Interview of GREGORY CHOPLIN by Serge TREFEU (2011)
Serge TREFEU: Hello Gregory and thank you for the interview, you grew in what district and how did you discover the boxing?
GRÉGORY CHOPLIN: I grew in a district close to the city centre of Saint-Denis, the Thai boxing was there rather popular as far as quite a lot of big gyms and champions were in the surroundings, there were moreover some having a practice in my district of which a champion of France. The first time when I put boxing gloves, it was during training “illegal boxing” improvised by the big boys of the area in underground …
You began directly with the Thai Boxing, you were how old?
I was always very sports and I arrived at the Thai Boxing at the age of 13 having practised several disciplines among which the swimming and the football (at a good level). By following my older brother in a gym of boxing I had “the love at first sight ” and I stopped the football at the height of the season…
In what gym you began, which were the champions who trained to it?
I was lucky to begin in Nemrod one of the gyms mythical of the French muay, many champions trained to it with all the same common point: a beautiful technique. Dany Bill was the locomotive. For me I was in Barça!
How was called your first trainer and how it are crossed your first trainings in boxing, what is what you quickly fought?
My first trainer was called Omar Benamar, a very big technician who learnt us constantly of new techniques. I still remember my first training, I persuaded whom I already had trained several months in another gym to dissuade those who wanted “fight” the little new (laughter). I fought in city of Nanterre approximately 6 months later, I had won on stop of the referee. The next day I swell out one’s chest to the school as if I was crossed on the TV…
In what category you have made your first fights, you have a good memory of these fights?
My first fights it is made in 52 Kg, I already enjoyed in enjoyment of the diet…
There are champions who influenced you in your boxing when you started your career?
I dreamed to have the style and the elegance of Dany Bill, the power of Dekkers, the technique of Skarbowski, the mastery of Samart Payakaroon and Rob Kaman’s low kick, only that!
Today you are to the Derek Gym, a mythical gym which took out of very great champions, you knew the reputation of this gym before coming there, and since how long you train to the Derek Gym?
Indeed on I knew the reputation of the Derek Gym and the great boxers who had gone out of it, I was great well welcomed at once and it has been now 5 years since I have the pride to carry the colours of the gym
What is your partner of trainings to the Derek Gym, speaks us too about your coach from now?
Many boxers pass regularly to the Derek Gym besides the boxers already of the gym, we have quite a lot of young bright boxers such as Baghdad Karbouchi, Youcef Sid and team of class A consists of Totof, Steeve Zaidi, Raouf Beliouz, Ahmed Hassan, Wendy Annonay, Karim Bezou, Cheick Sidibé and me…
The first time when I saw Leon ” PAP ” Mendy it was in TV CANAL + in the corner of Joel Cesar during the fight Cesar vs Bill (fight at which I looked at least 50 times at the time) and he loosened something powerful, today 15 years later, in my corner I feel the same power by my side, the family spirit reigns to the Derek Gym!
You train how many times a week, what is your job and you arrive to reconcile him with the high-level sport?
I agree in period of preparation 1 for 2 rest days a week, and I train me one twice a day, the boxing is my priority for the moment and I am lucky to have the other functions which adapt themselves to my lifestyle…
You fights often abroad, you think that in France when we reach the high level there is not enough big events to be able to fight all year long?
I fight there or we call me, to have the opportunity to fight abroad is good on an advantage, to fight in front of 8000 or 9000 persons, it is one likes very much. I think that in France that takes time but we evolve in the right direction. There are more and more of beautiful events
In Holland for example, you fights regularly over there, in particular in the magnificent event “It’s Show Time “, which big difference there is for you between the Dutch events and the events in France?
In Holland, the Thai boxing has another image than the one that it has in France. In France we are a little put aside (ex: rare are articles and reports on the Thai boxing in the media) and we have an image rather negative which sticks us on the skin (although I find that begins to improve thanks to the MMA which took over). Over there it is quite other thing, it is a sport as the others, things are made so that public is interested in it, he thus comes more numerous and more diversified, the sponsors have more interest to play the game. There are thus more means. Everything is there more professional!
You are one of the rare French to fight often in the big Dutch evenings, Dutch like your style, you are proud as French champion to impose you on the country King of the boxing feet and fist?
Of course, it is a small pride, I am only French to have signed a professional contract (of 5 years) with the organization “It’s Showtime “. Little French boxer are known over there, and the fact of being among the French boxers the most known in Holland, of credit note as companion of the guys as Tyrone Spong, Gago Drago, Andy Souwer, I find that cool…
Dutch is more fond of fight in rules K1 when Thai Boxing, when you fights in Holland it’s more in rules K1 or in Full Muay Thai?
In rules K1
In what discipline you prefer to fight in Muay Thai or in K1?
I am a pure product of French Muay thai
Are you fights also in the other disciplines as the Kick boxing or the Full-contact karate?
I fought 3, 4 times in Kick Boxing, I prefer by far the Thai Boxing, never in Full-contact…
Your weighty category is 74 Kg-75 kg but would like you go in category of 70 Kg to go to face the tenors of the K1 Max in Japan, for example?
I shall like to go in 70 kg and to meet them, some people say to me that I shall arrive never in shape there, of the other one say to me the opposite. While waiting for I fight now below 73 kg and I feel comfortable in this weight. If I really have a big serious proposition, I am on that I can arrive there. My regret with “It’s Showtime ” it is that there was earlier no intermediate category between 70 and 77 kg but it is not too late (they have just opened the category 73 kg)…
So far you made how many fights, how much you have of victory, defeats?
My fight record consists of 53 fights Professional, I have 5 losses and the rest of wins
You have a lot of victory gained by KO?
I have a little more than 20 victories by K.O
What are the titles which you gained?
France Champion in 2004, World champion WPKL in 2006 against Vincent Vielvoye, World champion WFCA in 2007 against Jan De Keyser
You met and often beat the best of your category, let us begin by Yohan Lidon whom you met I believe twice, who think you of him and of your fights against him?
It is a complete boxer, I have some respect for the career which it makes, I knew how to fight him to win during our two meetings
Against Jonathan Camara?
Camara, the fight was expected by a lot for a long time, it is very bright, that shot!
In front of Moussa Konaté?
Moussa Konaté, it is a great champion, his style is annoying…
Your fight against Cedric Muller?
Cedric Muller, me respect its route, a warrior, the fight had a false rhythm, the doctor stops him on wound to third rounds
Against the Russian champion Dimitry Shakuta?
Dimitry Shakuta, it is cunning in his boxing, deprived, our two fights had many stakes. In final of the tournament “It’s Showtime Trophy” in 2008 and more recently for the belt “It’s Showtime” we give him the victory twice while the decision was not evident (especially on the fight second)…
Your meeting against the Brazilian Cosmo Alexandre?
My fight against Cosmo is the other disappointment of my career, I lose in extra round while I had sharply made the difference during the fight, extra round did not take place to be. This fight had to open me the doors of Arena of Amsterdam…
In front of Dutch champion Aalviar Lima?
Lima, a warrior who does not know the reverse, he has never put me in danger but I can say that he is powerful!
There is a champion whom you would like to face or to find in particular?
I like challenges from the very moment or all the conditions are combined, I am ready to fight everything them better from 72,5 to 75 kg, no names in particular
You have already fought the Thai boxers?
The fights in the bars of Pattaya that counts? (Laughter) I fought several times thai’s and that rather made a success well of me, I count only one defeat against a Thai. The fight is generally cleaner and more interesting technically, I like
In what year you went for the first time in Thailand?
In 1998 on holidays
In what camp you trained in Thailand?
The last one whom I frequented is “Superpro Samui”
What memory you remember of your participation to the broadcast “It’s Show Time Reality” which took place on the island of Koh Samui?
A scar under the eye (Laughter), I found funny the fact that we can sleep, eaten, live with his future opponent, it gives another image of the boxing, except the boxing ring we can be friendly but that does not prevent from being made a beautiful war in the fight. It was the great beautiful enriching experience as much at the level of the boxing that on the human plan, I met good lads there with whom I am always a buddy…
In your category the best Thai boxer is Yodsenklai think you to meet him one day?
I shall like to meet him, I think I can beat him, that had to be made last year, that was finally cancelled, we proposed again him to me for May, 2011 but I am already engaged for a fight in Las Vegas the same date. Certain rumour lets me think that it will be made in the year 2011…
What was so far your most hard fight?
The second fights against Shakuta, it breaks me the breastbone (with the impression that my body breaks to smithereens) at the end of the third round in spite of the suffering I continue to advance and to mark my points up to the final gong. The cheetah didn’t utter anything but it was hideous!
Your best memory of boxing?
My first world belt in April, 2006 in Holland, I arrived over there as outsider, I saw people looking with the pity kind “the poor man it is him the current victim”. I make a great fight which I abbreviate before limit. Later, the glances had changed, everybody came to make photos with me. Full of friends had made the movement. We celebrated my victory all together!
And the worst?
The fight against Cosmo, this sensation of injustice, more makes him finish the evening on the surgical unit…
Have you a small anecdote to be told us who you arrived during a fight or training?
Once, 10 minutes before the beginning of a fight, I notice that I protect tooth disappeared! I took that of the buddy and I crossed the fight concentrated to try to keep him in the mouth, since I always take two protect teeth…
Your low kicks is terribly effective, it is the technique which you work quite particularly on the gym?
I try above all to be the most complete possible
Your Boxing is also redoubtable, is what you have already fought in Boxing?
Yes I made about ten Boxing matches amateur, I had the possibility of continuing and of crossing Professional but I preferred to concentrate on the Thai boxing…
You like fighting with the pokes?
I like, that peppers the fight
What are your strong points according to you?
I adapt myself well generally to my opponents
And your weak points which you would more like to work?
I sometimes have the too warm blood and I become enraged little
What are your next fights?
The fights sure (several others are in negotiation) at the moment will take place April 23rd to Persan (suburb Paris), on May 7th in the fight Zone of Lyon and later in May in Las Vegas, a thing is sure, the year is going to be full. Contact me or my agent Medhi Tellas for any proposition
Your projects for year 2011?
A maximum of beautiful fights with why not a beautiful belt in the key and the development of the camp of training which I set up with my friend Rémy Bonnel to the United States
You are native of Ivory Coast, sometimes return you over there, and what is what the peoples of the Ivory Coast know the Thai Boxing?
Yes I come back as often as possible, I have many family over there and we cross it good moments. I regret that the political situation is such as it is because Ivory Coast is really a fabulous country. At the level of the Thai boxing, there is a federation, gyms, the Thai boxing pleases in Ivory Coast but it is not developed…
You want to add some things?
One thank you to all people around me who encourage me, helps me and support me. God blesses you!
Thank you very much for this interview and CHOOKDEE for your fights!
Thanks to you, good continuation
Gregory Choplin say “The Jaguar» has a feline, complete and technical boxing. The list of the great champions whom he beat does not stop lengthening, Lidon, Konaté, Camara, Lima, Muller, Vielvoye, all fell under the claws of the “Jaguar”. He makes left at present the best world in his category. His beautiful boxing seduced the Dutch promoters and it is one of the rare French fighters to fight often in Holland in the big events. Gregory Choplin should certainly face redoubtable Yodseanklai in 2011, “The Jaguar” in all the weapons to be the first French to bring down the Thai terror…
Weight: 72,5-75 Kg
Height: 1,84 m
Number of fight: 53. 48 Wins (20 KO). 5 Losses
Title: World Champion WFCA (2007). World Champion WPKL (2006). France Champion (2004)
Team: DEREK BOXING