When they’re not preparing to destroy anyone that gets in their path, Lion Fight lightweight champion Antonina Shevchenko and her sister, UFC bantamweight Valentina Shevchenko, are likely on a beach somewhere. In fact, just four weeks ago, they were able to get in some beach time not too far from their current home of Houston in the Lone Star State.
“We wanted to enjoy the last warm days, because now it is getting cooler here in Texas,” Antonina told Combat Press. “We went to enjoy the beach, because I like to be in the ocean to relax after training.
“We were in Galveston. There are very beautiful beaches. It was after we were training. Now, we don’t have time, because we are training and it makes it difficult to go to the beach.”
Shevchenko has lived in Kyrgyzstan, Peru, Thailand and now Texas. The multiple-time world champion kickboxer recently joined Lion Fight, the top Muay Thai promotion in the United States. With their longtime trainer Pavel Fedotov, the sisters landed at Houston Muay Thai and Gracie Barra Draculino.
Antonina’s Lion Fight debut was set for July, when she was to face Annabelle Gely for the lightweight strap. However, at the last minute, Gely was forced to withdraw, so Shevchenko had to wait for Lion Fight 31, where she captured the title with a display of technical dominance over Paola Cappucci.
“It was great to win,” said Shevchenko. “It was an honor to win for Lion Fight and win the title. Now, I have new goals to defend it.”
The champ’s first defense takes place tomorrow night at Lion Fight 33, which goes down at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Conn. Her challenger is no chump.
“My next opponent is from Holland — Ilona Wijmans,” Shevchenko said. “She is a Dutch world champion and has more than 40 professional fights. She has a strong boxing technique and strong punches.”
Shevchenko is a Muay Thai specialist, and this is a fight with Muay Thai rules, but she also won a K1 championship only three years ago.
“I’ve trained to win this fight,” said the beach-loving badass. “I will be fighting in my main style, the Thai style. I know how to fight the K1 style of kickboxer — [like] the Dutch-style fighters — because I have trained with them in the past. I know her strong points and I know my strong points, so I will do everything to be comfortable in this fight.
“She has more of the Dutch style, but she has fought in Muay Thai as well. She likes trading hands [and] trading punches, and my style, Muay Thai, has a lot of clinching with a lot of knees and a lot of elbows. I like to fight K1 also, so I feel comfortable in this fight.”
Shevchenko is very active online. She has become quite the darling of social media, so on the surface she appears to be a light-hearted girl, playing in the sand. However, make no mistake. She is an amazing fighter with a big future ahead, and this fight is not to be missed.
Wijmans is a very tough opponent. The Dutch challenger holds titles of her own, not only as the Dutch national champion, but also in Muay Thai. At only 26 years old, she, too, is a rising star in the sport. Wijmans is very hungry for this win. However, Shevchenko is in no rush to give up her newly minted title.
After this fight, it is certainly a goal of the Shevchenko sisters to get back to the sea. Valentina has yet to secure her next UFC opponent, and, regardless of the outcome, Antonina likely will be off for at least a month. It’s the perfect time for a little rest and relaxation. Then, it will be back to work, as the sisters prepare to expand upon their already impressive careers. You can’t live at the beach, after all.