Search icon


16th Jul 2018

SBG prospect Will Fleury’s reaction to devastating knockout loss truly is a mark of the man

He got badly caught

Ben Kiely

Will Fleury

On a dreary, drizzly weekday afternoon at the Grand Canal Dock, Will Fleury told me he wasn’t afraid of losing.

Prior to his promotional debut at Bellator 203, Will Fleury had never tasted defeat. He went 7-0 as an amateur, won his first four professional bouts and had an exhibition victory and a very controversial No Contest on the South African reality TV show The Fighter.

During our shoot with the Tipperary man, he said something very poignant about the inevitability of losing that didn’t make it into the final cut. He admitted that fear was a major part of the fight game. However, being beaten or hurt wasn’t what caused this trepidation.

“Fear of failure is a huge one. Look, it’s something you have to face into because there are a lot of guys involved in this, you’re going to face difficult people, you’re going to fucking experience difficult situations. The only way you feel comfortable with all that is knowing you’re accountable for you. You’ve given it your best and you’ve done everything you can to prepare for that situation.”

“That’s the way I justify it to myself anyway. I have prepared for this in every way possible, I haven’t left any stone unturned. I want to fucking face into this difficult situation as me, find out how I get on.”

Someone’s 0 had to go

Fleury was handed a tough task for his Bellator debut in Rome. He faced Alen Amedovski, a fellow undefeated prospect known for his heavy hands. The Macedonian entered into the contest with a pristine 5-0 professional record. All of his victories came by knockout. It only took him 99 seconds to add a sixth to the highlight reel in Italy.

From the opening buzzer, it was clear that Amedovski only had one victory method in mind. He let fly with his cinder block fists, but Fleury was able to complete a takedown against the fence. Unfortunately, the Tipp man wasn’t able to hold him down for very long and Amedovski stood back up.

Amedovski caught him with upon exiting the clinch before sending him crashing down to the canvas with a thunderous right hand. He followed it up with another huge right hand on the mat that ended the contest. He was awarded the knockout victory just 99 seconds into the fight.

“I will be back”

A broken foot couldn’t stop Fleury. Nor could over a dozen illegal elbows to the back of the head. As if there was any doubt, he took to Instagram to state that this loss wasn’t going to hold him back either.

“So last night I lost my 0. Thankfully this morning I’m perfectly healthy and have no major injuries. Defeat is a bitter taste but nowhere near as bad as the bitterness that comes from not attempting greatness.”

“I’ve worked incredibly hard to become an exceptional martial artist something I will prove to you all in time. There is no shame here, in preparation I did everything I felt I should have and got caught out by the better man on the night. Mark my fucking words, I will be back from this and better next time.”

He’ll be back. There’s no doubt about that at all.