Exclusive – Zabit Samedov: I’m sure Badr Hari will underestimate me!
A product of the famous Chinuk Gym in Minsk, Zabit Samedov, came to the Final 16 in Japan after defeating two Croatian fighters – Vjekoslav Bajić and Igor Jurković.
His performance in Tokyo was even more impressive. In the most convincing win of the event he outclassed American Xavier Vigney after one minute and 47 seconds. The Azerbaijani is coming to Zagreb filled with confidence, and his first opponent will be one of the greatest kickboxers today, Badr Hari.
Your first fight in the K-1 WGP Final will be against the great Badr Hari. What are you doing to prepare for this match?
No matter who my opponent is, I always, before each fight, go through exhaustive mental and physical preparations. Ahead of this match, I've been working a lot on my physical preparation because I know it will be a difficult match. Other than that, I'm honing all the possible tactics for this fight down to the finest details. I'm training with top-class sparring partners, including those who are similar to Hari in terms of height so I could prepare for a 14 cm taller opponent in the best way possible!
What is your advantage over your opponent?
I'm going into this fight with one big advantage: Hari will probably underestimate me. Also, I like to be an atypical fighter, and many opponents can't handle that and it catches them by surprise. I believe the same will happen in this fight against Hari. Everyone knows who Hari is, and in this whole story about his name and greatness, I see an advantage for me.
What are your expectations for the Final and your performance?
Of course, like any of the fighters who've made it to the Final, I want to win. I'm ready to "die" for victory. I'm ready to do things that may seem impossible to achieve the best possible result. This is an opportunity that doesn't come very often and it should be used in the best way possible.
What does it mean for you to fight in the K-1 WGP Final?
This is a dream come true. Ever since I started my career in martial arts, I've dreamed of bringing home the K-1 title! The K-1 promotion has been around for 20 years, the greatest fighters in the world have won this title, and being part of that circle is a dream for every kickboxer.
Do you have any special ritual you do before each fight?
Before each fight, when I'm concentrating in the locker room, I sit and think about my closest ones, about my family and friends. The thought of them always gives me strength, but their energy also protects me. This is my little ritual that I never skip. I believe that this support I feel has been crucial for my sporting successes so far.
Badr Hari has replaced Edwards at the last minute. What is your comment to his arrival?
Yes, I didn't expect Edwards would cancel and it was surprising news for me. I had prepared for a fighter like Ben and practiced tactics for his fighting style. Now I'm like a reloaded gun, and my target is Badr Hari!
What do you think of the fact that the K-1 WGP Final takes place outside of Japan?
Honestly, I always feel good in Japan and Tokyo. I love their culture but also the atmosphere at fights in Japan. Still, K-1's arrival to Zagreb means a lot, not only for Croatia but for K-1 as well, because it signifies their expansion to the rest of the world, and that is always very good!