An Interview with Zach Snyder and Randy Chung, Amateur Featherweight Title Contenders who will be facing off for the Belt at HK30 This Friday February 8th, at Century Casino in Calgary.
At School of Hard Knocks 30, Contenders Zach Snyder and Randy Chung will square off to see who will claim the vacated Amateur Featherweight Title. This is a classic match-up of differing styles, and these two Mixed Martial Artists have 2 different views as to how this is going to go down, and we are about to find out. Both fight out of Calgary, so there should be some good support for both fighters from the hometown crowd.
I asked these two amateur pugilists some personal questions, and some questions about this fight, the biggest of their MMA careers so far. What does it mean to them professionally? What does it mean personally? How will getting the belt change how they progress their MMA career? Let’s find out:
HK: Congratulations on getting selected to fight for this belt. How did you react when you found out you were a top contender for a shot at the vacant HK Amateur Featherweight Title?
Zach: Thank you. I was happy HK chose me to compete for the title with Randy Chung. I have worked and fought very hard to get here, and I believe my record isn’t a good indicator of how skilled I really am. I always put on a good show and fight as hard as I can.
Randy: Winning an amateur title was my goal since coming back from a couple of years off to repair and recover from a bad knee injury I incurred in 2009. I am happy that I am being acknowledged for my success at this level, and I am excited for the opportunity to accomplish what I was set out to do.
HK: Do you plan on turning Pro? Will winning this belt affect that decision?
Zach: This will probably be my last, or one of my last, amateur fights. We will see how things go. Right now I am just focused on defeating Randy Chung, and I would be silly to look past this fight.
Randy: I get that question a lot and my thoughts are before I even consider competing as a professional I want to see if I’m any good at the amateur level first. If I can win this belt then I can’t be bad right? So yes it will affect my decision going forward.
HK: Question for Zach: Randy Chung is an excellent submission artist, but you should have a strong edge in the stand-up department. How have you changed your training for this opponent?
Zach: I obviously have been honing my submission and take down defense. But more than that, I have been focused on turning myself into a “super’ athlete, and I have been adding many more weapons to my game.
HK: Question for Randy: Zach Snyder has good striking skills. How have you changed your training for this opponent?
Randy: From watching his last couple of matches he seemed quite disciplined with his strikes, keeping them nice and straight, with some good combinations and movement. I don’t think he wants to be too aggressive with a proficient grappler, so I’m guessing he wants to keep it on the outside. I’ve been working on dealing with his reach.
HK: Question for Zach: Randy Chung was able to come to a draw with Patrick Ward, where Ward defeated you. What do you have to say to people that are using that as a measuring stick for how this fight will end? What improvements have you made since then?
Zach: I don’t think comparisons between our respective fights with Ward are relevant at all. Every fight is a new challenge. Also, when I fought Patrick, it was only my second fight. I was very young and inexperienced. I did well in that fight, but just got caught with the overhand. It happens, but I am a completely different fighter now from the fighter I was then, and I am here to prove it.
HK: For Randy: You were able to come to a draw with Patrick Ward, where Ward defeated Zach Snyder. You have won all of your MMA fights besides that one, and you are undefeated. How have you been working at improving yourself since your last fight to maintain your undefeated status?
Randy: I learned a lot with my match with Patrick Ward. He is a former HK Amateur Bantamweight Title Challenger who is a very tough and fierce competitor. Technically, I’ve been working on my movement standing and transitioning on the ground. I’ve changed up my conditioning program to be more personalized and sport specific, over the trending “CrossFit” style approach.
HK: Tell us about your respective clubs, and tell us who has been helping you prepare for this fight?
Zach: Canuckles is a great club to train at, lead by instructor Max Marin. I would like to thank Max for all the time and dedication he has given me. I would also like to thank all of my training partners for getting me ready for this fight!
Randy: I am so grateful for all the people that have been involved in my development as a martial artist, and as a human being. First of all, without the support of my wife Giuliana, none of this would be possible. We recently welcomed our first child to this world. Her name is Maya-Isabella. With all the things that are going on in my life, she helps me keep things together. I promised her there will be more family time at home after this fight! Family is so important. My mom, dad, brother (who is also a training partner), sister, God-parents, sister-in-law. They’ve all been supporting me through this journey in their own way. Gracie Barra Calgary (GBC) is a Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Academy run by Professor Josh Russell. I’ve been training there since February 2007. We mainly train in the gi, which we pride ourselves of. I am currently a two stripe purple belt. Josh has helped me transition my grappling skills into mixed martial arts competition. I have a wide variety of training partners, from veteran grappling tournament participants, amateur and professional mixed martial arts fighters, to the recreational mat ninjas. I get turned into a pretzel on a regular basis here and it constantly humbles me, and helps me strive to become a stronger grappler! I train my stand-up skills at Mizong Luohan Sanda (迷蹤羅漢散打) with 4 time Canadian National Champion, and World Championship Team Canada Member, Sifu (師父) Bruce Tran. Sanda (散打) also known as Sanshou (散手), is a combative sport from the People’s Republic of China. It combines techniques from the most effective and sport applicable punching and kicking techniques from traditional Chinese martial arts, western boxing, and Shuaijiao (摔跤) which is a Chinese folk wrestling style. I think it really compliments my Jiu-jitsu in mixed martial arts. I also train my boxing with my long-time friend and training partner Louis Tang out of our basement set up. My crew at the Penn West Fitness Centre Bernard Bigornia, Tyler Mah (BSc Kin, CPT) and Roxanna Churko (BSc Kin, CEP, RHN) have helped me with my strength, conditioning and nutrition. Chancey Fongsamouth, Holistic Practitioner and owner of Touch of Wellness, has helped me keep my body together through bouts of vigorous training with her treatments over the past year. Dr. Corey Fiske at 5th Avenue Place Chiropractic has helped me keep good posture and has kept me able to perform at an optimal level. Rogie Jubran, owner of Arjay Fight Gear, has been supplying me with training equipment to help me prepare for the fight. I also want to give a shout out to Felipe Costa in Brazil, and Khathasit Ta Jaisuedee in Thailand, for their lessons not only in martial arts, but also lessons in life when I was training in their respective countries.
HK: Why did you get involved in MMA? Who is your inspiration, either idol or mentor?
Zach: I just felt like it was the thing for me to do at the time, it was calling me. I truly believe things happen for a reason whether good or bad. I still remember my first class when I was 14, and to this day I have never looked back since.
Randy: I have been into martial arts since I was a kid. Son Goku, from Dragon Ball, was my idol. When I first got into mixed martial arts, I wanted to test my skills on a fully resisting opponent. One thing lead to another, and the opponents kept on getting tougher and tougher, and here I am! I would say Professor Josh Russell is my mentor. He is a great example of a person who is living their life to the fullest. I would like to be a great teacher one day! I draw inspiration from many people but just to name a few:
Grappling -Demian Maia, Marcelo Garcia, Ronaldo Souza.
Sanda (散打) – Cung Le, Pat Barry.
Traditional Martial Arts – Lyoto Machida.
Kickboxing – Andy Souwer.
HK: How do you see yourself finishing this fight? How and in what Round?
Zach: Could be a first round TKO, or even 5 RND decision. I am ready for the 5 rounds, but I would like to get a impressive finish.
Randy: First or second round technical knock out or submission.
HK: Do you have a message for each other before the fight this Friday?
Zach: Let’s put on a show for the fans who pay good money to come see us SCRAP!
Randy: Let’s have a great fight and put on a show!
On behalf of Hard Knocks Fighting, I would like to thank Zach and Randy for answering my questions and taking part in this interview. I wish you both the best of luck in your HK Amateur Featherweight Title Fight. Looks like you are both prepared to put on a show for the fans! I hope everyone who reads this comes out to show their support for these fighters this coming Friday, February 8th, at Century Casino in Calgary. Links to buy tickets are provided on the fight card page for this event on our website hardknocksfighting.com
Enjoy the fights everybody!
Shane @ Hard Knocks Fighting