KSW 13: Promoter Martin Lewandowski Q&A
(KSW XIII – The return of Pudzianowski and Khalidov)
KSW XIII: Kumite is only a matter of days away and the Polish promotion’s first trip to Katowice will see the return of former World’s Strongest Man Mariusz Pudzianowski and Sengoku star Mamed Khalidov. As well as the appearances of their marquee stars, the event will also host a light-heavyweight tournament, with some of Europe’s finest 205lbers, and Vitor Norbrega’s middleweight title defence. Promoter Martin Lewandowski has worked hard to bring the show to its current status as one of Europe’s finest, and this event solidifies their position. We caught up with Lewandowski to get the low down on the show and MMA in Poland.
FIGHT!: You run Poland’s biggest MMA show. How long have you been in the promotional side of MMA and what spurred you on to create such an event?
Martin Lewandowski: With my business partner we have been running KSW for six years already. That day I was manager of a big Warsaw hotel and was looking for a new opportunity to promote sports for polish market and I found MMA.
FIGHT!: How has the evolution and increased popularity of MMA affected your show? Has there been a noticeable difference?
ML: Not really. Of course the number of people who know MMA is still growing but what happens in the US or Japan has very little influence on KSW. Truly, we built MMA in Poland for the masses.
FIGHT!: Do you use the unified rules the same as the UFC? How important do you think it is for standardisation?
ML: I supposed in every country there is a little difference in the rules which is the effect of the audience’s mentality. On our show there are no stomps on the head, no soccer kicks on the head, no knees on the grounded opponent and no elbows. The ring is the fighting field. From the beginning we wanted to avoid any association with cage. In Poland it has very bad reputation – of course I am talking about the general population.
FIGHT!: You’re known for often hosting tournaments; how much do you still value the one-night tournament format and why do you think it has proved popular in your shows?
ML: For ages we were impressed by the tournament. During the show people could watch the fighters several times in one night and celebrate the victory of the finalist. Right now our eight-man tournament is divided by two shows.
FIGHT!: What are the main problems you encounter, both with the tournaments and the shows in general?
FIGHT!: Your next show is set for May 7th. What bouts should we be looking forward to?
ML: It will be very special event for several reasons… for the first time the big KSW will be held in a different town then Warsaw. This time it will be Katowice. There will be three title fights. Also you will be watching fighting: Mamed Khalidov, Mariusz Pudzianowski in his 2nd fight, Jan Błachowicz, Samuray Mendes, Krzysztof Kulak, Vito Nobrega- our champions in -85 kg and top European and world class fighters.
FIGHT!: Khalidov, one of the greatest fighters in Europe, returns home to fight in the promotion after some great fights in Sengoku. How do you feel to have your fighters move on to other big international shows?
ML: Good! Some of the fighters we manage – Khalidov is one of them. We push all our fighters to get experience and also introduce them to different markets, different audience.
FIGHT!: How much does the KSW fight team contribute to the KSW show?
ML: Very much. These guys are the first recognisable Polish MMA stars. People come to see them on our show. These are our most important “assets”.
FIGHT!: Are there any other things you’d like to note for those that have maybe never attended or heard of the KSW show or Polish MMA?
ML: Just come and see it live or try to watch. Also visit our website www.konfrontacja.com for more info.