Maseh Nuristani

International Kickboxer Magazine, July/August 2012

Maseh Nuristani is the most recent fighter to emerge from James Roesler’s ‘Ultimate’ Gym in Hopper’s Crossing, Victoria. He speaks to Jarrod Boyle about first fights, first wins, losses and all the things that make an up-and-comer aim for the sky.

How old are you, Maseh?

I’m 25.

What does your fight record stand at?

23 fights for 20 wins and 3 losses, with 9 of those wins coming by way of K.O.

How many years have you been training?

5 years.

What do you weigh in at?


Did you play any other sports before you started kickboxing?

I was always interested in martial arts. I went and tried Wing Chun once, but it didn’t do it for me. Kickboxing really was the first thing, and the only thing. In high school, I played soccer.

How did you get into Muay Thai?

I was looking for something in martial arts, so I went and did couple of boxing classes, but I wasn’t that interested. One of my friends was training at Ultimate, so I went down and had a look.

What is it you like about training at Ultimate? Who trains you?

The first time I went, I just rocked up; there was James. I told him I wanted to train, so he put me in the general classes. I trained for a start in the normal classes – I thought I was training hard! Around that time I started going to uni to study international business, so I stopped. Then, about a year after, I just woke up one morning and said, ‘I have to go to kickboxing’. As soon as I went back in to the gym, I went to James, I shook his hand and said, ‘I want to fight’. He said, “yeah yeah”, because, of course, he hears that all the time. But I said, “No, I want to.” I had to train my arse off to get noticed. I kept on training until he started doing pads with me. Then, I got to fight.

What was the experience of your first fight like?

My first fight was funny. I was a bit nervous. The whole thing to start with was a blur. Before every fight, I pray. I’m a Muslim. I walked to the ring, the referee’s instructions; it all went in a second. The bell went, and I thought, ‘Oh – crap – this is it!’ My head was clear; I had no plan, other than throwing the combos. I dropped him pretty quickly. He got up, and I dropped him again. It was a first round finish.

My first loss was actually my second fight, on a Knees of Fury show, in Adelaide. The guy was good; he kept coming and was very aggressive. Afterwards, I wasn’t happy with my performance. When I fight, the way I see it, my opponent is in front of me, and behind him is my win. I have to get through him. I will do whatever I can, whatever is within the rules, to get through him. I just focus on the win.

Do you think you’ll fight Full Thai?

When I started fighting, it was under kickboxing rules. I have taken fights under both K1 and modified Thai. I haven’t fought full Thai rules; I’m not really interested. Ultimately, my goal is to go to K1.

How do your parents and friends feel about it? Do they come and watch?

I don’t allow my parents to come. I don’t want the distraction; I don’t want my mum freaking out. Every time I fight, she says she hopes I’ll be stopping soon. I say to her, “Look mum, this is it. I’m not going to stop until I get where I want to get.”

I was born in Afghanistan. My family left when I was six and moved to New Delhi, in India. We lived there for about six years. After that, we came to Australia. My dad was the secretary general of the Afghan Olympic Committee. He was once a hockey player on the Afghan Olympic team. Naturally, he was excited, because he’s into sports. He was telling me, ‘Maybe you could come represent Afghanistan in shootboxing at the Asian games.’ 3 years ago, he said this. I’d love to do it, but not yet. I need to get my experience up. I need to go in and come out a winner, not just participate.

Who do you spar with?

Andre Meunier. The best word to describe him is awkward. He’s tough and tall. Hard to get in on.

Do you have any pre-fight rituals or superstitions?

I pray.

How would you describe your style? Can you explain a bit about how you like to fight and where it comes from?

It’s constantly changing; and hopefully getting better! I think I’m naturally more of a  puncher. The training style [at Ultimate] suits me. I try to concentrate on my weaknesses and fix them, rather than [work to] my strengths.

Who are the fighters you emulate and look up to?

Yodsanklai; he’s a southpaw, like me. He’s got great timing, and good boxing for a Thai. He’s hard, and doesn’t take a backward step. Arthur Kyshenko; he’s also tough. He’s got heart. Andy Souwer, Badr Hari.

Toughest opponent so far?

It would have to have been Daniel Smyrk. No matter what I threw, he kept on coming.

What’s your most funny or memorable experience of kickboxing so far?

James always doing your head in! He’s a funny bloke. He knows how to prep you for a fight psychologically. He’s always talking to you.

We wish you all the best, Maseh, and look forward to seeing more of you.

I’m going to do my best. You know what they say; ‘Aim for the sky and be happy with the clouds.’ If you don’t mind, I’d also like to thank my sponsors; Western Developments and GNC at Melbourne Central.

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