Wednesday, Dec 04 2019 by John O’Regan (reproduced courtesy of Glory Kickboxing)
“I’m undefeated now and I’ll be undefeated after this fight – the only thing which will change is that I will be the new champion,” says lightweight contender ‘Super’ Elvis Gashi (23-0, 11 KO’s) as he prepares to challenge defending champion Marat Grigorian (62-11-1, 35 KO’s) at GLORY 73 SHENZHEN this Saturday.
“I think Marat is good but I am better. I’ve never lost. I feel comfortable about this fight. I’ve waited all my life to become world champion and now I am ready, just one more step to go. Since the first time I saw him fight, I felt like I can beat him easy.”
There are not many lightweights who would refer to Marat Grigorian as an “easy” fight, but Gashi sees one particularly clear advantage for himself.
“He’s got a pretty good record but he’s got plenty of losses and if you look at his losses, they are mostly to left-handed fighters like me. I think he doesn’t do great against southpaws, so that’s another advantage for me,” he explains.
Gashi, who is originally from Kosovo but has for many years been resident in New York, USA, where he has his own gym, also thinks his attitude will pose problems for the defending champion.
“He likes to come forward and put the pressure, so in training I’ve had guys copying that and I’ve been moving, countering,” he says.
“But I am also a guy who likes to use forward-pressure, so maybe Marat will find himself having to fight while moving backwards. We will see – it’s going to be a surprise for everyone, including him!”
With two finishes from five wins in GLORY, Gashi has been the distance in three of his fights in the organization. But those fights were set for three rounds, while this championship bout is set for five.
“Five rounds, three rounds – it doesn’t matter. I’ve trained so hard for this, I wish it was ten rounds!” says Gashi.
“Although to be honest with you, I don’t see this one going the distance anyway…”
Marat Grigorian puts his world lightweight title on the line for a third time this Saturday at GLORY 73 SHENZHEN as he faces undefeated challenger ‘Super’ Elvis Gashi, who has won five consecutive fights in GLORY to earn himself this shot at the belt.
Gashi, originally from Kosovo but for many years now resident in New York City, USA, has made confident predictions of not only remaining undefeated and taking the world title, but also of ending the fight early inside the allotted five rounds.
“I don’t care what he says. Many people have said the same thing. Everything looks easy until you are in the ring in front of me and you feel how powerful how I am,” shrugs the laconic Grigorian, unfazed.
“I’m going to break him physically and mentally. When he feels what I bring, he will realize that all his preparations have been for nothing, all that preparation will go away.”
Gashi’s undefeated record makes him a rarity in the sport of kickboxing, where the best fight the best on such a consistent basis that even the most dominant champions have a smattering of losses on their otherwise exemplary records.
Unimpressed, would be the best way to describe Grigorian’s take on Gashi’s resumé.
“He’s undefeated? Against who? I never heard of these guys. Nobody knows Gashi, nobody knows his opponents. But say my name and people know who you are talking about, fight fans all over the world know who I am,” he says.
“It’s a bit disrespectful for him to talk like this. When you look at my record and who I have fought against, it speaks for itself.”
Grigorian also doesn’t think much of Gashi’s observation that left-handed southpaw fighters have given him trouble in the past, citing losses to Serhiy Adamchuk and former lightweight champion Sitthichai as evidence.
“Well, Sitthichai is a southpaw and he’s a very difficult opponent of course. But Gashi is nowhere near that level, so I’m not sure what he’s talking about there. Gashi’s level and Sitthichai’s level are very different things,” he laughs.
Finally, Grigorian responded to Gashi’s promise to win the forward-pressure battle and make Grigorian fight move backwards for the first time.
“I’m going to be really happy if he does that. If he comes with forward pressure, that’s going to be great for me. That’s the best kind of fight he could give me,” he smiles.
“Trust me, as long as I am in GLORY, Elvis Gashi will never be champion.”
GLORY 73 SHENZHEN takes place this Saturday in Shenzhen, China and can be watched live worldwide via UFC Fight Pass. For television broadcasts, check local listings for details.