Chi Lewis Parry Successful in Glory 20 Dubai

When Chi Lewis-Parry found out he would make his Glory World Series debut in Dubai he was determined to make a statement. Just 25 seconds after the first bell had rung, his mission was complete.

A brutal left-hook sent his experienced opponent Park Yong-soo to the canvas and the contest was all over. Even as the South Korean left the ring he was still visibly shaken and feeling the effects of the perfectly timed punch.

“I have hammers like Thor,” exclaimed Lewis-Parry as he addressed a shell-shocked crowd inside the Dubai World Trade Centre.

Even in the world of kickboxing, where knockouts are commonplace, this destructive performance was special.

Perhaps even more impressive is the fact the British behemoth only turned to fight sports four years ago, having decided to call time on his first love – basketball.

“I fell in love with basketball when I was a kid watching the highlight shows on TV,” Lewis-Parry told 7DAYS.

“I still get goosebumps just remembering watching those highlights of great players like Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler.

“I used to enter tournaments in the UK and eventually I ended up playing professionally in Europe with Guildford and Glasgow.

“Funding was non-existent in the game in the UK, but when you love something, it doesn’t matter if you’re not getting paid much, especially when you are young.”

But Lewis-Parry still dreamt of emulating his heroes and making it in the NBA. In 2010 he saved up enough money to head to America and after a call to developmental talent coach for the Los Angeles Lakers, he was given a chance.

“I gave myself the summer to get an NBA team as I knew it wouldn’t happen playing in the European leagues,” he explained. “But if you spit on someone’s shoe, they’re going to pay attention to you. So I went over there with a mouth full of saliva and I was spitting over everyone’s feet.”

Chi Lewis-Parry

This mentality led to Lewis-Parry demonstrating his skills against NBA legends Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. But come the end of the summer, the harsh reality struck home.

“I was 26 at the time and realised I couldn’t afford to be flying around the world chasing a dream,” said the Londoner. “I had responsibilities and just decided that I didn’t want to play basketball anymore. The love for the game was no longer there.”

Fortunately Lewis-Parry was able to find a new passion. At 6ft 9” he had always cut an imposing figure on the basketball court and had never been one to shy away from contact.

So when his friend offered him the chance to enter the world of fight sports, he grasped it firmly with both hands.

“I was thrown in with a 20-fight veteran on my debut and I won a decision,” he recalled. “I was seriously sloppy and broke my hand, shattered it in fact, in the very first round.

“But it triggered something. I knew I wasn’t a quitter and I wouldn’t break. I’m always the kind of guy who is willing to take a risk as I could be doing much worse things.

“I used to be an undertaker and now I’m in Dubai, one of the most beautiful cities in the world with amazing people. “I’m with the best kickboxing promotion on the planet when I could be digging holes, literally digging holes for a living.”

Having almost stumbled upon a new career, Lewis-Parry has since been making waves in the fight world. He possesses an undefeated record in both MMA and kickboxing, and is determined to land titles in both disciplines.

“I’m actively signed to ONE FC [Asia’s largest MMA promotion] and I’m already a heavyweight contender so I am trying to set up a fight with Brandon Vera for the vacant title,” added the 31-year-old.

“And if someone offered me a shot at Rico Verhoeven [Glory’s heavyweight champion], then I would fight him next week. I think I would present a lot of problems for him.”

It certainly seems as though Lewis-Parry has discovered his true calling. Basketball may have been his first passion, but the fight game is his future.

NAME: Chi Lewis-Parry
AGE: 31
HEIGHT: 6ft 9”
WEIGHT: 110kg
SPORTS: MMA and kickboxing
DIVISION: Heavyweight
COMBINED FIGHT RECORD: 11 wins and no losses
DID YOU KNOW? He trains with MMA and kickboxing legend Alastair Overeem



Written by Adrian Back –

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