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Paul Slowinski - The Story



This interview was recorded on 5 April 2008 in Warsaw. It covers the life and career of Polish-Australian Muay Thai and K-1 fighter Paul (Pawel) Slowinski. Full 30-minute original version (in Polish) can be watched at: http://www.mmaction.pl/news.php?readmore=517. This is the translation I made myself. Please forgive me any mistakes.

Paul Slowinski - A Long Way to Become The Champion.

    

MMAction.pl:
Pawel "The Sting" Slowinski - one of the best Polish Muay Thai fighters in history,  One of the most recognized K-1 fighters, the winner of  K-1 GPs in Auckland and Amsterdam and currently the only Pole fighting in heavyweight K-1...
Pawel Slowinski:
Nice... (laughs).

MMAction.pl:
I hope you liked the introduction.
PS:
Very much, thanks.

MMAction.pl:
You are really recognized fighter in Poland and there is no Polish martial arts' fan who doesn't know who Paul Slowinski is. But your way to become what you are now was quite long. Let's start from the beginning. You were born in Poland...
PS:
Yeah, I was born in Poland on 24 September 1980 in the region of Lower Silesia. But we (me with my brother and mother) left the country in 1995.  My father had been killed in a car accident some time before. You know, back then it wasn't easy for a single woman to rise two sons.  There occurred a chance to emigrate to Australia and my mother decided it was the best way - for her and for us - to start a new life there.

MMAction.pl:
How did you feel in the new place?
PS:
At first I didn't like it at all. I kept running away from home. I was dropped from a school. I didn't want to learn English. I'd left behind in Poland all my friends and I didn't have the new ones in Australia. I really did want to go back. I had many quarrels with my brother and mother because of that. It lasted for about a year. Everything changed when I started Muay Thai.

MMAction.pl:
You have found your way...
PS:
Yes I have... definitely. It's funny, because when I lived in Poland I wasn't interested in martial arts. The only sport I practiced was football [soccer - Chrzan]. Like every Polish boy I wanted to become a professional football player.

MMAction.pl:
You played football for quite a long time...
PS:
Yes, I played for junior teams in several clubs across Lower Silesia. In fact I wanted to pursue the professional football career also in Australia, until I realized that football wasn't a popular sport out there.

MMAction.pl:
Really? You wanted to be a football player?
PS:
Yeah! Everybody in my family knew that Pawel would become the star of the national team. I used to get a new ball every birthday, now I get boxing gloves instead... (laughs)

MMAction.pl:
So how did you become a fighter?
PS:
Where we lived [Adelaide, South Australia - Chrzan] there was a Polish social club, where Polish immigrants gathered together for dinners, chit-chats - you know - such kind of stuff. It was there where my mother met and became a friend with Anita. Anita was married to Alan Wong a Muay Thai instructor, who ran his own gym in the city. One day they invited us to their house for a dinner. When I crossed the door my eyes immediately caught the photos of fighters, trophies, gloves and belts that were displayed all over the place. When I was watching them with true amazement, I was approached by some small Chink (laughs). "Are you interested in kickboxing and Muay Thai?" - He asked. "Very much" - I lied. Apart from watching on TV some martial arts movies I didn't know much about fighting.  Next day he took me to his gym and this is how it all started.

MMAction.pl:
Alan Wong became your first coach. How long did you train with him?
PS:
Until 2007, when I started cooperation with Ernesto Hoost. You know, even when I moved to Thailand Alan always would come to my fights and stand in my corner.

MMAction.pl
What was your first success?
PS:
Hmmm... but which one - smaller or bigger one?

MMAction.pl
I meant the first one which was really important to you.
PS:
I think it was my fifth or sixth fight when I won the championship of South Australia. It was the moment when I started believing in myself. The moment when I found the confidence that helped me win Australian and World Championship in the future.

MMAction.pl:
Then you moved to Thailand...
PS:
Well, it was  3rd year of my career, I think. I fought Brett Dalton. He was Australian Muay Thai Champion. I beat him and was nominated to represent Australia in the King's Cup - the most prestigious Muay Thai tournament in the world, which is held annually as the part of celebrations of King of Thailand birthday. There arrived a contingent of fighters from over 40 different countries. I fought 7 fights in 10 days. I won all of them and captured the gold medal. There is a tradition that if your performance was enjoyed by the King he claps his hands, which means great honour for every fighter. In my final fight he did it twice. After the final I was contacted by Stefan Fox - one of the best managers operating in Thailand. He proposed me to move to Thailand and fight for his team. I agreed and since 1999 I was living and training there. Soon I won the WMC Lightheavyweight World Title and my serious professional Muay Thai career started.

MMAction.pl:
Was it then, when you got your nickname "The Sting"? I assume it refers to your powerful leg kicks.
PS:
Yes Thai boxing is all about the kicks and knee strikes, these are the most valuable techniques in terms of judging. So I started to train kicks really hard and the person who taught me was legendary Nokweed Davy. But before I met him I had fought many fights in 76 kg category and rarely lost one. During one of the tournaments I was accosted by some guy. He pointed at me and said that he wanted to fight me. I didn't know the guy and I replied: "No problem, come on!". My manager Fox told me: "Paul, for goodness sake, be careful it's Nokweed Davy!". I'd heard of him but never had met him before. He was 7-time Lumpini Stadium Champion and notable of his extremely fast and powerful kicks that broke ribs and damaged internal organs of many of his rivals. What I'm going to tell you right now is not a good promotion of Muay Thai, but he was infamous especially of one thing. Once during a fight he had kicked a guy in the neck so hard that he killed him. Nonetheless, our fight had been already set. Unexpectedly I won it quite easy, cause Nokweed totally disregarded me and didn't train before the bout. It was quite a sensation because he had never been knocked out by a white man before. He took the loss very personal - it meant for him a great disgrace.  Next day I got a call from Davy's manager that his client wanted a revenge. I again agreed and we met six weeks later. This time he was in excellent shape and the fight went to distance. Nokweed was kicking the living shit out of me for almost entire 5 rounds. He kicked so hard that my hands became so bruised and painful that after the fight I wasn't able to hold a glass of water, eat with them or brush my teeth. Anyway, out of the sudden, 60, maybe 30 seconds left in the fight, he made a mistake. He dropped his hand and I countered with a high kick. I knocked him out for the second time. Man it was a fluke!

MMAction.pl:

Had it been your hardest fight ever?
PS:
It had. I'm telling you, I was losing it right from the start till the very last seconds. I was really lucky to win.

      

MMAction.pl:
Those two fights against Davy made you famous in Thailand...
PS:
Yeah and eventually Nokweed became my coach. Once he came to my club and gave me some tips how to kick better. My manager saw that and offered him a job of my personal coach. He trained me for more than 4 years. My low kicks are the result of those trainings.

MMAction.pl:
How long did you live in Thailand?

PS:                                                                                                                                 From 1999 to 2005.

MMAction.pl
And all you were doing were hard trainings?
PS:
That's right. My bed stood three meters from the ring. I had two training sessions every day. But this is not something unusual for a Thai fighter. In Thailand there are about 900'000 registered fighters - 8 out of 10 boys train Muay Thai...

MMAction.pl
Was it hard for a young western fighter to adjust toThai harsh style of living?
PS:
Well in my case it wasn't. My gym was placed on a beautiful island Koh Samui. You know - palms, golden beaches, the ocean.... After hard training there was always time and place to relax. I liked that.

MMAction.pl
:
Let's get back to the time when you started your Muay Thai career. Did you set yourself any goals to achieve?
PS:
No. At first I treated Muay Thai only as a hobby, adventure. I didn't plan to do the fights for a living. I think my attitude changed after 3 or 4 years of training. Since then I take it really serious.

MMAction.pl:
Ok, so let's talk about K-1. Tell us something about your debut.

PS: (Smiles) Maaaan it sucked big time! I'd just won the WMC Heavyweight title and was offered to fight in K-1 Oceania WGP 2003 in Melbourne. I was successful Muay Thai fighter so I thought I would make quite easy transition to K-1, as both styles are quite similar. I was wrong! I lost the fight in some 30 seconds [in fact it was 72 - Chrzan]. Bad memories... bad memories... I was totally outboxed and quickly knocked out with a punch. I got back to my gym and wondered if K-1 was the right place for me.

MMAction.pl:
This bad memory is called Mitch O'Hello.
PS:
Yes... Mitch O'Hello (grins bitterly)

MMAction.pl:
Did you seek a revenge?
PS:
Actually we were to fight in 2004, but he pulled out of the bout. He just refused to fight me.

MMAction.pl:
You were much better kickboxer at that time - maybe that was the reason.
PS:
I think so.

MMAction.pl:
Now you're making constant progress. Your last fight against Mighty Mo was very good and your low kicks were just great.
PS:
Everybody in K-1 knows that Mighty has "big hands". His strong point is punching power but his weakness are his legs. Contrary to me - I can kick.

MMAction.pl:
Seemes like ideal opponent.
PS:
Not really. People say that I have a weak guard and a good boxer can hurt me.

MMAction.pl:
Indeed, Mo managed to score with some big hooks and crosses.
PS:
Yeah, I even had a nasty cut over my right eye... this guy is so powerful...

MMAction.pl:
Let's talk about your fight against Schilt, shall we?
PS:
Oh Semmy... (bursts into laughter)... I didn't have to fight him but I requested him. I really felt strong before the bout... I really felt I could beat him. By the way I don't like him. I have some reasons...

MMAction.pl:
So it was very emotional moment for you.
PS:
Yes it was. You know, after only two months of training with Ernesto I won K-1 Europe GP. I felt very confident... but now I think it was too early for me to fight Semmy. He was on a higher level.


MMAction.pl:
Pawel you seem to be a fighter who often loses control of his emotions. I mean you are very ambitious and dogged fighter but don't you think you need some more patience and composure in the ring?
PS:
Well I am the emotional type of fighter. Now, when I train with Ernesto, I feel double pressure to win my fights because people expect from me much more than year or two ago. I can give you an example. Before Amsterdam our gym was invaded by Japanese TV crew. They followed my every single move for entire two days. And made a material that depicted me as a new-born star of K-1...all based only on the fact I was training with Ernesto. So pressure is big. But on the other hand it gives me motivation to even harder work. I can deal with it.

MMAction.pl:
When talking to Ernesto he always gives you a review full of superlatives. Tell me about your trainings.
PS:
Ernesto is a very demanding coach. You know, he is Mr. Perfect. Everything has to be tip top. Every single strike or block has to be performed perfectly. If it's not I have to repeat it again and again. I find it sometimes difficult to do the same combo for hundred times in a row. But when he demands that I do it...

MMAction.pl:
Ernesto had retired some time ago. Don't you feel that now he wants to make the second Hoost of you?
PS:
Well I don't see it like that. But it's true that he's not only my coach but also a friend of mine. We often go out together for a dinner, I am a regular guest at his home. He is tough, demanding teacher but outside the gym a great guy. I'm really satisfied to work with him.

MMAction.pl:
Do you want to follow his footsteps?
PS:
Off course I do! I am 27 and I think I can fight at least for next 10 years. I will try to win K-1 WGP... four times - like Ernesto did.

                                   
MMAction.pl:
You are fighting on 26 April against Saki. It's only two weeks from now. Shouldn't you be in Holland and train with Hoost?
PS:
I know. But I didn't come here alone. I'm accompanied by my boxing coach Orlando. We train everyday. Even here in Warsaw. No worries. I will be prepared.

MMAction.pl:
Could you tell us more about Orlando.
PS:
His name is Orlando Gemerts. He was long time Ernesto's boxing coach. Now he is responsible for my boxing training. We work on improving my boxing skills, especially my guard. We realize that they are not good enough for K-1.

MMAction.pl:
Once you had mentioned that Ernesto is always able to tell whether you were training enough or not - even when he hadn't seen you for a long time.
PS:
(laughs) Yeah. 25 years of fighting means lot of experience. He can sense everything. I went to Thailand on my holidays. When I got back I told him I had been training there. After less than 5 minutes of boxing he said: "You had not".

MMAction.pl:
You are undisputed world champion of Muay Thai. What can Ernesto teach the champion of the world?
PS:
Many things! K-1 and Muay Thai are two different sports. In Muay Thai it's essential to score the points by kicking and striking with knees, whereas in K-1 they expect knockouts.  Unlike in K-1, in Muay Thai punches are scored very poorly. This is why now in Holland they call me an excellent fighter but only below the waist line (laughs).

MMAction.pl:
No doubt about that you have one of the best low kicks in the world. When somebody asked Ernesto if it was his work, he said: "No these are Paul's kicks". When you got your nickname?
PS:
It was long time ago in Thailand. Some sport commentator asked me what was my nickname. I didn't have one, so he called me "The Sting" cause my kicks are painful like a sting.

MMAction.pl:
You were born in Poland, you fight for Australia, you lived for many years in Thailand, now you train in Holland. One can call you the citizen of the world. Who do you consider yourself? More Pole or more Aussie?
PS:
Heh, I've always considered myself as the Pole and I always will be the Pole. I was born here, I was raised here, at home we speak only Polish and we celebrate Polish fests. I am Polish.

MMAction.pl:
So Paul or Pawel?
PS:
Pawel! When I picked up Muay Thai people started to call me Paul. Now in Australia, Thailand and Japan I'm known as Paul but nothing has changed - in Poland I'm simply Pawel. Abroad when they try to pronounce my real name it usually sounds like "Powell" so maybe it's better they call me just Paul.

MMAction.pl:
What does fighting mean to you?
PS:
It's the way to unload my negative energy and emotions. I need at least one fight in a month to function properly - to lose all this ballast.

MMAction.pl:
You let the steam off more during the training or during the fight?
PS:
During the fight.

MMAction.pl:
What does Ernesto tell you before the fight?
PS:
To give my 100%. Some coaches demand from their fighters only victories. Ernesto knows very well himself, that you can't always win... it's not that simple.  All he demands is to give your 100%.

MMAction.pl:
We hope you will give your 100% in Amsterdam and win the fight. Is there anything you want to tell your fans?
PS:
Wish me luck! I hope sooner or later K-1 will hold heavyweight GP in Poland and you will able to see me fight here.

Interview: www.mmaction.pl

Translation: Chrzan_ko


On 28 June 2008 Paul Slowinski retained his WMC Muay Thai Superheavyweight World Championship. He beat Czech fighter Antonin Dusek via TKO in 2nd round.

Paul is going to participate in K-1 USA GP in Hawaii (9 Aug. 2008).

 




Comments

Post new comment
Sidekick (492 posts)
Posted: 2008-07-09 at: 08:03
Thanks for translating Chrzan! Realy nice interview.
Seems like a nice guy....
OSU!
D-rop, Video editor (2407 posts)
Posted: 2008-07-09 at: 10:20
Thanks Chrzan_ko. It must have been a lot of work to translate this all. Good job! It´s good reading material.

Interesting that he said he was especially training on improving his guard .... in his next fight against Saki, his guard was worse than ever.
Pablo (795 posts)
Posted: 2008-07-09 at: 12:02
this is an incredible telling, prodound interview, thank you very much for the trouble of translating! It's really interesting to have so deep an insight into this great fighter's mind
waldo (68 posts)
Posted: 2008-07-10 at: 10:42
cheers for posting
Kim, Editor (1548 posts)
Posted: 2008-07-11 at: 08:34
Very nice and well written interview, thanks for sharing it with us Chrzan_ko!
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