Has the predator earned his stripes? Murthel Groenhart was a "wayward" teenager, but discovered his true calling in life after a chance encounter, some fifteen years ago. Murthel is now staring kickboxing glory in its face. He participated in our first ever lifestyle photoshoot and we took the opportunity to get to know the man behind the gloves.


Murthel Groenhart is a 32 year old, Dutch-Surinam, kickboxer, ranked world number one title contender at welterweight. In 2012 he became the K-1 World Max 2012 World Championship tournament champion and he will challenge for the Glory World Championship title, August 25th  2017 in Chicago, USA when he takes on Cedric Doumbé. 


Tell us about what inspired you to get into kickboxing?

I was a tough-talking and mischievous kid before I met Mike Passenier. I was playing football with a group of friends in a shopping mall when by chance, I kicked a ball against Mike's shopping cart. He asked me why we did not go somewhere else to play. "Keep your mouth shut," I said. "We play soccer where we want." Mike said to us that if we were so tough, we should drop by his gym. The next day we knocked on his door – fifteen of us showed up. We sparred together with Mike and one of his trainers. I took some big hits to my face and body, but loved it. I was sold. I have stayed ever since.


You have been training hard for the past 15 years to get to the stage you have now reached in your career – what obstacles have you faced and overcome?

I think the biggest obstacle I have faced was myself. In my early days I did not always believe how great I am as an athlete and what I could achieve. As an athlete in an individual sport it can be sometimes psychologically challenging. Yes, you have a team around you, but when the gloves go on and you enter that ring, it is you and only you out there competing against your opponent. I have completely dedicated myself to my career for the past 15 years and these days I am mentally, physically and psychologically strong. Its been a long road with many ups and downs, but come August 25th it will all be well worth it! I now know I’m great and knowing what I have already achieved in all these years already makes me a champion in my opinion. 

"I got my first tattoo not too long ago, but I love them. It’s my sense of personal expression, remembrance and faith that though life is a journey filled with ups and downs you always have to get up from the knocks life throws at you and keep fighting."
Murthel Groenhart 

What do you get up to when you are not training?

When I’m not training, I like to hang out with my kid and his little nephews and niece. They are always so happy and positive. I love kids. They are fearless and always want to try new things without the pre-conceived perception you sometimes have as an adult.


Tell us about your tattoo’s and their meaning?

The meaning off my tattoo’s is my life’s story told on my body. Things that have happened in my life, the good and the bad. I got my first tattoo not too long ago, but I love them. It’s my sense of personal expression, remembrance and faith that though life is a journey filled with ups and downs you always have to get up from the knocks life throws at you and keep fighting. A life indeed that started and has developed here in Amsterdam, hence the Amsterdam city logo on my back.


Outside of the ring you are known to be a snappy dresser. What are your key essentials for looking your best?

Yes there are two things I like to do the most, that is look good and kick ass. So looking good is important to me, the champion always has to look outstanding. Outside of the ring, I love the smart casual look of pairing clean denims with minimalistic kicks with a shirt. I am also known to rock an accessory or two, but if you can – why not right? Ha


If you would not have been a kickboxer what would you now be doing?

Before I was a professional kickboxer I was a plumber, so maybe I would still be plumbing. It’s crazy how one little thing can change your whole life. At least I can do all my own plumbing in my house which saves me a fair wad of cash!


How important is family and strong values to you as a person?

Family is very important for me because when things are not going my way I know I can always fall back on them. They share with me all of my successes but also all of my challenges and for that I am truly grateful. I am very close with my mum and she is going through a tough time right now, so now it is my turn to give back – with family it is always give and take.  And my strong value is my kid, he means the world to me and pushes me to be the best I can be which in turn will inspire him help shape his character. Honesty, integrity and determination to succeed are all free values in life - I chose to buy these for myself.


In the ring you are an absolute beast – what is MG like outside of the ring?

People often think that the guy in the ring is the same guy out of it but I would not say that is the case with me. I am super professional about my job, but when I am not working I’m really a nice guy. I mean it. I’m really social.


As a master of your craft, how would you like inspire the next generation of aspiring talent?

I am doing that now by being the best that I can be. I continually push myself to improve in the ring but also outside of the ring. And that’s how a real champion does it. Always stay humble, treat people well and work hard.


Finally, once you become world champ, what will be next for TGT {The Groenhart Team}?

Once I own my belt I will keep it, I will defend it for some years and remain the champion. I have some projects in the works for life-after-kickboxing, but right now I feel I am entering my peak. I am enjoying myself and looking forward to what the future has in stall for me.Murthel Groenhart was speaking to Martin Johnston – Founder & co-pilot of Crafted Society™.