Index – Sports – Bruce Lee’s fist is not a toy

It is not easy to enter the Halker-King Team Csepel gym on an average afternoon, there is so much bustle inside. In the corridor Masni, the one-year-old gray French bulldog bets and continues to steal the show from the award-winning beauty whose Exatlon winner So Gabi – also a kick-boxing competitor of the Halker-King Team and Krisztián Jároszkievicz his master – the latter is also the coach of the young man for whose sake we came to the gym.

Veres Rolanddal we discussed the date at half past five, in the meantime we still have some time, look at the plaque of glory on the wall, and have the impression that we are in the apartment of the Veres family. Emitt Mercédesz, there Richard and Alex, and finally the youngest of the five brothers, but the most successful, Roland. (Beáta, 12 years older than Roland, also plays sports, she was a world kungfu champion in 2005.)

The five brothers were raised alone by their mother, István Veres, from a salary of eighty thousand forints, as we learned from a 2008 article on Népszabadság. And not in any way: all five became world champions in some martial arts.

Most are in kick-boxing, of course, since our interviewee, Roland, is also a five-time kick-boxing world champion. He won four of the five gold medals in 2017 in Budapest, at the age of 18 among adults!

Hammer Mónika an office manager guides you through the hall, inside four- to five-year-olds practicing the basics of kick-boxing, and then the slightly larger ones are already controlled by a Veres, named Richard.

“Rolika will be here soon!” Mónika reassures me, and when I smile at the nickname, she quickly explains:

Rolika has been around since she was five years old here, it was nicknamed like that at the time, and now it’s stuck on it.

I did my first interview with “Rolika” in 2017, when for the first time in her life she started in the national boxing championship, but she got out of the much more routine Gábor Virbán.

At half past five, Rolika, the blond, skinny young man who is now a world champion in boxing, arrives.

I got it right, I didn’t feel the striking distance, I didn’t really possess the techniques of boxing yet – Roli recalls the first trip to the territory of a related sport four years ago. – There are no kicks in boxing, we are much closer to each other than in kick-boxing, and I was still very disturbed by the fact that Gábor was constantly pushed into my aura. He was the more aggressive, more routine wrestler, constantly under pressure, and it was unusual for me even then. But that was then …

To some extent, the plight of Hungarian boxing is also indicated by the fact that Roles he was now able to enter the world championship team with virtually no opponent. But until then, one thing and another had happened.

I suffered such a serious injury in a K-1 race – I also started in this martial art – that I had to miss a year and a half, he explains. “The cruciate ligament was torn in my left knee, which we didn’t even notice at first, or, we thought, cartilage detachment. So I started a race afterwards, but a minute later I folded, I couldn’t stand my knee. It was then found to be a cruciate ligament rupture. In February of this year, I returned to the tatami, and then to the clamp, because I started the Bocskai István Memorial Competition in Debrecen. I started at 57 pounds and got out of Kazakh Talgat from Sirimbetov. It was the second official boxing match of my life, I lost that too, but it didn’t bother me in the slightest. The Kazakh also defeated him with his aggression, I couldn’t stop him. I’m a fencing style boxer, I even brought this with me from kick-boxing, I tried to score, but it didn’t work. Let’s just say he really couldn’t hit me, I’ve never been on the floor before because my reflexes are very good, I hope I won’t. For this match yet It was prepared by Krisztián Jároszkievicz, my kick-boxing coach, but now I am preparing for the world championship with a bloody boxing trainer, Miklós Ráth, and of course with federal captain Róbert Bertók, before whom kick-boxing is unknown.

Roli is a loyal type, a racer of the Halker-King Team since he was a toddler, and he would never leave. He entered the national team at the Budapest Championship at the end of September, for which he would have had to beat Daniel Danyi from Eger in the 60 kg weight group, but Danyi could not bring his weight, so Roli actually fell for the World Cup. Of course, not undeservedly, as he had previously defeated the Hungarian championship silver medalist István Bundovics. Moreover, at a match in Sarajevo in September, he beat the Romanian James Chereji with a 3: 0, unanimous score, and then the Polish Pawel Brach in the same way, finally finishing in the final from the Finnish Arslan Khataev, ie he won a silver medal.

I just went up to 60 pounds because I couldn’t bring the 57 anymore, anyway, 62 pounds is my natural weight, I barely have to consume that way, ”he continues. – I have learned a lot in the last three weeks, we train downstairs in Tata, I have become a better boxer. I am grateful to the association for this great training camp where I was able to glove with French and Belgian national team wrestlers. The difference between the two sports is quite significant, boxing is much more intense, more continuous, you have to think faster and be sane, because if I hit my opponent, he immediately attacks back. I really like wrestling, until the 2024 Paris Olympics I want to focus on that now, I didn’t even go most to the kick-boxing world championship.

It’s no coincidence that Roli has been a proponent of boxing now, as Olympic participation is his big dream, and kick-boxing won’t be a full-fledged sport at the Paris Olympics, and then only in 2028 in Los Angeles.

Under the influence of my brother Ricsi, I came down to the gym at the time, ”Roli talks about the beginnings. “I don’t deny it, I’ve always loved fighting movies, I had a Bruce Lee figure, but my real big favorite is Rocky, Sylvester Stallone.” I try not to watch these action movies through the eyes of a professional, but the point is not to have regular punches and kicks, but excitement and drama. Luckily, I proved talented in kick-boxing, but that wouldn’t have been enough yet, it took diligence as well. There was no shortage of that either, I was discouraged by my coach’s words. That’s how I made it to five adult world championships, and at the age of sixteen I became the youngest adult world champion of all time.

Roli has no inhibitions, she is not petty, In the case of Moldova, the minimum target is the maximum, he also wants to be a world boxing champion. This, of course, would require suitable opponents, so he wants to compete a lot in foreign competitions. At home, he spends a lot with Richard Kovács, 63.5 kilos, Nándor Csóka, 54 kg, who is slightly lighter, and before the Olympics, he helped Roland Gálos, 57 kilos, prepare on Bető, Petőfi Island. Unfortunately he is not coming to the World Cup now because he is not completely healthy, so the 57 kilos will remain empty in our national team, as will the 48 and 92 kilos, because unfortunately Kiss Hunor Levente is also injured.

Roli’s best friend in the international field is Russian Albert Batirgazijev, the Tokyo Gold Medal of the 57 – pound weight class. If not his role model, but definitely look up to him for his knowledge.

I fought a kick-boxing world championship final with Albert in 2016, then he defeated me with a 2-1 split score, it was my only world championship final I lost. Then he walked over to the boxers because he felt there was no peak left for him in kick-boxing. But our friendship has remained, and now we are both wrestlers. He doesn’t start in Belgrade anyway because he went professional, becoming a world champion at the WBO.

Let’s say the professional boxing is also among Roli’s long-term plans. But first the Paris Olympics …

(Cover image: Péter Papajcsik / Index)