Pink for her feminine and sweet side outside of the ring to her alter-ego Tyson for her fearsome and menacing side in the ring and she’s set to rock the female boxing world.
Pink Tyson headlines an action packed show on Friday 24th November at the Tolworth Recreation Centre in Surbiton that includes former Two-Time British and European Super-Lightweight Champion Lenny Daws, rising unbeaten talent Yusuf Safa and 2012 Olympic Silver Medallist John Joe Nevin, promoted by Hennessy Sports in association with Joey Pyle and John Edwards.
Real name Kallia Kourouni, the 26-year-old from Sparta in Greece is the reigning WIBF and GBU Female World Super-Featherweight Champion with a record of 8 fights, 7 wins and 1 KO. She’s not just good with fists, she can also fight with her feet having competed in kickboxing and MMA to a high level, with her K1 record reading an incredible 50 fights and 49 wins.
With all Kallia’s fights taking place in Germany, bar one in Switzerland, Pink Tyson is now basing herself in London under manager and trainer John Edwards and promoter Joey Pyle as she focuses on the next stage of her career which will be campaigning on these shores.
We asked Kallia some questions ahead of her first fight in the UK and here’s what she had to say:
What does it mean to fight in Britain for the first time and what do you want to show the public here? “First of all, I am very happy to be fighting in front of the British public for the first time. I am truly looking forward to it! I know that Britain has excellent professional boxing and its audience is demanding as to what it expects to see. As for myself, I want to offer a show and quality boxing. I want them to accept me as one of their own.”
Will you look to base yourself here from now on? “I am actually moving to England, more specifically to Guilford. I’ve found the best gym in Guilford City as well as the best coach, John Edwards, who is the only one able to help me achieve the highest of goals in women’s professional boxing and more. I already have many fans in Guilford who love me as do I! In my leisure time, I intend on teaching boxing to women as a form of self-defence all the while making them learn to love the sport, use it to become fit and generally not fear it. And, of course, teaching children, so that I can be their role model not only as an athlete but also as a person with values, principles and morals. Last but not least, I just love watching football matches, especially when my favourite team, CHELSEA, is playing! Everything is simply great here in Guilford, and generally in England.”
So how did you get your ring nickname Pink Tyson? “When I went to Germany for try-outs, I went through a lot of gruelling and demanding sparring sessions all the while dressed in pink from top to bottom. My now ex-manager noticed my exceptional strength, and compared my style of boxing to that of Mike Tyson, which was the fact that I liked playing close to my opponent, constantly generating power to give those killer hooks. So that is how he decided to name me Pink Tyson!”
With women’s professional boxing increasing in popularity, especially in the UK, what difference can you make to popularise the sport? “For starters, in the ring, my goal is to knock out my opponents. I can and I must in order to prove to the world that women are as strong as men. Moreover, I don’t lose my femininity. On the contrary, I emphasise it, which is what makes me unique and stand out from other women boxers. I pay attention to every little detail so that every public appearance of mine remains unforgettable! We must show women that boxing is not a barbaric sport, as it is commonly perceived. Quite the opposite, it offers so many benefits, such as improving full-body strength and overall health. It also helps women acquire self-defence skills, which makes them gain much more self-confidence.”
What made you first get into combat sports as a child? “The truth is that no one expected me to get involved in martial arts because, as few know, I have graduated from acting school and am actually a dance instructor. The death of my father when I was just 15 made me quite anxious. I would overreact to the littlest things and get into arguments with everyone and anyone for no good reason. Then, one evening, I had gone out on my bicycle and, for some reason, which I don’t remember, I ended up fist fighting with 5 boys! At some point, a man came and broke up the fight. He then suggested that I get involved in combat sports, saying that although I was a girl, I fought like a man! In the end, he was right. As soon as I entered the boxing gym, I was mesmerized. I understood at that moment that I belonged there and it would be my new home.”
What do your family think of you boxing? To begin with, I come from a family of fighters! My father was the champion in amateur boxing and world champion in Greco-Roman wrestling. My brothers are also champions in Greco-Roman wrestling and are involved in amateur boxing. But mainly, our origins are from Sparta, where, as most of us know, children used to be trained from a very early age in martial art and generally were taught to be ready for war. So, my mother was used to it mainly due to my father. Therefore, I was not faced with criticism by my family regarding my current boxing career, or even in the past when I used to train for K1, and subsequently won a gold medal in 2012 in the World Championship in the US. Nowadays, I am even training for MMA and the UFC is my next target! My family supports me 100%. Besides, I win fights and I haven’t lost my femininity!
Why made you decided to pursue a professional boxing career? “At first, my goal was to take part in the Olympic Games. However, because of the economic crisis in Greece, there was no financial support for me to participate in the Pre-Olympic Tournament. Then, in an AIBA World Boxing Championship in Cyprus, a German manager saw me and encouraged me to try out for professional boxing, which, I now believe, is what suits me best because of my strength. And in professional boxing, being able to throw those “power punches” is a strong point.”
What are your goals and aims in your career? I want to become a legend, mainly in professional boxing, and wear the six world boxing belts (WBC, WBO, IBF, WIBF, GBU, EBU) around my waist! I am also aiming at being number one in sparring in my category. Last but not least, I want to be world champion in many different weight categories. And since I am combat sports enthusiast, another goal of mine would be to become world champion in the UFC (MMA) and Glory (K1).With women’s professional boxing increasing in popularity, what difference can you make to popularise the sport?
With Kourouni topping the card, the undercard features Morden’s favourite fighting son, “Lightning” Lenny Daws makes his long awaited return to the ring. Daws looks to return to winning ways as he targets a third shot at the European Super-Lightweight crown and win it for a third time following his close attempt in February this year against Anthony Yigit.
Undefeated Super-Featherweight ace Yusuf Safa follows up his win on the Hughie Fury-Joseph Parker undercard last month when he features in an four-round contest. The exciting, all-action, Safa from Bexleyheath is within touching distance of his first title fight and knows a strong performance will keep him on track.
Irish star John Joe Nevin makes his exciting British pro-debut when he features in a six-round lightweight contest as he looks to maintain his unbeaten record. From Mullingar, the supremely talented 28-year-old is a two-time Olympian with a perfect record of eight wins from eight fights and four knockouts.
Heading up an exciting undercard will be: Iver Heavyweight Naylor Ball; Mitcham Super-lightweight Cheznie Hawkins; Streatham Super-featherweight Kieran McPherson; Croydon Super-lightweight Nathaniel Wilson; Guildford Super-middleweight Darren Codona; Farnborough’s George Lamport, Chertsey Lightweight Tony Vincent makes his highly-anticipated professional debut and Clapham’s Hassan Ali.