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Olympic gold medallist Kenny Monday joins Blackzilians

Olympic gold medallist Kenny Monday joins Blackzilians
April 4th 2013

Glenn Robinson, manager and owner of the Blackzilians, today named Kenny Monday as the new head wrestling coach for the team.


This is the latest of several announcements made by Robinson regarding the Blackzilians, including adding Pedro Diaz as the new boxing coach and Guillermo Rigondeaux as the team’s first professional boxer.

Blackzilians manager and owner Glenn Robinson has revealed two big additions to the team’s line-up this week.

First is the installation of Olympic gold medallist and Oklahoma State wrestling coach Kenny Monday as head wrestling coach.

“It is an honor and a privilege to announce that Kenny Monday is now a Blackzilian,” said Robinson. “He is a legend! He brings world-class wrestling and so many other new facets to the team. He is without a doubt considered one of the best in the sport.

Most recently the Assistant Wrestling Coach at Oklahoma State University, Monday is a three-time Olympian in wrestling.

He earned the gold medal in wrestling (74 kg.) at the 1988 Games in Seoul, Korea, won the silver medal in wrestling (74 kg.) at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, and made the 1996 team, earning sixth place at the Olympics in Atlanta.

Monday also won the World Championships in wrestling (74 kg.) in 1989 in Switzerland. He is a five-time U.S. National Champion and a NCAA Division I Champion (150 lbs) from Oklahoma State.

He was assistant wrestling coach at Oklahoma State University from 1987 until 1992. It was during this time that he began coaching a talented new wrestler named Randy Couture. Couture had just finished his six-year military career and had enrolled at OSU as a student-athlete.  In 1992, Couture was selected as an Olympic Alternate for the Olympic wrestling team.

“I am excited to join the Blackzilians and to work with Glenn Robinson on his vision for this team,” said Monday.

“MMA is still on the ground floor in sports. It is just starting to move into the mainstream, and I see exactly what Glenn is trying to do with this team. He is a smart businessman and a great leader, and he is making the changes necessary to realize his goals. 

“I am in this for the long haul and will be working with Glenn, Henri Hooft, Pedro Diaz and the other coaches to establish the Blackzilian’s foundation. From there, we will begin building a world-class team and a championship tradition.”

The second announcement is that the Blackzilians team now has its first professional boxer. Guillermo Rigondeaux, two-time Olympic gold medalist and WBA Super bantamweight boxing champion, has been “quietly training” at JACO Hybrid Training Center for a month.

“The addition of Guillermo Rigondeaux to the Blackzilians is profound in so many ways, and is one of many changes I’ve made recently,” said Robinson.  “As a world class boxer, Rigondeaux brings the team unmatched skills, experience and ideas in all aspects of their training.

“He joined the Blackzilians along with Dr. Pedro Diaz, our new boxing coach, and everyone on the team is already seeing and feeling the benefits.  We are thrilled to have Rigondeaux on the team and especially to watch his title unification fight April 13.”

“This is the most important fight of my life, and I couldn’t feel more welcome at JACO Hybrid Training Center or more comfortable with the Blackzilians,” said Rigondeaux.

“With Pedro Diaz and Rashad Evans, Vitor Belfort, Tyrone Spong and all of these other elite fighters around me, I am experiencing the most challenging, intense and intelligent training camp ever in my career.

“I am proud to be the first Blackzilian to represent the sport of boxing and I hope to bring home to the team two championship titles in April.”

Rigondeaux is a seven-time Cuban national champion in boxing’s bantamweight division (54 kg.). He earned gold in Boxing at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney and again in the 2004 Olympics in Athens. He has over 400 amateur fights on his record, with only 12 losses.

Rigondeaux chose to leave his native Cuba in 2009 to become a professional boxer and quickly rose to prominence, capturing the WBC Bantamweight title. He remains undefeated at 8-0-0 with eight knockouts. He fights WBO Champion Nonito Donaire on April 13 at Radio City Music Hall, in a title unification fight that will be televised live on HBO.

The Blackzilians team has recently had its record under focus, as its all-star line-up hasn’t translated into the kind of winning streak it would be expected to. But Robinson shrugs this off and says it is all just a matter of time.

“We have some of the best talent in fighting, from the athletes to the coaches, and now with the addition of Monday we are one change away from having the best coaching team in MMA,” he explains.

“Change doesn't happen overnight; it takes place in small steps, and this is a significant step forward for the Blackzilians. Welcome to the team, Mr. Monday, we are thrilled to have you!”

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