Benjey Zimmerman

When I trained at Golden Glory, the most famous fighter on-campus was Chalid ‘Die Faust’ Arrab. There were another four lesser-known guys who were just as awesome; Gokhan Saki, Alistair Overeem, Errol Zimmerman and his cousin, Benjey. The first three have gone on to become household names (in kickboxing households, at least).

For my money, Benjey is next.

Where are you currently living?

I’m living in Assisi (Italy) 9 months a year and during the summer I stay in Breda (Holland).

How old were you when you started kickboxing? What got you into it?

I started training when I was 13 years old. My uncle, Silvio Zimmerman, was scheduled to fight Theo Douma in Breda. My uncle beat him by TKO and I wanted to do the same thing, so I started training.

What made you transition from kickboxing into boxing?

After the AIBA world championships, many doors were opened because of my impressive fights. I’ve signed a contract at the WSB and still enjoy it.

Where did you train kickboxing in Holland? I know when I was there, you trained between Fred Royers and Cor Hemmers/Ramon Dekkers. What were they like as trainers?

I started training at Maeng Ho, in Breda. My uncle Silvio was the trainer for the youngsters. When I was in the army, I started training with Fred Royers and we had a great connection from the beginning. When I became stronger, Fred brought me to Golden Glory and that’s where I met legendary trainer Cor Hemmers and legendary fighter Ramon Dekkers.

How do you enjoy boxing? I remember you saying you weren’t that confident with your hands. How did you develop your skills?

Boxing is a really new experience but very exciting. The coaching staff in Italy really developed my skills and I feel much more confident with my hands. Can’t wait to fight again!

Where were you doing your boxing training?

I train boxing with Fred Royers and Godfried Balyn when I’m in Holland.
In Italy, I train with Sergei Korschinsky ( from the Ukraine) and Francesco Damiani.

How different is the boxing training, compared to the partner work you had done at GG? Is it better or worse?

Training in each discipline is completely different. The GG training is like 90 minutes but at a much higher pace. The boxing training lasts 2 hours, but at a slower pace. Both styles are hard in their own way.

What was the name of the competition? Didn’t you win the heavyweight division?

World Series Boxing. Unfortunately, I was injured during the season and could not qualify for the individual finals.

Are you a pro boxer now? If so, what is your ranking?

Semi-pro for AIBA. WSB, so no professional ranking.

Any plans to return to kickboxing? Are you still training kickboxing at all?

Yes, I love to fight, so it doesn’t really matter in which discipline.

How is Errol going?

Errol is fine! He will become a father soon and is preparing himself to fight in October.

What is the difference between boxing and kickboxing, both in training and fighting?

Distance !!! In kickboxing, the distance between you and your opponent is much greater, so you can follow with a kick after a combination of punches. In boxing, the distance is short and there’s a lot of head movement.

What did you think about the GG/Alistair Overeem business?

I was in Italy when it all happened, so I don’t really know both sides of the story. Alistair has always been a great sparring partner and friend. I can’t judge what happened because I honestly don’t really know.

Who are the fighters you admired as a kid? Did they influence your style?

My favourite fighters were Mike Tyson, Muhammad Ali and Randy ‘MACHOMAN’ Savage. I’ve never tried to copy their styles, but there are always some little details I try to copy.

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