We sat down with the #1 Lightweight contender Josh Jauncey. The Canadian kickboxer has been a title contender for years and is preparing to fight again in 2022. We spoke about kickboxing, GLORY and the Lightweight division.
You have been in the sport for a long time. Could you introduce yourself to the new kickboxing fans?
I'm Josh Jauncey, I have been fighting for 20 years now. I'm 29 years old and had my first fight when I was nine years old. My father was a kickboxing champion: he was British champion, Hong Kong champion and Macau champion. Kickboxing has been in my life and in my blood forever. I’m from England, but we moved to Canada when I was a young boy and I have been living in Canada ever since. As a teenager, I used to go to Holland a lot, to train. That's where the best fights were at the time and that's where my favorite fighters came from. I went there to train so that I could compete against the best in the world. I trained for a while at Mejiro Gym, with Andy Souwer. That’s how I got my start in the professional leagues. I started my career strong, right away, against top fighters. I have proven myself as just an English Canadian guy beating people on the world stage.
With your father already involved in the sport, what was your childhood like?
I actually tried football before. But I was never forced into kickboxing. I went to the gym all the time with my dad obviously and me and my brother would just run around like idiots. My brother was more interested in kickboxing than me at the beginning. When I was a kid, I didn't really care too much about it. I always wanted to be a movie star like Bruce Lee. Bruce Lee was always my top favorite guy. Eventually, my dad asked: “there is an event coming up, do you want to fight?”. I said: “yeah why not, let's go!”. I did it and I loved it.
We last saw you two and a half years ago, what have you been doing during this time?
Training. Training for the belt, the whole time. After I fought my last fight for GLORY, at GLORY 73 in Shenzhen, I already knew I had to be number one. So I have been training for the championship since then. First, I was training to fight against Marat Grigorian and eventually I switched my focus over to Tyjani Beztati again. It's been non-stop training with partners, or alone during the lockdowns. Just training, always.
Since your last fight, many major events such as GLORY COLLISION 2 and 3 have taken place in Europe. What did you think of these events?
I was frustrated not being able to be a part of it. To be living over here in North America always made it harder for me to be able to take advantage of what's happening in kickboxing. That's why I moved to Holland when I was younger. It’s in my detriment as I'm not close to the scene and it's very frustrating, but it gives me the drive I had when I was younger. There was something holding me back so I had to prove that I can still make it work and still become the best, even with some of those factors holding me back. It is motivating, but it is also very annoying, because I know that belt should and can be mine.
In your division, the Lightweight, Tyjani Beztati won the belt against Elvis Gashi. What do you think of that fight?
I thought it was a good fight. I thought Tyjani did really well after a rocky start at the beginning. But we all know that Elvis has power, so it wasn't a big surprise for me that he put him down in the first round. But other than that, Tyjani worked a good game plan. I thought he did a good job. Fairly, I think Tyjani or Elvis are really five round fighters and mostly three round fighters. Tyjani was able to be more efficient in that fight and was able to continue winning until the fifth round.
Do you think Tyjani Beztati deserves the Lightweight belt?
Because of that fight? No. They both got that opportunity and one of them should have been fighting me for that belt. I was number one, so I don't believe whoever won that fight should really be champion. So, is Tyjani the legitimate champion? I don't know. I guess on paper but in the minds of the fans and the other fighters, I don't know. I think you have to fight against the number one at least. If you can't beat a guy who was originally champion, you have to at least compete against the number one for it and that is me.
What do you think of Tyjani Beztati personally?
I don't know, I don’t know him. He seems like a decent kid. We have had interactions in the past before he was in GLORY and before I was in GLORY. I don't follow him on social media so I'm not sure. I have heard people say he's a little bit arrogant, but yeah who knows. Maybe that's just social media. Altogether I don't really care, I just want the belt.
What would be the outcome of a rematch between you and Tyjani Beztati?
I think it would go very well, for me. I think the first fight is controversial, there are things in my control and not in my control that should be different next time around. I mean Tyjani has never won outside of Holland. In the past five or seven years, he only seems to win in Holland. In that fight, a lot of people could see that it was very one sided, the way the commentary and the judging went. I think I broke him. By round three, he was broken, and he was running away for the whole last round. He had his good moments in the first two rounds here and there, but I think at the end of the day, that fight should have minimum been a draw. I'll be a lot more efficient the next fight and it will look nothing like the first fight. It’s going to look a lot more like round three.
GLORY recently announced GLORY Rivals, a series of events in which GLORY fighters will battle against athletes from other combat organizations. What are your thoughts about this?
Yeah, I think it's cool. It's an opportunity to get to a point that I have always wanted in my career and that is to be an undisputed and unified kickboxing champion, which means to be champion of many top promotions, not just one so no one can argue after. I think with this unification of three organisations, it gives me the opportunity to beat all three top 70 kilogram guys. I also like the chance to be able to fight new people, new faces and fight in front of new faces and go to different places. Fighting in Japan, I have done it once before, I would love to do it again. Enfusion was a good organisation, I fought for them before. I knocked out their champion on only a week notice, during my second professional fight. I'm sure I could do it again.
Is fighting in Japan again on your wish list?
Yeah definitely! I mean there's nothing like fighting in Japan. When you have been brought up in the sport like I have, you know that Japan was the place to fight. You know that you have made it when you have fought in Japan and have had the respect of the Japanese fans. I fought in Japan already once. They have told me I have the warrior spirit, so I'll be happy to fight there again. I would like to show the Japanese people who I am once again and make a name for myself over there.
How would you rank the current top three GLORY Lightweights?
Number one that's obviously me. I have myself at number one, Stoyan Koprivlenski at number two and Tyjani Beztati at number three. Stoyan has already beaten Tyjani and I believe he can do it again. I have had two good fights with Stoyan and I believe he gave me harder fights than Tyjani gave me. I fought them both, so I know what they capable of and I think Stoyan is above.
What fights are you excited to see this year?
I’m definitely excited to see Alistair Overeem coming back to kickboxing, that will be fun and exciting. There was a time when he was the MMA fighter coming into kickboxing and then there was a time when he was the kickboxer going into MMA, so it'll be fun to see what his style is like at this point. I’m excited for every fight with Artem Vakhitov. I like to see him fight. I think he’s sharp. Him and I are probably one of the most technical guys in GLORY. Other than that, I’m just focused on my own fights.
Do you have a message to your fans?
I know there are a lot of people who really enjoy watching me fight, I appreciate them. I want them to keep letting GLORY know that they want to see me fight, because it has been two years now. It’s about time to get back in the ring and finally get the belt that has been held away from me for a few years now.
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