

do you do in a situation when your rival is trying to disrupt your
psychological balance? Some fighters use disgraceful tricks for that purpose, say
unpleasant things and so on.

It is very difficult to put me out of temper
in such a manner. I just do not pay attention to such insults. On the contrary,
I want the rival to lose his temper and become aggressive. This is more
suitable for my manner of fighting.

How do
you relax after the fight?

You may not believe me, but I drink beer
immediately, and sometimes I drink a LOT of beer. I also like rum and whiskey.
This is my method of relaxation. Then I go to the bathhouse or the swimming pool.
If I am not injured, I start training already in a few days.

qualities must a real fighter have?

He must be self-possessed, sober-minded, respectful,
patient and courageous.

are already an idol for many young athletes, but do you have your own idol?

My idols are movie characters. I suppose that
most of all I like Rocky. I like the way this man achieved everything on his
own, persistently reached toward victory, did not fail, believed in himself. In
general, I like to watch motivating movies. I know who I wish to be like.

remind you once again that we are talking on Friday, the 13th, on the eve of
your fight with Max Vyrovski. This interview will be published after the fight.
How are you prepared for the fight?

Morally I am completely prepared. Physically there
are also no problems. I did not prepare myself against Maxim as a specific
rival. I will fight just for the Estonian audience. If I lose, of course I will
be upset, but I am primed for victory. I wish myself and Maxim good luck. The
most important thing is that everything should be finished without injuries and
that the combat should be spectacular.


By Vitali Vesterinen.


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