GLORY 20: Gabriel Varga Talks Records, Training And His Ability to Throw The “Fun Techniques”
By Kelsey Mowatt
After 27 amateur and professional fights, Gabriel Varga has worked his way to the upper echelons of kickboxing, as the featherweight will challenge Mosab Amrani for GLORY’s vacant title on Friday night. While that may sound like a lot of fights to some, Amrani has competed in 64 bouts, and started fighting professionally in 2003…
Of course, at the end of the day, a fighter’s abilities, and not their record, are what win fights. Varga’s rise up kickboxing’s ranks has come through the training and approach he learned in his native Canada, while Amrani came up through the methods and gyms of Holland. As Varga noted on an episode of Full Contact Fighter Radio earlier this year, the mindset many Dutch fighters have on competing, is rather different than the one that’s prevalent in MMA.
“I was just talking about this recently with one of my training partners Josh Jauncey, who lives in Vancouver and also fights for GLORY, and he’s trained extensively over in Holland…he was saying that when he was over there the mindset is completely different about your record,” Varga reported. “It’s not so much about keeping it unblemished, and when you’re less concerned about that, I think you’re willing to fight more often, and not have proper training camps, because in MMA if you want to get to the top, one fight (loss) sets you back so far.”
“But for these guys in Holland…you’ll see guys with 100 fights, they’re fighting a minimum of 6 times, sometimes like I was saying before, up to a dozen, and he said (Jauncey) when he was over there, one of his training partners would lose, they’d come back to the gym, they wouldn’t seem that upset about it. They would start training for the next one in two or three weeks…”
Varga also noted that many kickboxers don’t get paid as much as top tier, MMA fighters, so if they want to make a good living, fighting once every month or two becomes a necessity. By competing more often, and fighting for various titles etc, the fighters stay in the public eye, grow their fanbase and are more likely to increase their pay days.
But, at a time when there is more awareness than ever about the dangers of head trauma, one has to wonder if fighting every month is sustainable, in terms of one’s long term health. While Varga can’t speak directly on whether other kickboxers are taking steps to reduce the amount of damage they incur, the 29 year-old says he’s been trying to minimize the amount of punishment he takes.
“For myself, I’m constantly trying to make sure that I’m taking care of my body, protecting my head, and I try to minimize sparring now, just a little bit more. You hear UFC fighters mentioning nowadays that they don’t spar nearly as hard as they used to.”
While Varga’s record may not be as lengthy as some of GLORY’s other top fighters, the Victoria resident does have years of training under his belt. In fact, Varga’s path to GLORY 20 began with Shotokan Karate, and then later on he transitioned into Muay Thai and kickboxing.
“I really like the fact that I have a number of styles to pull from,” said Varga. “The initial Karate background was great because it gives me the ability to throw the fun techniques that the fans like. I can throw the spinning kicks and all those sort of things that you might not learn in kickboxing and Muay Thai. They’re not techniques that are necessarily big, big winners in the fight game. You very rarely see spinning kick knockdowns or knockouts. But I can still draw from that…”
GLORY 20 will be hosted by the Dubai Trade Centre, and the main card will be broadcast on SPIKE.
To read Varga’s thoughts about Amrani and their upcoming bout, head here.