“I truly believe i will be bring the IKF Championship belt back home to Houston with me Nov 27!“
Interview by: Barry Laminack
Photos by: Bob Galdenzi
Thomas Galdenzi is an up and coming kickboxer who has a record of 3-2. He will be involved in a tournament for the IKF Kickboxing 140 pound title in Sacramento, California. We had a chance to talk to him about that tournament, and how he plans to parlay kickboxing success into an MMA career.
TCD: For those in the Houston scene that have not heard of you, introduce yourself.
Galdenzi: My name is Tom “Tommy Gun” Galdenzi. I am 22 and I have fought in every weight class from 140-155lb. I have a Amateur IKF Kickboxing record of (3-2) with 1 KO. I like travel to different states to do my fighting, because there is less pressure for me to win. Also, when I come to someone else’s hometown to fight them I get booed. Then after the fight, win or lose, people cheer for me and come up to me after the fight and ask me stuff. I like that because I get more fans and follwers that way.
TCD: What got you into kickboxing?
Galdenzi: My dad, Walter Galdenzi, owns a Karate/Kickboxing/MMA gym called Champions MMA and Kickboxing. I can remember when I was a little kid my dad would take me to the dojo, as he would like to call it, to watch him train and teach. Every since then I was hooked with martial arts and kickboxing.
Galdenzi: When I was about 6 I was in the dojo training with my dad off and on. I did karate when i was younger, but I did not like it at all. I always wanted to hit the other kids and get hit back. So i ended up quitting karate as a yellow belt. When I was in the 8th grade my buddies and I started a backyard UFC/fight club thing called Camptank. We would set up a few fights every Friday after school and a lot of people would come to my house and watch 3 to 4 fights. We used boxing gloves, but fought MMA rules. I went 9-0 in the Camptank back yard fights. We have a website called camptank.webs.com. After that I thought i was a really good fighter, so when freshman year came along I signed up for the Klein Wrestling team and started to look for kickboxing or boxing gyms. I wrestled all through high school. I started boxing at L.A boxing under Mike Williams, who was in Rocky 5 and is a world champion boxer. I trained under him for about a year then Mike just disappeared on me. So I have been training for about 10 years in martial arts on and off.
TCD: Where do you train?
Galdenzi: I have been Training at Champion’s MMA and Kickboxing for about the last 4 years straight. I love how they are mainly a kickboxing gym with pure kickboxing fighters like me. In the future, I will do my training camp with 4oz MMA, because they have some of the best fighters in Houston around my weight of 150. Also Bob and Jeremy are great Thai coaches.
TCD: Talk a little bit about the upcoming IKF West Coast Classic that you’re going to fight in. I understand you’ll have 3 fights in 2 days?
Galdenzi: I will be fighting in Nov 26-27 in Sacramento, California for the IKF 140 lb. title. I will have 2 fights on the 26th, then the final fight will be on the 27th. The tournament is single elimination , so if you lose any of your fights, you will be out of the tournament. This isn’t my first IKF tournament, so I am used to fighting multiple fights in one day. I actually love the whole tournament thing, because you can have 3 fights in 2 days which is great for my career. Also, I like not knowing who I will be fighting until after weigh in, because I think to my self that I’m fighting the worlds best kickboxer, and it helps me stay focused on training instead of my opponent. I truly believe I will be bring the IKF championship belt back home to Houston with me on Nov 27!
TCD: You told me you are going to transition into MMA soon, what’s the reason?
Galdenzi: I really love the UFC and that’s where I want to be one day. I used to want to only fight for K-1 Kickboxing, but that show is dying fast. The UFC is growing so fast, so I go where the money is at. I wrestled all through high school and I know how to sprawl and brawl great. Also I have really good take-downs and throws. But I’m all about my stand up fighting. I have been trying nothing but kickboxing/boxing for 2 years straight. I stopped my MMA training and I believe I turned a big corner in my stand up. I watch all the amateur MMA shows around here. I think my standup is on a different level them all of them. Each time i throw it’s at least a 6 hit combo with a low or high kick finish. I use a lot angles and feints, instead of brawling or throwing single hay makers like I see in the amateur shows around here.
TCD: Do you plan on continuing to do Kickboxing once you start MMA?
Galdenzi: I will always be doing kickboxing! I’m a kickboxer at heart. I love to stand and bang and use different kick techniques. I want to be the next Allistar Overeem ! K-1 title and a UFC title or an IKF kickboxing title and a Legacy title will do fine. Ha.
TCD: How’s your ground game?
Galdenzi: I wrestled all through high school, so I have a really good sprawl and very good takedowns and throws. I can scramble with the best also. I did jiu jitsu training at a lot of different gyms like Gracie Barra, Excel MMA, LA Boxing and 4oz, so I for sure know the basic jiu jitsu stuff. But if I do get on top of someone I will not be looking for a choke or arm bar. I will instead posture up and throw down some elbows and punches and control top position. I shock a lot of people with how good my ground is, but I just love to trade shots on the feet. There is no better feeling than knocking someone out in front of a lot of people!
Galdenzi: I walk around 158-160 pounds. I’m a bigger kickboxer for my weight class, because of my wrestling background. A lot of the kickboxing events I have been in the fighters don’t cut a lot of weight like they do in MMA. I would like to fight at 145 , then when the money is right I will cut down to 135 hopefully.
TCD: How much training/sparring have you done with 4oz gloves?
Galdenzi: My last 2 fights I did a 3 month training camp over at 4oz MMA, so i sparred a lot of the time with MMA gloves. Also when we grapple at Champions MMA & Kickboxing we use 4 oz gloves and can throw punches to the face and body when grappling. We train ground and pound a lot and getting back to our feet, instead of looking for subs.I believe I have a great chin. I spar with a lot of heavyweights like Kyle Simpson, Taylor Moses and Anthony Fitzgerald.
TCD: Anybody you want to thank?
Galdenzi: Thanks to Champions MMA and 4oz. Also to all my training partners and friends that helped me get ready for my IKF Kickboxing tournament Nov 26-27!!