Indonesian Vincent Latoel makes his ONE FC debut on September 14, 2013 in Jakarta. As a hometown favorite, he will face Willy Ni in a lightweight clash that will set him on the rankings ladder.
Latoel is 15-15-2 as a pro fighter with at least 9 amateur fights added on to that record. He hails from the Golden Glory Team’s Tatsujin Dojo run by Martijn de Jong, the stellar group of fighters which it has produced over a decade attest to the Holland team’s greatness. Latoel fought predominantly in Shooto and Ultimate Glory, working his way up to face guys like Willamy Freire and Tommy Depret in a division stacked with Europe’s best talent. Then in 2009 at just 30 years old, he made a personal decision to put down his gloves and walked away from the ring.
Fast forward a few years later, and Latoel is renewed and prepared to get his chance to step under the spotlights once again, in a homecoming of sorts. MMA-in-ASIA spoke with Latoel about what it will be like to fight in his heritage country of Indonesia, his break in fighting, and his Tatsujin team.
MMA-in-ASIA: Why did you start grappling? Back then, it was not very common, especially in your country of kick boxers!
Latoel: Back in the days when I started practicing MMA, grappling was a part of the training. In Holland there are a lot of kickboxers, the level is very high. I started training MMA since 2000 after one year training I participated BJJ and Grappling tournemants in Holland. It was only ground fighting, that was not enough for me. I like to fight different styles, stand up fighting, wrestling and ground fighting. That’s the reason why I didn’t choose to practise only kickboxing.
MMA-in-ASIA: What belt are you now?
Latoel: I’m a purple belt.
MMA-in-ASIA: You were so incredibly active in the beginning of your MMA career. How were you able to fight so much? How did you stay healthy and uninjured?
Latoel: When I started I was a fulltime student pursuing a Bachelor in International Business & Marketing. I trained a lot and I was blessed with my body and health. I was lucky that I never had many injuries during my fights and training. So I fought a lot in the past. A couple of times I took a fight one day before the fight. I was young and loved to fight no matter what.
MMA-in-ASIA: What is your best memory of a fight you’ve had?
Latoel: I have two memories of fights. My last fight against Tommy Depret from Belgium at Glory, this was for me a hell of a fight. First round we were both throwing bombs, a lot of action. And my fight against Gregorz Tredowski from Poland, he is a very tough and good fighter, I won the fight in 5 seconds. My fastest victory!
MMA-in-ASIA: You have not taken a fight since 2009. What was the reason you stopped competing?
Latoel: I trained and fought for many years, but at a certain moment in my life I lost my motivation and inspiration in fighting. I was out of balance in life. I had to deal with personal issues. That was the main reason to take a step back in sports. Because my life didn’t work out for what I had in mind. I changed my mindset and did some other things to get my life back, I was still training because I love to train and stay in shape. There was no pressure to train because I didn’t had to train for a fight. It helped me to develop myself at that time.
MMA-in-ASIA: When you “took a step back” from MMA, what other things were you doing? Were you pursuing any other favorite hobby or special interest?
Latoel: During the step back I was doing other things like spending more time with my family and friends. I was still training MMA but it was at a low level, just to stay healthy and in shape. There was no pressure to fight. I had time to set myself and start finding a way back in my life.
MMA-in-ASIA: So how were you able to make this comeback and who are your training partners?
Latoel: I trained with my teammates like Marloes Coenen (Invicta FC), Hubert Geven (Dubai FC/Road FC), Tonie Michielsen (Dubai FC), Marcin Prachnio (UWC), the brothers Egzon and Gzim Selmani. I noticed that still can train and spar at their level of fighting. My hunger to fight became bigger and bigger. I feel no stress and my mind is clear. I conquered my personal issues so I am back! More hungry than I ever was.
MMA-in-ASIA: Can you tell me a little about your Coach Martijn de Jong?
Latoel: I’ve known Martijn for many years. He taught and educated me in everything in MMA and gave me skills to fight. Martijn is a very kind person and loved by many people over the world. He has great knowledge in martial arts and is dedicated to the sport. He trained a lot of good fighters and is the long time trainer of Marloes Coenen. Besides my coach he is also a good friend of mine.
MMA-in-ASIA: Marloes is a legend, and a wonderful person, what is it like to train with her?
Latoel: Marloes is a wonderful person, she is very friendly always want to help other people. I’ve trained with her since I started practicing MMA. That’s like 13 years ago. If we train together we always go to the limit. She is very strong and talented. I learned a lot from her as a person and as a fighter. Besides my teammate, she is also a good friend of mine.
MMA-in-ASIA: Are you full-blooded Indonesian? If not, what is your make up?
Latoel: I am full-blooded Indonesian, my family comes from the Moluccan. An island group of Indonesia.
MMA-in-ASIA: When did your family emigrate?
Latoel: After the second world war my family emigrated to The Netherlands. I am born and raised in The Netherlands, but I never forget my roots.
MMA-in-ASIA: Have you ever been to Indonesia?
Latoel: In 2006 went to Indonesia for the first time. I visited my family in the Moluccan. It was very special and give me a proud feeling. So my next visit to Indonesia will be in September.
MMA-in-ASIA: Did you know about the Indonesian MMA show that was on television in the early 2000’s?
Latoel: I never heard of the MMA show in Indonesia. In the early 2000’s I just started practicing MMA and I didn’t know about events outside of Europe.
MMA-in-ASIA: How do you feel about MMA now growing in Indonesia? Do you think Indonesians have a fighting mentality, and will like it?
Latoel: It’s very great that MMA is growing in Indonesia, the sport gets more attention and it is more socially accepted. I think Indonesians have a fighting mentality, I will like it when fighters show their mentality fo fight.
MMA-in-ASIA: Have you been watching ONE FC events and what is your opinion? Why did you join this organization?
Latoel: I have seen a couple ONE FC events. It looks very professional, great vibe. I imagined fighting for ONE FC because I like the organistation and really want to fight in Asia.
MMA-in-ASIA: How do you feel about the open ruleset?
Latoel: It’s fine by me. A fight is a fight. I have to do what I have to do! I am a fighter.
MMA-in-ASIA: What is your greatest strength now?
Latoel: My strength and conditioning.
MMA-in-ASIA: Have you researched your opponent?
MMA-in-ASIA: How do you feel about making your debut in ONE FC in front of an Indonesian crowd?
Latoel: For a lot of reasons I am very happy that I have an opportunity to fight in One FC. I will make my debut in Jakarta, my roots are the island archipelago Moluccans. I am very proud to fight in Indonesia. I want to make the people proud that I can fight over there, also for the people here in Europe. I will fight with my heart, fight with strenght and honor. With my roots in my mind and all my family and grandparents in my soul.