|As Dekkers’ career advanced, so did his weight. And he was
forced to move up - not one but two – weight divisions. And there were many
hungry young lions ready to try and notch a win over this master of the
After fighting so many fights, Ramon had an injury on his ankle. He got an
infection in Thailand and something with his bone structure – it was because
of all the kicking and more than 150 fights. They almost had to amputate his
right leg. After that, when he recovered, he was afraid of fighting again,
afraid that he was going to lose his leg.
But Ramon loved fighting. And his leg was getting better so he felt like
training, getting better. Soon he started fighting again.
One of the first fights after that injury was in 16-11-1996 in Amsterdam
against a Moroccan named Hassan Kassrioui who had made a big name by
knocking out some popular Thais. It was Ramon’s first fight for the
organization of the WPKL (World Professional Kickboxing League). Ramon took
that fight in Amsterdam and it was very exciting to watch – every round was
Ramon remembers that he was a very difficult opponent because he came from
Tae Kwon Do. He had some very strange kicks, and his movements were
something new to Ramon. After fighting so many Thais and then, suddenly,
against Hassan…he had to fight against an opponent who fought totally
It was youth versus experience. Watching the fight, you can see that Dekkers
was still using the right leg – the leg he shouldn’t be using. Already he
stood as a “southpaw” stands so he was forced to use his left leg because he
sometimes forgot it. He was so used to using that lethal right kick. It was
Dekkers’ boxing skills that dominated that fight. He was stronger than
Hassan. Ramon knocked him out quite a few times. But Hassan showed a lot of
heart in getting up every time. Ramon won that fight by decision. It felt
good to win after a long absence, against a real up-coming, talented fighter
like Hassan Kassrioui, especially after the injuries. After that fight, they
had to operate on Ramon again.
Kassrioui challenged Ramon for a
rematch. It happened on
November 1997 in Amsterdam.