Remy Bonjasky returns to the ring three years after retirement. “The Flying Gentleman” will fight Melvin Manhoef on October 29 in Almere, the Netherlands at WFL: Final 16.
Both men announced their upcoming bout on RTL Boulevard. While Bonjasky will end his retirement, Manhoef said it will be his final kickboxing bout.
Bonjasky has been teasing a return to the ring for months. On Monday the K-1 legend sent out a cryptic message on social media. “They’ve contacted me, we talked, and finally we can sign the contract……” the Dutchman wrote on Instagram without any context.
Last December Bonjasky accepted a challenge from Gokhan Saki, before “Turkish Tyson” chose to hang up the gloves and pursue MMA in the UFC.
In February the 41-year-old accepted a challenge to fight GLORY heavyweight champion Rico Verhoeven, but during GLORY 41 he told Ziggo Sport he couldn’t come to financial terms with the organisation.
Then, in April, “The Flying Gentleman” accepted Manhoef’s challenge for a fight in October during the pre-fight press conference of WFL 5: Champion vs. Champion in Almere, which has led to today’s announcement.
“I’m looking at the big picture. Kickboxing is super popular, but I especially focus on the youth,” Bonjasky said about his return on RTL Boulevard. “The youth always needs motivation and I wanna contribute on a beautiful platform as WFL. Manhoef is a strong fighter, but I’m a little stronger. I’m gonna remove another one of his teeth.”
Bonjasky last fought on March 8, 2014, against Mirko “Cro Cop” on GLORY 14 in Zagreb, Croatia, which he won by majority decision after three rounds. During that pre-fight press conference, the three-time K-1 world grand-prix winner announced it would be his last fight.
Manhoef’s most recent kickboxing bout was on Bellator 152 on April 16, 2016. “No Mercy” lost by unanimous decision to Alexandru Negrea, which was his seventh loss in a row.
That losing streak in kickboxing started with a loss against Bonjasky in the K-1 World Grand Prix 2009. Bonjasky won by unanimous decision to advance to the quarterfinals. It was their third meeting inside the ring.
“We’ve stood across from each other three times. It’s 3-0 and I’m gonna make it 4-0 on October 29. It will be tough, Melvin always comes to knock people’s heads off,” Bonjasky said, which Manhoef quickly followed up, saying “you don’t.”
Although it’s Manhoef’s last kickboxing bout, “No Mercy” has the intention to continue his MMA career with Bellator. “I’m 41. I’m very busy with other things like my own gym. I lost my last fight because I was too busy and couldn’t train optimally. I still have two fights left (on my contract) and I wanna complete those.”
Manhoef last fought in April on Bellator 176, when he lost a heated rematch against middleweight Champion Rafael Carvalho. The Brazilian won by knockout in the fourth round with a vicious head kick.