Sergei Kharitonov has become the eye of the Grand Prix hurricane, after winning Murilo Ninja and Semmy Schilt. The Russian paratrooper is usually secretive in his interviews but this time...




Pride Fighting Championships: What do you think about your fight with Schilt in the 2nd Round?
Sergei Kharitonov: I think he's a good fighter. He came prepared but my preparation was better. I was able to fight just as I had imagined so I feel great.
Pride: Your face is a little swollen. How was Schilt's striking?
Kharitonov: He's definitely got a good punch. I take punches well, though, so there's not much damage, just a little scratch on my face (laughing).
Pride: Was it difficult fighting someone with such a difference in size?
Kharitonov: I practiced with tall training partners before the fight so I was prepared. I was reversed once after getting the mount but I wasn't worried. I was always in control of the fight, even then.
Pride: You held Schilt down from the mount position, holding his left arm down with you right knee, in the last part of the fight, immobilizing him. Was that something that you had practiced?
Kharitonov: Yes. That's something I developed.
Pride: It looked like you were unhappy about something then, though.
Kharitonov: I wanted to submit him with that arm because Schilt wasn't able to fight any more.
Pride: What do you think of the other 3 fighters that will appear in the August Final Round?
Kharitonov: I can only say one thing. All 3 of them will come prepared for the fight and they are strong. I will prepare myself for them and the rest... is a secret. (laughing).
Pride: Did you do any other sports before starting sambo?
Kharitonov: I played basketball and volleyball. I actually studied the accordion for 8 years.
Pride: Really? Have you always been interested in music?
Kharitonov: Yes. My parents probably influenced me but I chose to study it on my own. I dreamed of become an accordion performer when I was a kid.
Pride: You must be good.
Kharitonov: I haven't played in a while so I'm sure I've gotten worse. (pretending to play the accordion) But, I can play any song as long as I have the music. (laughing) I used to perform a Russian folk song often about Russia's beautiful nature and love. (Kharitonov starts to sing the song at this point) There are a lot more songs that I like but we'd run out of time if I tried to introduce them all. (laughing)
Pride: Why did you begin martial arts training?
Kharitonov: I thought that a man must be strong and martial arts experience would be good for me when I joined the military.
Pride: Is PRIDE broadcast in Russia?
Kharitonov: It's rare. You can see it but it costs a lot of money. There are many problems and I don't think there are many people actually watching it. I want more people to see it.
Pride: You fight as a professional fighter in PRIDE, a Japanese event. Is there anything that you are particularly careful about regarding this?
Kharitonov: Using all of my techniques to win. Sometimes this isn't possible, depending on the flow of the fight, but I'm always focused on using my best techniques.
This interview was taken on June 20, the day after the Grand Prix 2nd Round.