Lanna MMA Fighter of The Week Rob Kaman
Known as ‘The Dutchman’ and ‘Mr. Low Kick’, Rob Kaman is one of many famous Dutch fighters to make their mark in the history of kickboxing and Muay Thai. After enjoying some time playing competitive soccer, Kaman fell in love with striking because he saw it as an extremely challenging individual sport. Training under famous coach and father of kickboxing in Holland, Jan Plas at his world renowned Mejiro Gym, Kaman would go on to have an extremely decorated career in kickboxing and Muay Thai.
Kaman was known primarily for his devastating leg kicks which he perfected in Holland at the Mejiro Gym. He embodied the classic ‘Dutch Style’ that people refer to when they talk about the use of boxing and low kicks used in combination with one another. He used them to defeat John Moncayo for the WKA Middleweight title in 1983, becoming the first European to hold the belt. When leg kicks weren’t a factor, The Dutchman defeated famous full contact fighters like Jean-Yves Theriault and Jean Marc Tonus, winning the PKA Middleweight World title.
He fought several times in Thailand under full Thai rules, training at the Sityodtong Camp with Samart Payakaroon. In old intervews, Kaman has said that he was blown away by the toughness and intensity of the Thais. He marveled at fighting in the stadiums, where he felt a real pressure to perform well in front of tens of thousands of screaming fans. It was unlike anything he said he had experienced previously.
Kaman had some success against the Thais, but didn’t achieve the same status in Thailand as fellow countryman Ramon Dekkers. However Kaman would defeat Changpuek Kiatsongrit for the IMTF Light Heavyweight in February 1990. He became one of the few fighters to hold the WKA, PKA and IMTF titles at the same time. He would go on to capture the ISKA Light Heavyweight World title later in 1990, but lost his IMTF title a month earlier in a rematch with Kiatsongrit.
Rob Kaman ended his illustrious career with a record of 97-12, 77 wins by knockout (some due to low kicks), and 1 draw. He is remembered as one of the pioneers of kickboxing, Muay Thai and full contact fighting in Holland. His style has been emulated by many kickboxers due to his success with boxing combinations that would lead into powerful low kicks.
Here is a short highlight video of Kaman doing his best work.
Here is Rob Kaman capturing the IMTF (Now IMF) world title versus Changpuek in Paris on February 8th 1990.
Check out our previous Lanna MMA Fighter of The Week Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu
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Written by Ryan McKinnon, Lanna MMA Team Member and host of The Bloody Ballet Podcast, a weekly Muay Thai show that can be found at The Bloody Ballet