'The Caiman', as the hard-hitting Ukrainian is know, will be making his second appearance in the organization. His first was in the GLORY 32 VIRGINIA Light-Heavyweight Contender Tournament, which he entered as favorite but was eliminated from in the semi-finals by late entrant Ariel Machado.
The tournament was won by Hameur-Lain, who stopped Warren Thompson in the semi-finals with a huge right hand and then battered Machado into submission in the final. Now he and Zhuravlev are matched this Saturday on Hameur-Lain's home soil.
“Most of all I like to work my hands. This is how I feel the energy and dynamics of the match and this is what brings me the best results,” he says. “I'm going out there to do fast, hard kickboxing with attacks that do maximum damage to the enemy.”
Zhuravlev was one of the world's best free agents before signing with GLORY yet at the same time is a rather mysterious figure to most fight fans due to the lack of English-language information available on him.
So, for the GLORY fans, he provides a little information about himself: he is ex-military, a father of one and able to play the piano to near-professional level thanks to being put through music school as a youngster, alongside his regular schooling.
“I spent thirteen years in the army. Originally, I graduated from the Naval Academy, but it didn't interest me so much. We lived in the Crimea region but after the events of 2014 [when Russia annexed Crimea] we left and went to live in Odessa. I am now finished with the army and have free time,” he says.
“I don't know what brought me into kickboxing, I think that it just had to happen. What attracts me to it is that when you step into the ring you stand alone with your opponent, face to face. This is a moment of truth: you feel excitement, fear, and realize that everything is dependent only on you. You see in his eyes the desire to destroy you and you think 'Well, come on and do it then, if you can.'
“Training takes up a lot of my time so in my free time I really just try to be with my family. I have a five-year-old daughter. This is an important age for a child and so I spend as much free time as I can with her. We go to playgroups and swimming pools, I take her to dance class and music lessons, even foreign languages.
“Actually, I love music. As a youngster I finished music school and sometimes today I like to play on the piano, though it is only for me, I don't like to play in front of people!”
GLORY 35 NICE takes place this Saturday in Nice, France and is Headlined by light-Heavyweight champion Artem Vakhitov facing interim champion Zack Mwekassa for the right to be declared the undisputed light-Heavyweight champion of the world. Zhuravlev and Hameur-Lain form the main event.
GLORY 35 NICE airs live on ESPN3 on Saturday at 5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. PT and re-airs Sunday on ESPN2 at 11 p.m. ET / 8 p.m. PT.
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