Eric Diamandstein: Diamond Cutter!

Eric Diamandstein is a kickboxer truly cast in the Victorian mode. He first entered the kickboxing gym alongside a friend, purely with the intention of getting fit. He found the training fascinated him in a way that other forms of exercise never had; once he saw Mike Zambidis take on Jenk Behic in 2002, he knew he wanted to be a fighter. That dream may be about to come full-circle; he is slated to take on Behic at the end of this year, on the ‘Kings of Kombat’ promotion, in Springvale.

“I didn’t really do a lot of sport before kickboxing, when I started training at 19,” he remembers. “Some stuff for school, but never anything really serious.” Once he had been bitten by the bug, however, there was no stopping him.

“I started off with Ben Chua, and after that, moved over to Con Greivas. At the beginning of this year, I joined Paul Fyfield’s gym. I’ve had two fights with him now, and won both. The first was a unanimous points decision, and the second was a first-round TKO via leg kicks.” It seems that Fyfield’s tried-and-tested style of training, possibly most famous for producing Sam Greco, has really captured Diamandstein’s imagination.

“I run 3 mornings before work, and get down to the kickboxing gym 6 times a week. We have a loose kind of structure to the training; we start off with a few rounds of skipping, then shadow, and then it’s on to the bags. After that, the boys pair up and we do pad drills with one another. I train with Mark Mullins and Faisal Fayed, who are both very skilled fighters. They ensure that my sparring sessions are often as tough as my fights!”

The variety in the training comes from Fyfield himself and his broad understanding of how to develop a fighter. “He has unlimited knowledge,” Diamandstein enthuses. “He really knows about getting you fit and into condition. Paul is really interested in how you feel day-to-day. The sessions seem to be built around this and he can adjust to suit.” Fyfield’s methods are diverse, taking in all kinds of training methodologies. “A couple of days a week,” Eric continues, “We do a track session. We meet down at one of the athletic tracks and go through various sprint drills and so on. There’s lots of variety involved in what we do.”

When asked if he has trained in Thailand, Diamandstein reveals his true Victorian nature. “I’m not really interested. Kickboxing rules are far more interesting to me. Once you get the knees, elbows and grapple involved, I think it becomes scrappy. I don’t think you can get a better, cleaner contest than what you can under traditional kickboxing rules.”  

With a record of 17 fights for 12 wins, it appears that Diamandstein is right on track. I asked him about his toughest fight, and he came up with some familiar names.

“I fought Baris Nezif on a Rising Stars promotion. We did five rounds. Before going into the fight, I contracted a nasty disease called ‘compartment syndrome’. It kept me from training for the three weeks’ before, but after careful consideration, the opportunity was just too good for me to pass up. I managed to bring the fight to a decision, but I lost it on points.” It seems that Tarik Solak promotions bring Eric most of his difficulties. “I fought Willy Borrel on Last Man Standing. I knocked him down in the second round for an eight count, but he came back in a big way and we ended up going to a decision round. Unfortunately, I lost the fight by a really small margin.”

When pressed as to the trajectory of his ambitions, Diamandstein in focused very much on his upcoming stoush with Behic. “It isn’t one hundred per cent confirmed yet, but we’re pretty sure it’s going to happen. When I started training, Jenk was one of my heroes. He’s what a kickboxer should be; clean, skilled and technical. He and Zambidis put on a war that night.” Does he see any future for himself in, say, the K1 Max.

“Now that I’m training with Paul Fyfield, I think I’m with the right trainer to get me there.” Who does he see as potential opposition in Australia? “Probably Steve Moxon. I think he’s very tough, and he’s really doing well at the moment. Ian Schaffa is another one. Other than them, there’s a Greek fighter named Vasily Kakarikos. I’ve seen him on the ‘net, and by all reports, he’s pretty good. I think he’d be a really good international opponent for me.    

“My last fight was on the Kings of Kombat promotion, August 29. I managed to stop my opponent in the first round, with leg kicks. Paul [Fyfield] is really taking me to the next level; I feel like he’s capable of bringing out the best in me. With Behic around the corner, the best is yet to come!” Kickboxing fans are looking forward to the full ascension of one of Victoria’s brightest middleweight stars.

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