Badr Hari: Young and Hungry
written by Jens Habermann

The following interview arrived us from the IFA (International Fight Agency) who had the possibility to speak to Badr Hari recently.

At just 22 years of age, Defending K-1 Heavyweight Champion Badr Hari is the youngest of the eight fighters competing in the Dec 8 K-1 World Grand Prix Final. The Moroccan kickboxer earned his spot by beating Doug Viney in Seoul on Sept 29. The morning after that KO victory, a relaxed Hari chatted with IFA.

IFA: Badr, you have something of a reputation as an "enfant terrible," Were you a bad boy when you were young?
Hari: Ha ha. I just liked to have fun like all kids do. I still like to do that, and maybe some people mistake that as 'bad'. But as a kid, I wasn't so bad.

Badr Hari

Badr Hari

IFA: Would you consider yourself a good role model for kids?
Hari: No, I don't think so! I don't see myself as a role model, I think you just have to be yourself. But if some young people see me as a role model that's ok. If I had kids, and they liked me, I would be glad, because I don't let people tell me what to do, I do what I like to be happy, and maybe that's a good role model.

IFA: When did you first know you were going to be a fighter?
Hari: When I was seven years old, I was living in East Amsterdam, 'the ghetto', lots of a Moroccans. There was a gym next to my house. I didn't do any other sports, but training there was cheap. My father knew I could spend the whole month there and it cost nearly nothing, so that's how it started.

IFA: When did you realize you could make fighting a career?
Hari: I liked fighting from the beginning, but in the beginning you don't know if you are going to become a professional. I just liked to fight. When I was 14 or 15, I dropped out of school but I didn't drop out of training, I stayed with training because I liked it. And then this success happened and I got where I am, and I'm just happy now!

Badr Hari in Amsterdam

Badr Hari in Amsterdam

IFA: How do you train these days?
Hari: I do a lot of cardio training, jogging and sprinting, strength training, all kinds of conditioning, also diet. I do everything, different techniques. I still like the gym and I'm training six days a week, sometimes till five o'clock I'm in the gym, I eat in the gym!

IFA: You're only 22 years old, you have been accused of not respecting veteran kickboxers...
Hari: Well, what is 'respect'? I don't have any heroes in kickboxing. But that doesn't mean I don't respect them. Maybe some fighters got the idea I don't respect them because I want to fight them, and some people think that's strange. I think we are in this business to fight each other and I'm not afraid to say it, and to challenge them. They think I have no respect because I challenge them? Hey, if I don't challenge them, if nobody challenges them, then they have no work tomorrow. Come on, this is the fighting business and we have to fight!

IFA: One hour before a fight, do you meditate, do you pray, any special preparation?
Hari: One hour before a fight I just prepare by focusing myself. Of course I pray a little bit, I'm religious, Muslim. But I don't pray to win, I just pray to stay healthy, because that's the most important thing in this business, to stay healthy.

IFA: Going to the Grand Prix Final in December, what's your biggest asset?
Hari: The other guys in the final are very strong, but I'm very young and I'm very hungry. I just want to win this very bad. My age is a big weapon for me, but also because I'm young, I know if I don't win it this year I can do it next year, or the year after. Because I'm young that lets me be patient, that lets me relax.

IFA: Your first opponent will be Remy Bonjasky, who has some pretty good legs.
Hari: In my preparation for that fight, I don't think I have to adjust anything for Remy, I just have to do my thing. I'm not worried at all about his knees or about his kicks, but I think it's going to be a very interesting fight.