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Temps de lecture : 7 minutes

Interview of JO PRESTIA by Serge TREFEU (2010)

Serge TREFEU: Hello Jo, thank you for grant me this interview, first of all how are you?

JO PRESTIA: That is rather well at the moment…

You began the rather young boxing, in what gym you began, who was your first trainer?

I began the boxing towards the age of 17 years and my trainer of always was José Hernandez

In your time the Thai Boxing was not still well known, who made you discover this sport?

It is true that I had begun with the Full Contact and the Kick Boxing and it is Roger Paschy, a friend of my trainer who became known to us the Thai boxing…

Teenager you were rather a brawler, the boxing was a means to channel your energy or it is simply by taste of the effort that you wanted to make this sport?

I was rather a brawler but always to defend weaknesses, I was Zorro of the school, I always fought with the most sturdy to defend the others!

What were the champions of time, what is that you knew them? Some you one inspired at the beginning of your career?

The champion’s first wave for me it was many of the boxers of the Yamatsuki gym from Roger Paschy, Bafir, Kouider, etc.
You fast rose on the boxing ring, you calls back you of your first fight?

Yes at the end of six months I replaced at a moment’s notice a wounded boxer of my gym for a fight in Belgium

At the beginning of the 80s the Thai boxing was in full evolution, the small events were many, especially in Paris and his region, you remember this time?

Yes of course on it is there that I made my first feat of arm by fighting Thai as Soudareth Xenabong, who made the education of my thighs kick of shin, but it was a good time for me!

Your first title was the one of champion of France, it was against whom?

The first title I gained him in front of Jamie from Yamatsuki Gym but he did not make me present I gained him hard…

You climb an additional level by winning the championship of Europe, the title which you are keep several times successfully. What are the opponents against whom you defended him?

The championship of Europe, I defended him against Dutch and against English, names I do not remember it any more and once in front of Bruno Benlabed, a great fighter of time

At the beginning of the 90s the Thai boxing is full development and you win in 1990 the supreme title. Can you return over this strong moment of your career?

It was a movie for me, at the end of the year on 1989 I decide to stop without ever thinking of making a world championship, and for the last fight we make me meet, the thai Sannarong, the brother of Samsong who comes just from Thailand to make an European career. I was given losing in 100 %. This day there, for me, it was my last fight. I rose on the boxing ring by saying to me or I win or I die, and there I think I have make a big fight, victorious by KO in the 4th round. Via newspapers, I learn a little later that Samsong wants to avenge his brother. My trainer takes advantage of it by saying OK but with the title in game. And there, Samsong did not take me seriously, I think that he was not rather ready and he fall KO to the 4th round. After that I felt invincible and I continued some years to meet the hardest fighters of the planet!

In the 90s two bigger terrors of boxing rings in your category are the Dutch Ramon Dekkers and the Thai Somsong, you faced them everything them two in fights of anthologies, that keep you by these memorable fights in front of these two great champions?

I have never, never, met somebody who strikes so hardly that Samsong and Ramon, for me they are the most complete fighters. Both are warriors who fight face to face without moving back!

You met so several times the Thai Soudareth which was a big champion of time, what fight was hardest in front of him?

I met three times Soudareth, I won the third time, two first times my thighs still remember it…

I quote you these great champions that you met, Kobal, Benlabed, Eguskiza, Danny Bill, whom hold you of your confrontations in front of these boxers?

Against Kobal, disappointed, I had no real confrontation. He distrusted my fists and he did not want to set of risk, it is me who have make the fight. I was obliged to take risks and I was counterpunch once. But if I did not advance there was no fight, my defeat was not justified …

Bruno (Benlabed) a very big fighter, a beautiful memory, a defeat and a victory, everywhere.

Eguskiza I boxed him in Kickboxing and he turned too much for me, I prefer the fighters who are really in confrontation. Danny a fight which did not have to take place, it was far from the weight the day before and the next day it had to represent himself in the official weighing-in, he did not come. We left me the decision to fight him or not. Seen the pressure of the TV, the live on TV canal +, I accepted but was not it to me to make the decision from the moment the boxer was not for the weight. Danny it is a gifted but in equal weight I would have can be also lost but it would not have been the same fight…

What fight was hardest during all your career?

My second fight against Samsong, I put several months to put back me!

Do there is a champion whom you would have wished to face in the time and whom you did not have the opportunity to meet?

Yes SAMAI. Samai, it is my big regret, I injured itself in Thailand and I was not able to meet him…
You were several time in Thailand and I believe that you often trained for the famous camp Sityodthong, you remember this camp?

It’s Roger Paschy who became known to us this camp and I come back to it several times I even fought for them in Thailand and in Laos

You fought how many times in Thailand, and what difference there was for you to fight in the Kingdom of the Siam with regard to France?

I had to fight about ten times in Thailand and I don’t find harder to fight in Thailand that in Europe. Thai begin often very slowly the fights, in Europe often the rhythm was stronger from the beginning to the end, same thing for the trainings as it is longer in Thailand it is less extensive than to us

You have already fought during the event of the King’s Birthday?

Not I fought in events with the representative of King but never in the King’s Birthday

Your boxer’s style was rather “Toymat” (with fists), the techniques of clinchs, the knees, the projections, you did not often use them when you fought in Muay Thaï, why, you did not feel comfortable with this style of technique?

Even if knees were not my favourite technique I would not have wanted to practise another boxing than the Thai boxing and it is true that it did not leave naturally knees but on the other hand I worked a lot to counter them…

You had Boxing one redoubtable which allowed you to abbreviate many of your fights, in the time what is of what you had thought of making a career in the Noble Art?

Yes I have made about ten fights in independent after been a champion of France of Thai boxing. BUT it was necessary to choose and I gave my preference to the Thai boxing

One of your favourite’s techniques was low kicks, you had destructive low kicks, which would you advise to a young boxer to acquire low kicks so devastating?

Work without being made of presents…

What was your most beautiful memory of boxing?

I have a very beautiful memory. I had left alone in the depths of the Thailand for a fight with a coach of the Sityodthong, I don’t remember any more the name of the village. I got ready, put my bands alone, not too much morale, I waited sat on a wooden box which served me as bench and I can see Krongsak (9 times World champion of Thai Boxing), which I knew but was not it either a friend. It was satisfied to see me there, he undid me my bands, he redid them, he massed me and it is occupied by me. That my motivated, I have make a great fight and I won by KO at the 3rd round, since we remained very friendly!

And the worst?

The fight against Danny Bill I should not have accepted…

You who has a look of former, how you see the Muay Thai today in France, which difference there is between your time and now?

I find the new very technical, more professional fighters from the beginning of career and it is so much the better but was needed the beginning and I am satisfied to have been a member of the second wave French fighters

You are always in the environment of the boxing because we saw you coach and trained a young promising champion, Johan Fauveau, you like being still in the atmosphere mesmerizing of the boxing?

During several years I wanted to turn the page of the boxing and I did not even go in the events of boxing because the envy to fight was always present. Today I come back, I give lessons in a gym, I liven up seminars through France and foreigner. I try to bring my knowledge of boxing rings and fight and I find some pleasure to occupy me of boxer such as Johan Fauveau…

Do you always train, you put gloves still sometimes?

I train always quietly, almost every day

In the 2000s you organized a big event on Paris, what memory you have of this event and you would like to do again the experience as organizer?

I liked organizing but this pleasure has me cost expensively, I would begin again gladly but if I have sponsors with me…

After your beautiful career in boxing you turned to the cinema successfully because you one now crowned filmography to your credit, how you came to actor’s job?

When we want to make a new job best it is to go to the school and to take courses, it is what I have make and it is Dominique Valera who my guided on one of his teachers of dramatic art in the time

Often in your roles in the cinema of part your “physical appearance of boxer ” you play “the badass” or the “nasty man”, you like many to play this kind of roles or would also love you to make character parts?

I like the roles of nasty and it is also character parts, I reassure you. What I wish it is more substantial roles and the last ones whom I have make are a little more important, in everything the cases I progresses slowly but I progress…

During the movie “Fury” you managed and set up the scenes of fights, it is the thing which you like choreographed by action scenes?

Not of the whole I have him make for Karim Dridi who is a friend otherwise I do not make this kind of thing

Your past of boxer served a lot you to become a comedian?

When I have to meet a producer or a director generally they know whom I am and I am respectfully often received, it is what I feel. For the rest it is necessary to assure in the essays and boxing help me in no way and if I do not assure the essays it is not because I am a boxer that we are going to choose me…

With what actor or actress do you dream to shoot?

Al Pacino as everybody

Your cult movie?

Scarface, Goodfellas, the Godfather

To Go to shoot in the United States in “Hollywood” it tempts you or at all?

I have already had propositions but my English is not terrible and it is not evident. At the moment I am in negotiation for an American movie with a big star about whose name I would keep silent before having signed…

You also go on the theatre and I believe of the paint, having they ” the soul of a warrior ” on boxing rings, you have now ” the soul of an artist “, to diversify in the artistic domain it is something who really holds you heart?

Not, it is true that I like very much the paint and I would have liked knowing how to paint but in spite of the efforts of a great friend and an artist Pasquale LECREUX, I have to admit that I am always incapable to hold a brush…

What are your future projects?

Lots of projects!

To finish you can speak to us about the brand HUNTED?

The brand it is not Hunted, it is “PRESTIA” simply, Hunted it is the name of the collection, very soon a new collection is going to go out and I am really very satisfied, it is me who worked the new logos which are called “OUTLAW”

Thank you very much for this interview and Good Luck for your projects future!

Thank you

Joe Prestia it is the pure warrior of the race of Dekkers, Kobal, Somsong, Skarbowsky…

With a mental one incredible, it is an exceptional durable boxer. He possesses the lightning in his fists and his Boxing is like boxers pros of the noble Art. He trained moreover with Rahilou (World champion) and Proto (Europe champion). Set apart his fists, his favourite weapons are low kicks and front kick which he masters perfectly. The clinch was not its key point because he did not like feeling “locked” but it knew always how to get rid of it by using its main asset, fists. These meetings against Somsong and Dekkers are from now on cult matches in the annals of French Muay Thai!


Born: In June 5th, 1960 in Sicily

Height: 1,70 cm

Weight: 63/66 Kg

Number of fight: 85. 70 wins. 30 KO. 15 Losses

Titles: World Champion Thai Boxing (1990, 1991, 1992)

Word Champion kick-boxing (1993)

Europe Champion Thai Boxing (1987, 1988, 1989)

France Champion Thai Boxing (1985)     

10 fights in Boxing Professional