Mike ‘300’ Demetriou is a fierce fighter. His moniker recalls the strength and valour of King Leonidas and the 300 Spartans.
His impressive record, instills apprehension in his often more experienced opponents and he is rated by many as the next big thing in Australian kickboxing.
All of these things ought to amount to a big, bustling, bombastic young man, who knows he has the world at his feet. But at “a bit under six foot” tall, and “about 70 kilograms”, Mike “300” Demetriou is none of these things.
Mike Demetriou can only be described as placid, and humble.
Demetriou blushes as promoter Joe Nader pumps him up at the Brunswick gym where he trains. “I’ve been around the industry now for nearly thirty years, and I’ve seen a lot of fighters come and go,” says Nader. “I think Mike’s biggest asset is that he is a very, very relaxed fighter and a very, very focused fighter and because he is a southpaw he utilizes his left side very well.”
Demetriou certainly put his talents on show last month when he took on and beat the highly rated and vastly more experienced Chey Kosal, the Cambodian Bull.
“You’re always a little bit worried when you initially find out who you’re fighting,” he says. “But my trainer knows me pretty well, and if he says I’m going to be OK, then I trust him.”
“I basically just scored and moved, he was quite frustrated with me, and when I was in a grapple I kept him nice and close so he couldn’t elbow me in the head,” says Demetriou.
His desire to avoid such blows is understandable. The concept of being elbowed in the head with bruising force by a professional fighter is foreign to most people, including Demetriou, who has only been cut open during a fight once.
“It was weird. I felt a hit, and it doesn’t really hurt, and then you sort of feel the trickle coming down your face, and you see the guy’s reaction trying to have a look and see how wide it is. In a way you’re like, why am I doing this? But I suppose you want to keep going.”
“That night I took a panadol, but after that wears off and the adrenaline wears off, it was the biggest headache I’ve ever had!”
Demetriou is hoping to continue his run of wins and minimal injuries when he takes on Queensland champion Derek Harvey on 21st August at the Moonee Valley racecourse.
“I’ve fought him before in a four-man competition in Sydney, so I know I’m not stepping above my experience level. He’s a southpaw as well, so it’s made training a bit interesting, doing things that I don’t normally do, but I’m feeling good.”
“He’s about a foot taller than me, so I suppose the strategy will change. I probably won’t be able to circle around as much. From memory he threw big haymakers, and I’ve been working a fair bit on my boxing, so hopefully that will help me.”