Instead of leaving Zagreb as champion, Ristie went home having suffered a KO loss and in search of a new team, having fired both of his trainers in the dressing room afterwards.
“That fight was an expensive lesson for me. Before that fight I started [working] with some new trainers. It was a difficult [time] for me because I had left my old school, Lucien Carbin [Fight Factory] so I had to take some new people [to Zagreb with me],” he says.
“When I got in the ring there was some trouble in the corner between my two trainers, over which one of them would coach [me in the fight]. Both of the guys were screaming at me and I didn’t understand. That’s why I was fighting my own style and not listening to my corner.”
Now working with new trainers, Ristie does not expect to face the same issues when he faces current lightweight champion Robin van Roosmalen in the main event of GLORY 20 DUBAI on Friday, April 3.
Ristie stopped Van Roosmalen when they met in the final of the GLORY 12 NEW YORK tournament at the end of 2013 before losing to Kiria at GLORY 14. Van Roosmalen came back from the GLORY 12 loss with a win over Marat Grigorian before out-pointing Kiria at GLORY 18 OKLAHOMA to win the belt.
“My reach is very good against Van Roosmalen because he is a short guy,” says Ristie, who anticipates a repeat performance. Van Roosmalen shrugs the threat off. “[Reach disadvantage] Doesn’t bother me because all my opponents are taller than me, I am used to it.”
Ahead of this key contest Ristie has also been doing some work with another championship team, except this one is made up of songbirds. Back home in Suriname, a tropical country at the northern end of South America, the training of songbirds is a national sport and pastime.
“You go in the jungle and catch some birds and when you catch them, they are wild, you have to teach them some kind of melody. In the competition your birds have to sing very good and if you score more than the opponent then [your birds] are the winner for that year,” beams the unlikely bird-trainer.
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