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Global Training Report


 Interview with

Tra Telligman

From Kakutogi Tsushin No. 276

May 8, 2001

Translated by Yoko Kondo


Q: At first Ken Shamrock was supposed to fight with Vovchanchyn, but an acute pain ran into his both arms on March 7. He had to pull out the fight for the medical reason. When did Ken pick you to take his place?

Telligman: Maybe it was on Thursday (March 15). There are many good fighters in Lions Den, but I think he picked me as his substitute in view on my boxing technique. According to betting in America, odds seemed that I would lose the fight 800 to 1(laughing).  People who bet on me might have made a lot of money.

Q: Frankly speaking, what was the cause of your victory?

Telligman: Difference in technique of punching brought me the victory. His punches were so heavy, just like a train crashing into me.

Q: Didn't you feel any anxiety about the fight that was decided so suddenly? [without enough time to prepare properly]

Telligman: I had a mixed feeling, like one that a chance has come, or nervous, or excited. But I wanted to prove my power by defeating Vovchanchyn. In fact, I have been training only boxing for the last six month, but not ground work at all. I got injured my left leg one year ago, and did it the same place again one month ago.

Q: So you had some disadvantages, didn't you?

Telligman: But except for that, my condition was pretty good. I've never been happy with my condition at fights so far. For example, I had a cold at a fight with a strong opponent. It made me feel that I was cursed or something. But this time, my condition was so good differently from usual, so I was expecting that something bad was going to happen here too. Anyway, I finally got over the bad jinx (laughing).

Q: Why have you focused on boxing training?

Telligman: I started boxing training for NHB six months ago. But in the process of the training with fighters who had done sparring with Evander Holyfield or Mike Tyson, my technique was improved, and a promoter asked me to fight as a boxer. I decided to try it. I am going to make my debut on March 30 in Texas under the group named "Top Ranking" broadcasted in ESPN, and the next one will be on April 13 in Kansas City. I'm going to fight in eight or ten boxing matches this year. And one year, I want to be on a high enough level to fight with Tyson or Holyfield. When I fight in a boxing match, I'm going to wear the pants for NHB, not the boxing pants.

Q: When Tito Ortiz brought a bouquet to you in the ring before the fight, you didn't get it smoothly. So I thought Lions Den still didn't like Tito.

Telligman: No, nothing like that. I just didn't notice him because I didn't expect him to do it, and I concentrated on the fight. I like Tito.

Q: By the way, I heard that in America you gave yourself a nickname "Trauma".

Telligman: I got my right lung and muscles crushed in a traffic accident when I was one and half years old. But now there is no problem at all.

Q: Your left lung was built up strongly to compensate for  a loss of the right lung?

Telligman: Of course! I am not good at bench press, but there is no problem with muscles in my right arm. And punches are delivered by using the shoulder, so no problem. Every fighter has strengths and weaknesses. I am taking it as one of them, so nothing concerns me. To be sure, it might be difficult for me to be a model (laughing). When I stand up naked in front of the mirror, I feel I don't look good. I was  always told, "you can't do it" because of my handicap, but I have been doing it anyway, confident that I can do it. Everybody is different, big guys, small guys, fat guys skinny guys. It happens that I have no right lung. But I am doing my best positively.

Q: When did you start kakutogi?

Telligman: From six years old. No, it was just a fight. (smiling bitterly) I did Karate from eight to 13 years old, and did boxing from 13 to 15 years old. I learned jiu-jitsu a little bit and I played in a full-contact Karate contest when I was in a high school. When I watched a video of NHB in Brazil in l992, I wondered if I could do it.  I played in small contests of NHB from 1992 to 1995. It was 1995 when I started training with Guy [Mezger]. 

Q: Are you going to give priority to pro-boxing fights from now on?

Telligman: Fortunately, I could meet a good promoter, so I want to focus on boxing aiming at the major title within one and half years. Moreover I made a contract already. But if there is a chance, I will participate in fights in MMA like this time.

Q: Many members of the Lions Den are rough so it looks like a violent gang group. But it is a happy team usually with a lot of jokes, isn't it?

Telligman: Even in Dallas, we always go on a spree, so people wonder if we are really strong.  Sometimes they pick a fight with us. In that case..... we do it (laughing) 

 (c) 2001, Yoko Kondo, all rights reserved.