Heavyweight champion Philip De Fries believes a win over light heavyweight titleholder Tomasz Narkun in their March super fight will make him the king of KSW’s proverbial jungle.
Narkun has long been considered one of the best 205ers outside of the UFC and 2018’s back-to-back wins over legendary middleweight Mamed Khalidov have only strengthened his stock.
Although many have praised Narkun’s willingness to compete against an opponent that could be 50-pounds heavier than him on fight night, De Fries—who has already seen off Polish behemoths Karol Bedorf and Michal Andryszak to claim the heavyweight strap—doesn’t think the aggressive guard that submitted “Cannibal” will transition to the heavier ranks.
“I think Andryszak and Bedorf would probably beat Narkun,” De Fries told Eurobash. “He’s a very good guard player, he’s very tricky, but people don’t really play guard anymore so it doesn’t really work. It makes it that bit tougher to train for because nobody really does it, but I’m confident that I’ll get the finish and the win.”
De Fries understands the momentum that his smaller opponent carries into the contest, but he was surprised to learn that “Giraffe” is no a fan favorite when their super fight was announced.
“It might,” replied De Fries when asked if beating the surging light heavyweight champion elevated him to the top of the KSW food chain. “I don’t think he’s very popular. A lot of people have been commenting and sending me messages saying, ‘I hate Narkun, you must beat him’. Even the people who are saying they want him to win are saying, ‘I hate Narkun, but I want to keep the belt in Poland’. I don’t know if he’s a character they don’t like or he’s disrespectful, but I’m sure we’ll find out.”
De Fries also highlighted his belief that Narkun’s name has been built off wins against smaller opponents.
“Khalidov is a middleweight for a start and he’s coming to the end of his career. Five years ago Khalidov would’ve been a different story altogether. He’s fought Khalidov twice and before that he fought the guy that Scott Askham beat [Michal Materla], and he’s a middleweight as well. He’s having his way with those little fellas, but let’s see what happens when he’s being pinned by a guy who has to cut weight to make heavyweight.”
Narkun is definitely getting De Fries’ full attention ahead of their tussle, but the Englishman is adamant that size will be too much of a factor on fight night.
“If you’re fit and you’ve got good technique, size is a huge advantage. If he pulls guard on me and I’m just on top of him, every second he’s getting more tired whereas I’m winning the fight. But as I said, he’s very dangerous, he’s very tricky and he’s hard to train for, but I’ll put a good camp together. I’m going to ATT and there’s a good guy in Scotland, Paul Craig, who is quite like him; he’s got a very active guard and I’ve been training with him too.”
Check out last week’s episode of Eurobash. The Phil De Fries interview begins at 28:30.