Martin Holm (November 27, 1976 – June 24, 2009) was a Swedish Muay Thai kickboxer and former WMC Muaythai World Champion. In K-1 he fought against some of the biggest stars at the time, like Ernesto Hoost, Ray Sefo, Michael McDonald, and Glaube Feitosa. Rest in peace Martin.
This article is originally published in December 2006 on Asgard.com
It has been a while since the Swedish K1-fighter Martin Holm left the ring. His last K1-fight was in 2004 against Xhavit Bajrami. The left-handed Thai boxer loaded some of the most versatile kicks and the knees in the history of K1 and his aggressive heavy shots and the combos attracted many of the K1-fans. Martin Holms awesome technique was highly rated among the K1-fighters – and Mr. Perfect, Ernesto Hoost, admitted him as a rising star. It is not only in Japan; there are many fans all over the world still talking about him. They can’t forget the high IQ fighter of Sweden. So Asgard contacted Martin Holm in Stockholm and asked about what happened back in the days and about a possible comeback.
Asgard: You look really great. How much do you weigh now?
Holm: I weigh 90 kg.
A: Tell us about your childhood?
H: (smile) I have always been very active. My mother had a hard time to catch me. I always ran around in school and never sat still. So I got an extra teacher for me in the class.
A: Ha! Ha! Ha! So you were like a tornado in school.
H: (smile) But I have studied hard to catch up. And the end of the school I got 4.1 [top rank in school at that time was 5], which made my parents very happy.
A: Do you have brothers and sisters?
H: I have a younger brother, Christian.
A: Does he look like you? Doing any sports?
H: He is a bit shorter than me. Yes, people say we look alike. He is training MMA.
A: Really? Is he competing too?
H: Not yet but he wants to do so in the future, he says.
A: Do you roll with him in the private? Did you try MMA?
H: Yes, in Pancrase Gym with Omar Bouiche and Jörgen Kruth.
A: Tell us about your sports career.
H: I started swimming in the local swimming school since I was seven years old. Then I became interested in Aikido, did it for four years. Then Shotokan Karate for one year. I have always been active and interested in new things. When I was 14 years old I entered Slagskeppet [translated as “The Battleship”]. At that time I’ve was still swimming. So I went to Muay Thai class after swimming. Slagskeppet was known as the best club at that time and I meet Jörgen Kruth there.
A: Cool. So your physical base has been built in swimming.
H: I’ve been born slim and my body fits well for a marathon. Anyway, I immediately got hooked on Muay Thai and started to compete in the following year. Due to the swimming, I had no problem in my stamina I got over 30 fights till the title match in 1999 in Thailand.
A: And so far you have done 54 fights in your fight career. Which countries did you go to?
H: Finland, Spain, France, Ukraine, and many other countries …
A: And you also fought in Thailand. Tell us about your experiences …
H: I was 18 years old when I visited Thailand for the first time. I stayed there to train for four weeks and learned a lot. But at the same time, I noticed that Slagskeppet was good as well. So it was not so difficult for me to catch up in Thailand. The second time I visited Thailand (I was 18 or 19 years old) I got an instant fight offer. I was not prepared for the fight at all because I was on vacation with my friends (Po Lindvall and Jörgen Kruth). But somehow I decided to fight. The opponent was a local Muay Thai fighter. I don’t remember his name…
A: Wow, a pale skinny amateur look European vs. a local dangerous Muay Thai fighter.
H: That’s right (smile). Nobody knew me. Everybody in the audience – except for a local taxi driver – bet their baht [money] on the Thai guy (smile). Maybe the cabbie did have a 6th sense or saw my warm-up, I don’t know. Anyway, I started the fight with the top gear switched on! Thai boxers usually study the opponent in the early first round. But I didn’t give him time for contemplation, but attacked hard, fired many shots and my knee hits the guy’s head. It was around the 30-second mark in the first round and the fight ended in KO.
H: You know what has happened? The entire arena turned completely silent. I was standing in the ring and the Thai guy was carried out unconscious. Nobody talked. I still remember the moment of the silence. And the taxi driver? I think he has received a lot of money (smile).
A: That is so cool! Ha! Ha! What about the title match in Thailand?
H: I was 22 years old. The fight was for the WMC belt in 81kg. The fight was held south of Phuket. The opponent was a Czechoslovakian fighter named Curka, or something… The fight was tough and I won by judge’s decision. I think I got in more kicks and also I gave him a standing count. Yes, I still have the belt. It is my pride (smile).
Holm fought over 30 times for Slagskeppet and his first trainer Po Lindvall and won 4 European and 3 World titles before earning a WMC World Title match in 1999 in Thailand. In 1999, on the advice of his first trainer Po Lindvall, Martin decided to follow his training friend Jörgen Kruth to Vallentuna Boxing Camp, in an attempt to get to the next level as Lindvall was leaving his trainer carrier and VBC was the best promotors of fighters at that time. From Vallentuna he had some professional fights and later entered K-1.
In 2002, Martin Holm made his K-1 debut at the K-1 World Grand Prix 2002 in Nagoya. He knocked out Namibian Jokki Oberholtzer at 1’38” in the first round.
A: Then K1 came to Europe. You get a call from Japan and meet Jokki Obi. You won by KO in your fight in Japan in 2002. What kind of impression do you have of Japan?
H: I was concentrated on my fight so I don’t remember that much.
His next fight was against Brazilian karate practitioner Glaube Feitosa. Holm won again by a first round knock out.
A: What do you think about Glaube Feitosa? You gave him such an awesome shot.
H: Feitosa is a good fighter and his high kick is very dangerous. I tried not to give him the distance and pressed forward to connect with my punches. The plan was perfect. I see in his recent fights that he is getting better.
In 2002, in Saitama, Japan, he faced his toughest opponent yet, K-1 superstar Ray Sefo from New Zealand. Holm lost the evenly fought battle by majority decision. Holm finished his rookie year in K-1 at the K-1 World Grand Prix 2002 Finals undercard against Canadian Michael McDonald and in 2003, in Paris, Holm fought against four-time K-1 World Champion Ernesto Hoost and lost by unanimous decision.
A: How about Ray Sefo? I don’t understand why he got the decision in your fight, a questionable judges decision indeed.
H: That fight may be the most memorable in my career. It happened so many things in that fight. I don’t understand the judges either. Let’s just say that many things can happen in the K1-ring (smile). Anyway, Sefo’s punch is crazy. I have never experienced such heavy strikes in my life. His power is enormous. Sefo is like a monster and his strike was so much stronger than Ernesto Hoost.
A: Man, I think I must be lucky not to experience the shots. In Paris, you meet Ernesto Hoost. You pushed him hard attacking aggressively in the versatile techniques made Hoost in much trouble. Hoost often looked confused in the fight. Mr. Perfect got the judge point but you have convinced him as a highly rated fighter. Who do you like the most in K1 fighter?
H: It is Ernesto Hoost (smile). His strikes are pretty tasty too.
A: How do you like European K1 fighters?
H: Ernesto Hoost is still No 1. Alexey Ignashov comes next, although he´s not always winning and sometimes are out of shape, his technique is wonderful. Ruslan Karaev? If he could use more knees, the point would be higher. Stefan Leko? He looks good because he shots double much. I think Peter Aerts is very good as well. He is still one of the kings. His technique may not look good, but he is a genius when it comes to reading the opponent and timing his hit. That sense could be his auto sensor program which has built in his great experiences and to stop Semmy Schilt is a great job too.
A: Do you watch K1 Max?
H: Yes. It is very exciting. I like Buakaw and Masato, of course. I think Masato is a great fighter. His style is integrated. Musashi is great too, often impressed by his techniques, he has good moves and the strikes are pretty fine a good rounded fighter.
A: But he can’t win.
H: Maybe he needs a bit of power? But I like him.
A: If you would fight Semmy Schilt, what would be your strategy?
H: Well, I might take the similar tactics which were taken in Nortje fight [Martin KOed Nortje in 2003]. Moving fast I would counter hit when he comes in. The strike power would be multiplied in his own weight to step in.
A: How did you like K1 Scandinavia 2006 winter?
H: I couldn’t see all because of all the work backstage. I must say Buakaw is the number 1. He is a living treasure of K1. It was happy Jörgen Kruth has made the good fight in a good condition. He has turned sharp this time.
A: Wasn’t it too much Ozzy had to make 3 downs?
H: Albert Kraus is nice too. Ozzy might have learned what the world class is. There is quite a distance between the Scandinavia and the world. Larry Lindvall has said that he had learned “the world” when he had met Michael MacDonald. There are so many things the Scandinavians must study.
A: What is your worst injury? You have been fighting hard in the Muay Thai rules with elbows.
H: I have been very lucky I have not experienced the serious injuries yet. Of course, my legs and shins got hurts in the kicks – general stuff that happens to all fighters. You often won’t be able to walk for a week or so after the fight. I remember in Japan I have been to the hospital a couple of times after the fight. In the injuries, I usually recover fast and be able to train after one week or so. I have not experienced any fractures, damages nor serious cut at all.
A: I understand that. I don’t remember much of you to have eaten the effective attacks. That is why you are the un-KOed fighter.
H: I have been just lucky (smile). My friend who had eaten heavy low kicks and had to operate the leg to empty it from blood clots. He still has the big long cut on his side leg. Low kicks are nasty.
A: How do you spend your free time?
H: Being with friends and my family. I like training, running and going to the gym, always keep physical works.
H: Let’s say, Techno, Reggae. I like U2.
H: 130, not much, don’t know why (smile).
A: Beer or wine?
H: Beer (smile).
In 2004, after Holms fight against Albanian Xhavit Bajrami, Martin Holm retired from fighting in order to focus on his family and newborn son.
A: This is the last question. Many fans are waiting for your comeback. They are crazy about your great talent and they want to see you fight again. When?
H: Well, I am 30 years old now. I have 10 years more to fight. Because I have two years off I can´t come back to the K1 major league right now. So what I plan to do is to reconstruct my condition and the techniques within a half or a year and I want to fight in European league to warm up my engine. So it would take some time but I will be back to the major league someday. I know how to fight in K1. I have been there once and I want to get the top this time.
A: I am so glad to hear that! Thank you for such good news! It is so great to hear your comeback. You are one of the best technical fighters in K1 history. 30 is still young. Look at these guys Aerts 36, Leko 32, Musashi 34, Schultz 33, LeBanner 34, Glaube 33, Alexey 28, Chalid 31, Slowinsky 26. Breggy 32, Sefo 35, Remy 30, Manhoef 30. Can’t wait for the day you enter the major league to beat them all.
H: Thank you.
A: Thank you for your time. We wish you the very best on the road on becoming the king of K1.
MARTIN HOLMS MINNE
On June 24, 2014, PO Lindvall took the initiative and started the non-profit association Martin Holms Minne (In Memorial of Martin Holm) together with Thabo Motsieloa, Jens Hultén, Mikael Spreitz, Jörgen Kruth, and Martin Lidberg. The purpose is to commemorate the multifaceted martial arts champion Martin Holm, and in Martin’s generous spirit, praise those men and women who, through martial arts, create a positive influence that favors the combat sports or the practitioners.
Martin Holm started his career as a Thai boxer and he became champion in Sweden, the Nordic region, Europe and the world, both as a professional and amateur of the Battlefields in the 1990s.
1993 WAKO Amateur Kickboxing European Champion
1994 SIMTA Pro Muay Thai European Champion
1995 WKA Amateur Kickboxing European Champion
1997 WKA Amateur Kickboxing World Champion
1998 IAMTF Amateur Muay Thai European Champion
1999 IFMA Kings Cup Winner
1999 WMC Pro Muay Thai World Champion
Fighterpodden avsnitt 54: Fight Club Rush & Grappling Gäris