Competing on last month’s stacked It’s Showtime Leeuwarden card, Australian kickboxing star Ben Edwards got back in the win column taking a unanimous decision victory over Ricardo van den Bos to improve his overall record to 34-8-2.
The match-up, which would mark just one of a handful of his outings to reach the judges’ scorecards, saw a more methodical Edwards press the action, out-landing his opponent en-route to victory in his first effort of 2012.
“I’m actually pretty happy with that performance,” said Edwards. “Coming off of my last one, I just threw a lot of silly shots and smaller shots that just wasted my energy. So, my main goal for this one was to conserve my energy and pick my shots a little bit better.”
Known for his fierce finishing abilities, Edwards needed just 3:28 to conquer the K-1 World Grand Prix 2010 in Canberra, scoring three consecutive first-round knockouts to win the tournament in record time. Although more often than not you can expect the Super Heavyweight’s bouts to end abruptly, he understands the importance of having alternatives to a knockout, even if it’s not for a lack of trying.
“When you get to this level, there’s some tough guys and they can take some big shots. You can’t always rely on the knockout,” Edwards acknowledged. “And that was the problem in my last fight, I hit this guy with everything I had and he was still there – he wasn’t even rocked. So, at this level, if you hit somebody and they don’t fall over, you’ve got to have a plan B.”
A quick glance at his record, however, shows evidence that the judges’ haven’t always been friendly to “The Guvner.” In seven trips to the scorecards, only two have went in his favor, perhaps explaining his penchant for finishing things decisively.
“It’s only the second time in 47-fights that I’ve gone to decision and won. So, I’m a very knockout or be knocked out kind of guy,” explained Edwards. “I think the judges made the right call, but you never know with hometown decisions. In my hometown, the judges’ may give me the decision as well. But, I think they got it right this time.”
Up next for Edwards is expected to be Dutch kickboxer Rico Verhoeven, who suffered a first-round defeat at the same event. If victorious, the Australian will improve to 5-1 in his last six, and though he says a title shot is something he looks forward to in his fighting future, he admits that he may not be ready to take that step just yet.
“I would love to (get a title shot) down the track, but I’m not at that level yet. There’s guys that are definitely ahead of me. It’s definitely my goal to be fighting those guys, but I’m not ready for that at the moment,” said Edwards.
Not lost upon him was the importance of the card’s headlining bout, which featured Badr Hari squaring off with Gokhan Saki in a match that is expected to be “The Golden Boy’s” last in kickboxing. As Edwards continued to make his ascension up the Heavyweight latter on this night, an accomplished legend, in Hari, made his exit from the sport with a victory of his own.
“Badr Hari is the most popular guy in the sport – he’s very exciting. He’s the most exciting fighter in kickboxing,” said Edwards. “He’s a very strong character, and he’s done a lot of controversial things, but as they say, all press is good press. As far as making the decision to go to boxing, you’ve got to do what you love. If he wants to go to boxing and give it a go, then good luck to him.”
Having ventured into the world of professional boxing himself (3-0-1 w/ 3 TKO’s), it seems natural that a similar exit strategy could lie ahead for Edwards. However, if it’s up to him, he says he’ll be throwing both kicks and punches for the foreseeable future. “Back home, I’m doing a bit of boxing as well, but I’m definitely going to be with It’s Showtime for a long time to come.”