Interview of IILONKA ELMONT by Serge TREFEU (2010)
Serge TREFEU: Hello Ilonka, thank you for grant me this interview. You were born and you grew in Surinam. Towards what age you came in Holland?
IILONKA ELMONT: Hi Serge, it’s my pleasure to do the interview with you. I was 12 years old when I came to Holland.
You discovered the Thai boxing in Holland but what is what in Surinam you had already seen of the boxing or heard?
I had never heard of Thaiboxing, it was completely new for me. Boxing was only popular on TV in Surinam.
In Surinam, countries or sometimes you come back how is the boxing over there, they know well the Muay Thai?
Nowadays thaiboing/muay thai is very popular in Suriname. It’s became popular about 3 years ago. People don’t really know the rules yet, the only see a fight. it would be better if they understood they rules, then they would see the beauty of thaiboxing.
Who attracted you in Muay Thai?
Nobody really. My neighbour was Jerry Morris and I didn’t know that he was a champion. One day he brought me to train with him at Lucien Carbin’s gym. And there I fell in love with the sport !
Your first gym was the one of the great champion Lucien Carbin, you can tell us your first experiences in this gym, your first sensations?
I have only trained with Lucien carbin, he was the one who spotted me. After our first lesson he told me that I had talent and that he can make me a champion in one year. I didn’t believe him at first but then I decided to give it a shot. He was very direct and told me what he expected from me. I had to train 2 times a day, 6 days a week.
There were girls who already train in this gym in the time?
No there were no girls training seriously. I was the only girl who trained professional, I only trained with men…
You remember your very first fight, how it is crossed?
I remember my first fight, I was very nervous, and I trained very hard for that fight. When I entered the ring I wasn’t nervous anymore, it was serious bussiness, I came to fight and win. I’ve won by KO
In what category you fought?
I fought in the weightclass -50.8kg and 52.1kg
You quickly reached the high level, what was the first title importing that you gained?
Yes in 1 year I became dutch champion, european champion and world champion. My first world title was very important to me because I fought a thai girl , she was worldchampion with 3 times more experience than I had. And the title was from the WMTC. So it was a big thing to me and my trainer. The thai delegation of the Lumpini stadium came to watch the fight, of course to support their champion. But I’d won and became the World Champion.
It is thanks to Lucien Carbin that you arrived so quickly at a high professional level, tell us your first trainings, what was the invaluable advice of your trainer to motivate you?
Yes of course, it’s the agreement that Lucien and I made. We had set our goals to became and stay world champion. We trained very hard for every fight, 2 x a day morning and evening and 6 days a week. I enjoyed our training and was always motivated. I even trained when I was ill or sick.
At the beginning of your career what is what there are champions who you one influenced in their styles of boxing?
I was very impressed of Lucien Carbin’s fights, I was also fascinated about his style. Gilbert Yvel was my stablemate and he influenced me with his spirit. He was one of the best fighters I had ever seen
And girls champions?
No. I had only male-favorites.
You gained champion’s title of Europe EPMTF in Thai Boxing, it was in which year and against whom?
That was in may 2000, I think, almost 2 months after I gained the dutch title. I fought my european title against Monica Petrova of Bulgaria
Then you gain the supreme title (World WMTC) always in Thai Boxing, it was in which year and against what opponent?
That was on October 1st 2000 against Sordao sor Jamsai of Thailand.
Can you say to us how much world champion’s title you gained and against which opponents?
I have gained 7 world titles. Fought against Sordao sor Jamsai, Mary Hart, Michelle Sutcliffe, Lisa Houghton-Smith x2, Luibove Jakimova, Lisa Howard
The title of which you are most proud?
I’m proud of every title I had fought for.
Your hardest fight so far it was against which?
My hardest fight was against Shibata. The night before the fight I gained food poison and was very ill that night. I didn’t want to cancel the fight so I fought with a fever. That day I fought against her and my fever, I had lost the fight on points.
Your best memory of boxing?
The cheering of the fans, the training and of course the fights.
And the worst?
The envy and jealousy between fighters
What are the champions the most known that you beat?
I think all champions that I’ve fought. Because they were champions, more experienced and very popular before I fought them. Our strategy (lucien and mine) was to challenge only the best and the most well-know champions.
You often fought outside your country?
Yes we have fought many fights abroad/ outside holland
According to you why in Holland are the feminine fights however popular the male fights with regard to the other European countries, is it because Holland is a country very “freed” with a beautiful mentality of tolerance?
Yes and no. In holland it was also very hard to put a female fight on the card, but with a lot of pushing the promotors eventually accepted it. I think the last 3 years it’s not so hard anymore. Nowadays you have more female fighters
You have already fought in the great event of Amsterdam as ” It’s Show Time” or “Slamm”?
Yes I have fought for slamm
You have already fought in Thailand?
No I have fought against Thai champions in Holland
In what camp you went you train in Thailand, how it is crossed, is that you were welcomed well as girl?
Yes I was welcome in the camps, the people had heard about me and my fights. I trained at sityodtong in pattaya. Training there was not very different of the way lucien trained me. With Lucien I also did a lot of pad-training and clinching. The only real difference was the climate, it was always very hot, and that makes the training heavier.
You have an excellent clinch with redoubtable techniques of knees, is what that is in Thailand where you perfected these techniques?
Yes I have perfected my clinching elbow and knee techniques in Thailand. And also the way to kick. There is a big difference in the european/american way of kicking and the thai way. I had combined the techniques of the thai with lucien style. And that made me fight on orthodox
Do you liked fighting with elbows as in Thailand?
Yes I did, because it was one of my specialties.
You have already faced the girl’s French fighters?
Yes I have for Lolita candell twice and won both times
Do you Know French fighters, former champions or new current champions?
Yes I like skarbowsky and farid Villaume
And girl’s French fighters?
No I don’t know any other than Lolita Candell
What was your favourite technique in fight?
Knees, elbows and kicks. any kick.
You also fought in Boxing what is what you liked fighting just with your fists?
Yes I fought a boxing match. It was good, but I prefer Muay thai. Muay thai has more techniques.
In the time you fought against a man Philemon presenter of TV, what is that it was a real fight or a fight of exhibition ?
I was a real fight. he really wanted to fight me. He had some fighting experience but nothing fancy. I didn’t want to knock him out, I felt sorry for him.
Where from comes to you this nickname “Killer Queen”?
The boys from the gym gave me that name. Because of my fighting style. The said I fought just as a killer bee. I was the only female in the gym so that’s how they gave me the name killer queen.
You are a terror on the boxing ring but you look like very kind to outside the boxing ring and in spite of your long career of girl boxer you are always so pretty and feminine, what is your secret to keep this charming femininity?
Thank you for the compliment. My secret that I dont want to be seen as a she-male. The beauty of being a woman is that you can show both sides as in — pretty, charming and feminine.. but a woman can also be hard and dangerous. I am a woman and I love being one.
Moreover you posed several times in photo for famous magazines, tell us this experience?
Well that was very different and fun to do. Hard working (13 houres) but different
You look like also to be good-hearted because you are involved in many associations in particular in Surinam and with the UNICEF, you can say to us about it more?
Well, when you become a rolemodel you will get many opportunities to do things other people cannot do. That’s a privilege. If you are in this position and you CAN make a change that will effect others positively then you should do it. My work with UNICEF or my activities in Suriname mainly concerns community development, to help the underprivileged. It’s noble work and it’s greatly appreciated
Today you have children, you are married, what is that you would like that your children made of the Thai Boxing later?
I have a son, named Jaedon, he’s now 9 months. I’m not married, I am a single mom and it’s fun. I will definety train my childern if the like to and if they want to become a professional fighter I will support them all the way…
In 2005 and 2006 you were rewarded as better Speaker, it is an activity which you like, Speaker?
Yes I was hired to be a motivational speaker and I really enjoyed it. If you can help others or if you have a message that will move others you’ll have to share it. It’s an privilege to help others in their personal growth to become better.
You can tell us an anecdote who arrived at you in your career of fighter, anything funny or of unusual?
Well, I often get emails from males that they would like to fight me and who like to ge beat up. Some men find that sexy in a way. I think that is unusual and creepy in a way.
In the time you lived well thanks to your fights?
Yes that’s true , I don’t complain. But it’s so that women-fighters are still underpaid.
Today you stopped your career, what is what you still train, do you have your own gym, which make you?
Yes I’m retired, because of the birth of my son. I’m not training yet, but in a month or two I can train again. In a year or so I’m planning to have my own gym. Now I am a managing director of Be Innovative. I am in project development, project management and in building sport stadium in Suriname in the districts. Setting up trainings programs for teachers, coaches and other trainer. That’s how I make a living.
Do you sometimes organize seminars?
Yes of course. Most of the times I am often hired as motivational speaker.
That would you give as piece of advice to a girl who wants to make a career in the Thai Boxing?
I would advice her the way to become a champion, and what it takes. I would tell her that the medal has both sides – a side on wich you can be very proud of, and a side that can make you dissapointed.
What are your projects for 2010?
I have build a sportcomplex in the district Para in Suriname, that involves a sportfield for soccer and baseball. The financer was the BHP Billiton. In march I start a much bigger project, I will build a national stadium in Brokopondo (Suriname), My financers are IAMGOLD (Rosebell Goldmines), KNVB (Royal Dutch Soccer Association) and State-oil.
You want to add anything?
Yes, thank you. I would like to thank you for your patience and interview. I also would like to thank Lucien Carbin, my former- cornerman, Eric Ruttner, and my fans.
Thank you for having answered this interview and CHOOKDEE for the continuation
Thank you very much.
Number of fight:43
Weight: 50.8kg, 52.16kg
Gym : FFC-Lucien Carbin
Title: 7 x World champion