I found out that he does indeed have some sharp boxing skills, attested to by the fact that he took gold at the Singapore National Boxing Championships in 2010 and again in '11, plus the gold in the Invitational Boxing Championship the same year, after dropping a weight class.
Check out this video of one of Quek's amateur fights that showcases this self-proclaimed "ex-fat kid's" mean left hook, laser-site focus, and inability to concede to "backing up". A 21-year old with this much punching power is an exciting prospect to look out for in the future.
In the same busy year of winning two boxing golds, Kim Hock made his foray into MMA at the Naksu amateur MMA competitions in Thailand in 2011, winning a Grand Prix by TKO. The videos of his fights in Naksu show his limited grappling knowledge yet sharp self-preservation instincts, and a devastating grasp of ground and pound. After watching the Naksu video below, then learning that he started MMA competitions after only six weeks of MMA training, I completely forgave him for getting mounted. The Thai crowd goes absolutely mad for his striking. It's such a shame that shortsighted bureaucracy has banned MMA in that combat-loving country.
Apparently Quek doesn't want to be labeled a one-dimensional fighter either. Earlier in 2012 he decided to make a foray into wrestling competition at the Singapore National wrestling trials. He ended up winning bronze in his division and was selected for the team. Not bad for a kid that only started grapple sports less than a year earlier.
|Courtesy James Goyder|
But when they entered the cage, their personalities seemed to switch. The hometown crowd started out on Kim's side, but Major's entertaining fighting style won him appreciation. Being a purple belt in BJJ, Major did have a lot of respect on his side as well, although Quek's boxing pedigree wasn't overlooked when his jabs started backing Major up. Kim's crisp and clear striking and his newly-minted wrestling ability were in contrast to Major's versatile performance, which made the fight a lot of fun to watch. And then Major showboated. His misjudgment of Quek's seriousness and focus taken to be a lack of impetus turned out to be a mistake, and one he would regret. Kim Hock stalked Major intently and persistently in a stand up game, but the bout was to end in stunning fashion with Kim Hock taking Major's back, sinking a deep RNC in the second, and swiftly putting his opponent to sleep. You can watch the video here.
So... "Who the heck is this guy?"
I had the chance to speak with Kim Hock's coach, Juggernaut Fight Club's Arvind Lalwani, shortly after the fight. Every coach dreams of finding a protege who is honest, humble, willing and able. Coach Arvind, a decorated boxer in his own right, has been fortunate to meet and foster this amazing young Singaporean's fight aspirations from the very beginning.
"Kim has been with me for two-plus years with boxing; the last ten months he's been doing wrestling and BJJ too," Coach Arvind informs me. "He's very quiet, not very outspoken; one who listens to instructions real well. He is possibly one of the nicest fighters I know. And he's like a son to me." That's a glowing recommendation from a coach. So I asked him what Kim Hock is like in the gym, and in training. "Kim is diligent, always wanting to learn, very patient," he replies. "He is one of Juggernaut's assistant instructors and he's actually very good at teaching because of his patience."
And Quek Kim Hock is just as reciprocal with his gratitude. Throughout our contact for this article, he has repeatedly affirmed his dedication to his coach and gym, and his trust in their guidance. My first glimpse of this was after his win at ONE FC 3. We had the chance to sit down and talk about his experiences and feelings in what could have been the most important event of his life to date.
ONE FC 4: War of the Lions
ONE FC 4: War of the Lions
So first off, what actually got you started in MMA?
I was just boxing when my coach Arvind said "Want to try MMA?" I said "Okay" and six weeks later I fought in Naksu.
After fighting amateur MMA throughout 2011, how did you feel when ONE FC offered you a professional fight?
Really excited! This was really big for me; I was so happy to fight in this organization.
What did you think about the match up?
My first opponent was a Singapore guy from Impact. He was a stand up guy, a Muay Thai guy. I saw one fight he had in Malaysia FC. I thought, "I'm a stand up guy, and I'm confident on the ground. I'm comfortable." I respect every fighter - I don't think I have an edge. But I know my camp will support me.
How did you feel when your opponent was changed at the last minute to Major Overall?
Initially I was uncomfortable. It affected me a little. This was my pro debut - I was preparing for a stand up guy and I got a ground guy. But after discussion with my camp, I felt better. After all, it's an MMA match. I have confidence in my camp so I took it.
I thought I would be nervous - but they were all cheering for me! So I felt nervous but excited! It feels good.
And once you were in the cage, what were your first thoughts?
I was nervous, I was face to face with my opponent. I felt the most nervous when I saw the referee. Holy shit, it's Matt Hume! I wanted to shake hands with him; I'd only seen him on TV. I thought, "Man, he's reffing my match!"
How did you feel when the fight began?
Once the bell rang, I was confident. This comes from my camp. I couldn't have done it alone.
So how do you perceive the importance of this first pro fight?
I've competed in boxing, wrestling, BJJ, and amateur MMA. This was a test to see if I'm ready.
It's a good beginning! I can enjoy it and be happy for a while.
After his big win, Kim Hock spent a few days enjoying the victory then went right back into training. His evident skills and decisive victory put him on the radar for the next ONE FC event. As Juggernaut Fight Club is signed to the ONE FC Network exclusively, perhaps he was under even closer scrutiny as a candidate for the card. Then it was finally agreed to and announced that he would cross over into hostile territory to meet Malaysian homegrown hero Peter Davis on the Destiny of Warriors line up in Kuala Lumpur on June 23rd.
Kim Hock's star is definitely on the rise. Between his first pro victory and his second outing on the world stage, I felt a strong sense of urgency to discover what events in his life have brought Kim Hock to this pivotal launching point in his MMA career. So I enquired even further into his circumstance.
Being a relatively young guy and attending university while trying to start a fight career means you must have a strong support group at home. How big is your family? Do they support your choice to fight MMA?
I live in a family of three including my elder brother and my Mom. My father passed away when i was 12 years old. As expected, my Mom is worried about me fighting, like every mother does, and I don't thnk she would be watching me live. But she will definitely watch the video afterwards - after knowing I'm safe, of course!
So how did you get involved in martial arts - is your brother into it?
My brother doesn't do martial arts, he's is a triathlete! He competes in triathlons and he's currently preparing for his first Iron Man ever! I only got into combat sports after seeing Mike Tyson.
Aside from Mike Tyson, who is your favorite boxer?
My favourite boxer would be Yuriorkis Gamboa. I like Gamboa because of his style: he's fast and a very confident fighter, and he's very entertaining to watch.
What happened to make you start fighting MMA?
My coach said "Want to try MMA?" And six weeks later I was in Thailand's Naksu amateur competition!
Now that you're surrounded by MMA, who's your favorite fighter in this discipline?
My favorite MMA fighter would be Nick Diaz. I like his style and his in-your-face type of approach to fighting. He is a bad, bad man!
Who do you think are some of the top guys in your weight class?
In ONE FC they would be Ole Laursen, Eduard Folayang, Zoro. and of course the up and coming guys seem really dangerous too!
How about international fighters in your weight class? Anyone else important to you?
I enjoy watching BJ Penn and Nate Diaz as well. They are people that I admire a lot.
Is there anyone specific you'd want to fight?
I'm not looking at anybody in particular. I would be willing to fight anybody whom, me and my team at Juggernaut feel I'm ready for.
Will you keep wrestling competitively on the SG team?
Of course I am hoping to do so if the opportunities are presented at the right moment.
How about boxing professionally while you have your MMA career going?
Just like wrestling, I'm down for anything as long as I'm being presented with the right opportunities at the right moment.
If you weren't fighting, what kind of job would you have?
I'd probably be just doing some regular part-time jobs as I'm still studying now and can't afford the time to work full time.
So will you continue further Uni studies?
I'm not sure. There's a lot to consider - the school fees... and the results of my diploma would play a huge factor, so there's really no guaranty.
Do you think a fight career can help you earn enough for more school?
I think this fight career could definitely earn me more for further studies, but I guess that really depends upon how well I will do!
So basically you weren't the best student?
School was okay I guess. I wasn't the best student in class - studying is one thing I loathe but I guess I need something to fall back on if all else fails!
Outside of your training and studies, do you have time for any other hobbies or interests?
My hobbies are pretty simple, just eating or going to the movies with my girlfriend or my friends - even a simple dinner out would make me pretty happy.
So if dinner is your hobby, what is your favorite food?
My favourite food is a tough one! [laughs] I'm actually fine with anything... but I love rice! I love it so much I could have rice as my meal for the rest of my life every single day. But during weight-cutting I have to cut down on carbs which results in me not being able to eat rice, which is kind of depressing sometimes, especially on bad days.
I have never heard any fighter say that! What is your walk around weight?
I walk around at 76-78 kilograms.
What's your average weekly training schedule?
I train 4-5 times week when I'm not fighting and I train 5-6 days a week when I am, ranging from about 2 - 5 hours depending upon my schedule.
Do you like music when you work out? What kind?
I love music, be it when I'm working out or even when im not! I listen to all kinds of music and regardless of languages too!
Are you religious at all?
I'm a Buddhist and I do pray sometimes before I fight. I wouldn't say I'm really pious, but I guess I do have faith.
So aside from not being able to eat rice are there any other hardships along this training road that you'd like to share?
The hardships would be the regular stuff that most fighters face, I suppose... having a hard time cutting weight, always getting beat up, always trying to push and push through the limits, and training consistently.
"But that's what makes everything worthwhile...
the success that comes after all your hard effort!"