Marco Pique: The Sniper

International Kickboxer Magazine, March/April 2012

Marco Pique is becoming an increasingly well-known name around the world. Australian fight fans are developing an especially keen interest in him, given the introduction we received on The Challenger Muay Thai when he fought – and defeated – the fearsome Frank Giorgi.

Marco is possibly the best kind of fighter to watch. He is highly skilled, and has an intelligent, strategic method of deploying his weapons. He is inspirational to fight fans for another reason; like so many of the best fighters, his has been a hard row to hoe. He has fought many of the world’s best fighters at his weight and many of them early in his career. This has made for a chequered record, but allowed him to build a strategic acumen as strong as his will to win. The foundation of Marco’s success, and his reputation, is his defence.

“The key to a good defence is looking into the eye of my opponent,” he says. “If you can do that, you can read his body language. The only part of my style that has changed since I started is that I got to know my body well enough to decide when to go harder, or when to hold back.” He is a genuine all-rounder, not choosing any technique as his favorite. “My favorite technique is a combination of all weapons,” he says.

Marco, a Dutch national, moved to the Netherlands from Surinam when he was nine years old. By the age of fifteen, he had made his first contact with Thai boxing. “I walked past a gym with my cousin and heard some weird noises. We went inside for a look and saw some guys kicking and hitting the bag. Next day, we went in for a trial lesson and I immediately fell in love with the sport.” The young Marco had his first fight, aged sixteen. “The other sport I love playing is street soccer, with my friends.”

Marco’s career was a rough road early on. Whether you chose to call it opportunity or fate, he found himself facing many tough customers. “I fought a lot of great fighters early in my career. I didn’t have much experience and I was young and wild. I found most of my fights were hard until the moment I said to myself, ‘Marco, you have to train harder than this’. After that, I began to make more progress in my fighting style and then began to make a name in the sport.”

Pique has had a chequered career, but it appears that things began to straighten out after he took an honest appraisal of himself and his training. It is in this way great athletes like Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali rise to become statesmen; their achievements transcend the sport itself. When asked about his most skilled opponent, he replies, “The best I can’t describe, but the most difficult fighter I have fought is myself.” Sage words, indeed.

It appears that, for Marco, fighting has a significant philosophical element. “I would describe the experience like a lifeline. The experience of preparing for a fight teaches me more about myself as a person. All the experiences I’ve had, good and bad, have made me a much better and more well-known fighter.”

Marco’s name and reputation have continued to grow after his participation in The Challenger Muay Thai. “I was invited [to take part in] the television program, says Marco. “I read the format and I was immediately interested because I knew it was going to be a big challenge. The fighters lived with each other, became friends and then fought against each other. It was also a mental game because your fights were so close together. But I’m used to that because I fought a lot of tournaments where I got injured and still had to proceed.” The show was unlike any tournament or competition however, because of the isolation.

“In the beginning when the show started, it was weird being there [on] your own; no trainer, no sparring partners and no family. So the start for me was a little bit difficult. But luckily, I adjusted pretty well.” Marco soon found his feet, courtesy of a skilled trainer.

“The training sessions were more in the Thai style, but I had a good pad holder (Nugget, from Australia’s own NTG) who understood my fighting style.” Marco seemed to get what he needed, and was able to defeat Frank Giorgi by decision on the first fight of the series.

“After that fight,” he says, “I had an ugly cut on my left shin and had to fight again 7 days later. I couldn’t recover fully and lost the second fight on points. It was a hard fight because I couldn’t use one of my weapons; the pain in my leg was terrible. I [stayed] strong in my mind, though, and let everybody see what kind of fighter I am.” Participation in the show has set Marco up for a busy 2012.

“Over the next 12 months, I’m focusing on upcoming fights and the growth of my team, TeamSniper. I have been guided for many years by my trainers; they taught me a lot in the world of Thai boxing. We were like a family! But now, I have enough experience and know-how of my own to start my own team.” Marco has developed his own method of preparation, particular to the style which he will take with him.

“In preparation for a fight I don’t focus on my opponent, because in practice it’s always different. During the fight, though, it’s important to listen to your corner and your trainer.”

International kickboxing, after the demise of K1, is at a crisis point. While the MMA juggernaut is looming, all kinds of interesting possibilities, like Thai Fight and The Muay Thai Premier League are beginning to emerge. Each format offers not only its own rule set, but different tournament structures, also. Did the dissolution of K1 affect him?

“No, it didn’t. I always was an independent fighter and didn’t stick with one organization. I fight all around the world and have fought for a lot of organizations who are as big as K-1. So I’m glad that I followed the path I did to achieve my goals.”

A fighter like Marco Pique, who has successfully traversed the international fight scene, stands to profit substantially under the current conditions. He has managed to stay the course through difficult times and, in 2012, emerges at the peak of his already significant powers. Technical fighters are always the best to watch and, judging by his career to date, the best is yet to come. From the look of things, the best is coming very quickly, indeed.

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