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‘Baywatch’ Bergemann set to ride Muay Thai wave again

Karl Bergemann delivers some mean knees to the face of Renier Vos at Thaiholics Fight Promotions: The Reload, last year. Photo: Thaiholics Fight Promotions

Karl Bergemann delivers some mean knees to the face of Renier Vos at Thaiholics Fight Promotions: The Reload, last year. Photo: Thaiholics Fight Promotions

Published Mar 8, 2022

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Cape Town — The last time we spoke to Karl “Baywatch” Bergemann, he was so grateful to be back in the gym training.

That was in August 2020, amid the horrors of the Covid-19 pandemic and the enforced lockdown.

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It was a tough time for many — lives were lost, businesses were shut down and people lost jobs.

Today, as the world finds its way back to “normality”, Karl has the privilege of not only donning his Muay Thai gear again, but gets to fight in front of fans at GrandWest on Saturday.

“I’m super stoked,” says Karl, who will headline the Thaiholics Fight Promotions 3: Continental Collision card, along with Germany’s Enrico Rogge.

“I obviously got to commentate at the last event (TFP 2: Recruitment), so it was great to even just be in the venue. But you miss the crowd, you miss the voices, you miss the electricity,” enthuses the South African Kickboxing Association cruiserweight champion.

He also featured at THP 1: The Reload, last year against Renier Vos, which saw Karl deliver a vicious knockout — unfortunately, it was behind closed doors.

“It’s great to have the fans back,” says Karl.

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“At the last event (which was also held at GrandWest) you really felt for the guys and girls. The music is pumping as they walk out, but it’s still so quiet without the fans.

“How do you hype yourself up walking onto a stage without any fans? In front of a crowd it’s so much better. So yeah, it’s going to be awesome,” adds Karl, who will be fighting in front of roughly 300 spectators against an opponent whom he was set to face at Get in the Ring in Germany, which eventually fell through due to Covid-19.

The 36-year-old Karl, more affectionately known as Baywatch — due to his lifesaving skills — sports an impressive resume in the kickboxing and Muay Thai fraternity.

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He is almost at a point where he feels like he wants to give back to the sport and help build a platform for upcoming athletes.

“My goals going forward are not as personal as they used to be. I am sort of gearing up for — or at least in my mind — to be a fighter that people can see and say ‘Look, we have someone doing something on the world stage,’” Karl says.

“When I look at some of the guys coming through, the 16 and 17-year-olds who still have long careers ahead of them, for me it’s awesome if they can see someone actually either doing or achieving something.

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“You don’t have to win everything — nobody is going to win everything — but just to see that there is a platform for South Africans, and that we can compete with the best in the world and win titles. We already have guys who have done this, guys like Nedo Gomba and Jarred Rothwell.”

Karl may be thinking of giving back, however, by no means does this indicate that he plans on hanging up his gloves just yet.

In January, he earned a World Muay Thai Organisation’s (WMO) top 10 ranking (seventh), as well as a top 20 ranking on the World Boxing Council) for Muay Thai list.

“One of my friends who happens to be a champion in the lifesaving fraternity put it the right way: he said that before he goes, they have to ‘come and take it from me instead of me just drifting off slowly into the night,’” Karl says.

“And once I saw those updated rankings, and people telling me ‘Hey geez, you’re making it in the top ranks of the world’, that opens up an opportunity to fight some of the best guys in the world and possibly to line-up some titles, maybe some world titles, or some big international title fights, and that is awesome.”

TFP3: Continental Collision takes place on Saturday. The event is sold out, but you can catch all the action on the brand’s YouTube channel. For more details, follow their social media accounts.

@juliankiewietz

IOL Sport

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