Andre Meunier – K-Energy

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Andre ‘The Mad Man’ Meunier: appropriately labelled and packaged for Japanese fans.

Andre Meunier, Victoria’s number-one heavyweight kickboxer, is hitting his straps. He’s just come back from a win in Japan where he was the intro for the two most significant heavyweights in the history of the sport, might do a it of boxing, enjoys a spot of MMA in his time off, has opened a tattoo parlour in Windsor and likes a bit of speedway racing when the opportunity presents itself. He tells Theme Park at its Darkest all about it.

So… how did it go?

Awesome. I went over trained again with Nick [Kara], Sakmongkol and the rest of the WKO team in Thailand. I won by second-round KO.

What was Japan like?

Unbelievable; awesome. I really enjoyed it. Japan is clean; the people are nice, the food was great. The fans are unbelievable – so die-hard. I was a newcomer, but there were fans that attended the weigh-in and took photos, collected signatures, and then came back to get you to sign the photos the next day. They were outside the hotel for three to four days, waiting for fighters to come down every morning.

How was the promotion itself? Did they look after you?

There were close to 4,000 at the show at the Namba Stadium, in Namba, Japan. Very good, very professional. They looked after us with gifts; we had both a chiropractor and a physio on-hand before the fight.

How was Chalid Arrab? How did the fight go? Was it what you expected?

I didn’t see Chalid at the weigh-in. I saw this other dude, and it clicked. ‘Prince Alireza’. He was young; Iranian born, been in Japan since he was five. They’d taken him in as one of their own. He’d won some big tournament over there.

I expected him to be a little harder, a bit more aggressive. I copped a kick straight across the face; I think I switched on then. That was in the second round. I knocked him out shortly after. They haven’t even sent me a tape yet. I’ll see it when I get over there, I guess.

Were you concerned by the last-minute change?

I wasn’t worried. I’d trained hard. Whoever they put in front of me I was going to have to hit, anyway.

Did you interact with Aerts or Hoost?

Yeah. Aerts was in my change room. I was the semi-main event; Aerts and Hoost were the main event. He seemed to be a lovely bloke. We had breakfast with him in the mornings.

Did you see their fight? How was it for two guys in their mid-forties?

They’re not what they were, but their instincts, what to throw and how to throw it was all still there.

What’s next in terms of fighting?

I’m back on K-Energy in Japan on March 8th. Same corner, same crew. James [Roesler] might be coming this time. After that, it’s Dubai on April 18. I don’t know the opponent, or the organization.

Then, there’s the AFC title in May. That’ll be MMA. I’ll try for that as soon as I can get a break and the dates work out. That should be a bit of fun. I’ll go down and do my MMA with Chris Brown at Adrenalin. It’s down in Cheltenham, near Southland. I’ve known Chris for a long time. His wrestling techniques suit my style and are a lot better for me. I feel comfortable down there at Adrenalin.

I’m living in St Kilda; I drive down to Hopper’s Crossing a couple of times a week (Andre trains at Ultimate Muay Thai in Hopper’s Crossing with James Roesler). I’ll go back to the WKO in Thailand for three weeks before March 8 in order to reach that fight level.

It’ll be good to be back with Sakmongkol. It’s unbelievable watching him. He’s inspiring. He trains so hard and intense. And it showed in the ring when he KOed the Japanese champ with his hands.

Tell us about Melburn in Windsor. What made you open a tattoo shop?

Life after fighting! Depending on what fights and how I’m going, I’ll keep going next year. Long as I’ve still got the heart and the drive for it. There’s a few things I want to accomplish; a bit of MMA, a couple more boxing fights. I competed on a four-man eliminator on Tarik [Solak’s] show and I won that.

Tell me about the motor racing. How long have you been doing that?

My brothers and sisters race standard saloons in Speedway races. I’ve had a car for ages – I like to get away [and race] when I can. Get on the track and see how I go. I came second in one of the biggest races. Most of them are out in country Victoria – Wilgunyah, Korrowa, and Wangaratta. They’re the main places.

What’s the attraction to adrenalin sports?

 I think it’s the all-or-nothing attitude in the sports that I like. You put your foot down, or you get smashed in the arse, or put in the wall. When the track is muddy it’s a bit like my fighting; any which way goes!

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