Albert KRAUS: "I'm the best lightweight in the world"
In the world of lightweight kick boxers, Albert Kraus is royalty. A consistent figure in the top three at seventy kilograms since emerging onto the world scene a decade ago, Kraus has several times occupied the number one spot.
Currently the Armenia-Italian maestro Giorgio Petrosyan has tenure of that lofty position, but Kraus wants it back. He and Petrosyan were the top seeds in last year’s inaugural GLORY lightweight grand prix. Having made it to the Final 8 stage, Kraus was forced to drop out when he came down with severe influenza days before the eight-tournament was to play out in Rome, Italy.
“The day I was supposed to fly to Rome I was so sick I couldn’t even get out of bed. I was so disappointed, really disappointed. I trained really hard and then I was so sick. The day I had to leave, this happened to me. I watched the fights and I thought it was a good tournament - but of course one guy was missing!” he says.
Petrosyan eventually won it via a series of masterful performances, but Kraus isn’t convinced that things would have gone the same for the Italian had influenza not interfered with proceedings,
“I had been very well trained, it was the most important thing of the year for me and I had felt very confident about the tournament. Very confident. I had a really good feeling about it so, who knows? We see next time.”
Kraus has fought Petrosyan twice and lost by decision both times. The first he has no issues with but the second he thinks was a clear robbery. At the very least, he says, the judges should have exercised their option to have another round fought. Instead they gave Petrosyan what Kraus feels was a gift decision.
“For sure I think I would beat him if he fight him again. For sure! I think if you see my last fight with him, I should have won this fight. For me, that fight, if they let me get an extra round then I would really have finished him,” Kraus fumes.
“But I think maybe K-1 helped him, they wanted to create some new stars maybe, and they did it behind my back.”
This weekend, Kraus will face Andy Ristie in a fight which will do much to determine what the upper end of the GLORY lightweight division looks like. Ristie, from the former Dutch colony of Suriname, has had some standout performances in the past two years and is being talked up as a hot prospect.
“He is a strong fighter with a little bit of a strange style, I watched a few fights of his. He is not the same style as a lot of other guys, he does a lot of knees to the body, a lot of leaning back. But I am well-trained and I am feeling confident,“ Kraus says. “I don’t have any particular tactic for him, I just do my usual thing, I don’t think I need to do anything special to deal with him.”
Kraus - 32 years old - is increasingly subject to speculation about his age. While he is the oldest of the top lightweights, he doesn’t feel he has taken much damage over the years and says that because he came through at a relatively late age, he is the same as many of his younger peers in ‘fight years’. It is also worth noting that Ristie is himself 30 years old.
“People always talk. And a lot of these people, they talk sideways - they don’t tell you anything to your face. For me its no problem, I get more motivated from these people. But on the day that I am finished, that I am too old, then I quit, I will know it in myself,” Kraus says. “But as long as I feel fit, as long as I feel that I am the best fighter in the world, I stay in the ring.”
GLORY 5 LONDON takes place Saturday, March 23 at the ExCel Arena, London, England. The main event sees Tyrone Spong meet Remy Bonjasky in a heavyweight contender clash, with top British and International talents on the undercard.