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Boxing Champ Tony Christodoulou: "I Made A Believer Out Of Myself"

New Greek TV's featured Greek of the Week is boxing champ Tony Christodoulou.

The Hellenic athlete has been training since the age of 16-years-old, had his first competitive fight inside the ring at 19-years-old, and went pro in 2010. Christodoulou's acquired skills were noticed by the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), who officially invited him into its organization in 2012.

The United States based UFC is the biggest mixed martial arts promotion company worldwide and includes the best fighters across the globe. For Christodoulou, being represented by the UFC is a dream come true. The Greek competitor fell in love with the organization as a kid, after receiving a UFC video tape as a Christmas gift from the United States.

In our interview below, the 27-year-old, 5' 9" fighter, who weighs in at 155 pounds, discusses his athletic feats, international endeavors, best punch, love of Greece, and more.

Maria Athens: At what age did you start boxing? 

Tony Christodoulou: I started doing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and kickboxing at the age of 16. I began training in a small gym in Athens, Greece.

Maria Athens: When did you compete in your first fight?

Tony Christodoulou: I was 19-years-old and competed in my first fight in Chicago, Illinois against Steve Battista. I won in 30 seconds with an arm bar.

Maria Athens: When did it become apparent that you were talented inside the ring?

Tony Christodoulou: During my first fight; before that it was all just speculation. I started out as a fat kid weighing 220 pounds, which seemed unlikely to most that I would make a career out of it. Yet I got down to 145 pounds and won in 30 seconds.  I made a believer out of myself.

Maria Athens: Can you give an overview of your boxing career?

Tony Christodoulou: It is the definition of a roller coaster of ups and downs... It's just a nonstop battle, not only in the ring but out. I fought all over the world-Asia, Europe, the Americas. I was a front runner for Greek MMA, 4 GFC, won CFO lightweight title. I internationally won in big organizations such as XFC Kunlun NEF, and recently made my UFC debut.

Maria Athens: Can you tell us about your background, growing up in Glyfada?

Tony Christodoulou: Glyfada is a dream place for any kid to grow up, with the beach in walking distance. Glyfada has amazing food at every corner and plenty of things to do for fun. The area has enough traditional Greek living aspects, with a touch of foreign qualities.

Maria Athens: What countries have you trained in?

Tony Christodoulou: England, America, Ecuador, Singapore, Canada, Turkey, Greece, and Thailand. I hope I'm not missing any were; I have been to so many places it becomes like a blur...

Maria Athens: Where do you currently reside and train; where do you now consider home?

Tony Christodoulou: At the moment I am in Athens, but I am moving to Miami to pick up my level of training at 5th Street Gym and American Top Team. I am planning to move to the States but Greece is always my home.

Maria Athens: Are you widely recognized in Greece, as the only UFC fighter ever with Hellenic roots?

Tony Christodoulou: There have been fighters from different countries that have Greek Roots... but I live, train, and fought in Greece. The people in Greece saw me grow up in front of them. So I'm recognized as the first Greek fighter from Greece in the UFC.

Maria Athens: What nation do you represent when fighting?

Tony Christodoulou: Greece, it is my home. I love the U.S., but I'm just a Greek kid from Glyfada.

Maria Athens: What's your training routine?

Tony Christodoulou: I try to hit 13 training sessions a week-2 strength and conditioning, 3 striking sessions, 3 grappling sessions, 1 wrestling session, 2 MMA sparring sessions, and 2 long cardio sessions.

Maria Athens: What's your best punch?

Tony Christodoulou: My jab definitely.

Maria Athens: What is your boxing record?

Tony Christodoulou: 12 wins 5 loses

Maria Athens: Have you ever been seriously injured in the sport?

Tony Christodoulou: Not too serious, but I did have knee surgery, dislocated fingers, concussions, cuts and bruises, but nothing that put my health in criticial danger.

Maria Athens: How do you mentally and physically prepare yourself for each boxing match?

Tony Christodoulou: Physically, I really amp up the intensity, I really try to push past my limits. Mentally I just remember all those people behind me, and prepare my mind to do whatever it takes to get the win. Losing is the worst feeling in the world and I try to never let it happen.

Maria Athens: What are you most proud of both personally and professionally?

Tony Christodoulou: Personally, I am proud of my friends and family, and the support of the Greek people. The messages I get from people telling me I inspire them makes the sacrifices worth it.  Professionally, getting to the UFC was a major goal for me. Now I want to prove I belong there.

Maria Athens: Where and when can we see your next match?

Tony Christodoulou: I'm not sure when but it will be in the UFC... hopefully in July on Fox Sports 1.

Maria Athens: What's next for Tony Christodoulou?

Tony Christodoulou: I'm gonna be better than ever; I've got a chip on my shoulder and something to prove. It's the most motivated I have ever been and I can't wait to make believers out of everyone.

Last modified onSunday, 15 February 2015 19:34