Full Name: Valentina Shevchenko (aka BULLET)
Date of Birth: 07/03/1988
Fight record: 48 fight, 47 win
Gym: SKIF Muaythai Peru.
World Muaythai Champion IFMA, 57 кg, Kazakhstan 2003
World Muaythai Champion IFMA, 57 кg, Thailand 2006
World Muaythai Champion IFMA, 57 кg, Thailand 2007
World Muaythai Champion IFMA, 57 кg, South Korea 2008
World Muaythai Champion IFMA, 60 кg, Thailand 2009
World Muaythai Champion IFMA, 63.5 кg, Thailand 2010
World Muaythai Champion IFMA, 60 кg, Russia 2012
Champion of 1st Sport Accord Combat Games, Muaythai 60 kg, China 2010
Champion of 2nd Sport Accord Combat Games, Muaythai 60 kg, Russia 2013
World Muaythai Champion, 63 кg, France 2012
Panamerica Muaythai Champion, IFMA 60 kg, Brasil 2010
South America Muaythai Champion, IFMA 60 kg , Argentina 2011
What were your reasons that you choose to train in Muaythai?
I have started to be engaged in sports since I was 5 years old. For us it is more like a family tradition. My mother, Elena has encouraged us to participate in sports and she herself has a black belt in taekwondo and has been involved in Muaythai for over 20 years. She is the president of the Muaythai Federation of Kyrgyzstan. Taking my mum as an example, my sister and I, have fallen in love with Muaythai. My sister, Antonina was also a World Muaythai champion.
What fascinates you the most about Muaythai?
Muaythai for me is a complete martial art. The culture and sporting element sets it apart from other martial arts.
What are your plans after retiring from competing?
I don’t think about it, however every athlete regardless of what sport they are in will come to a point where they need to step away from being an active participation. Being a 7 times IFMA world champion and 2 times winner for the World Combat Games I have had a fantastic career in the sport and no doubt one of the most successful females fighters in Muaythai. After my retirement I will certainly stay in the sport. Definitely as a trainer for the next generation and in one of the IFMA commissions to keep developing the sport.
What is your advice to the youths that are beginning Muaythai?
It is important to have fun. Yes winning is a great feeling however being part of the sport and making friends and the culture exchange for the youths I feel is more important. Respect is an important part of our sport so we must respect each other as we are all part of a bigger family.
What is your favourite weapon in the ring?
Muaythai is unique, as it covers all the ranges, long, medium and close ranges so you must be able to be strong at every range to execute one of the 9 weapons. We say Muaythai has 8 weapons but I believe the mind is the 9th weapon.
In your opinion, what would help the sport to progress?
I have been part of every IFMA competition since 2003 and I have seen the sport progress. The competitions are now at a much higher level, every competition is better than the one before. Fair play has become a big part, the ethics and most importantly female Muaythai has become equal to our male counterparts and in many countries even more popular. I personally hope that it will soon be recognized by the IOC as I feel our sport deserves it.
What was your experience SportAccord Combat Games?
I am very proud to have participated in two SportAccord Combat Games in 2010 and 2013. And I am very happy to have won gold medals two times.
For me the World Combat Games is the highest level, especially as all the 5 Olympic martial arts take part. For the non-Olympic martial arts it is a great opportunity and it is basically the Olympic Games for martial arts. Especially as the game are patronized by IOC.
How do you prepare before a fight?
In my life, there are practically no breaks for trainings, only the intensity before a fight changes. My trainer Pavel Fedotov with whom I have trained with for 20 years directs all my training process, and I try to follow all his instructions attentively. We train not only in gyms, but also outdoors, near the sea or in mountains. For example for the 2014 World Championships in Langkawi, Malaysia, we have begun to training in the jungle of the Amazon River.
Wants you’re the most memorable moment?
For me the most memorable moment was in 2003 for the first IFMA World Championship. I won the gold medal in Kazakhstan in the city of Alma-Ata. The privy councillor of Thailand and his wife were presenting the flowers to me and told me how much I had impressed them, it was that moment that I will never forget and it kept inspiring me.
Do you have a personal phrase that keeps you focused?
Muaythai has given me many things such as self-esteem, self-confidence. In the gym you have to rely on your coach and your training partners that help to push you past your limits. However when you enter the ring it is an individual sport it is down to you and your opponent, there is no time for errors, it’s like a game of chess. I have learned to deal with the defeat as much as my victories. Even when you win you have to continue to improve, if you lose you must get up, bounce back, learn and come back stronger.
How has Muaythai helped developed you as an individual?
Muaythai is a sport in which team building and individual effort plays an equally important role. During training you need your trainer and colleagues to ensure that you can be pushed over the limit but when you enter the ring it is an individual sport in which one mistake can cost you a victory. So I have learned to be part of a team as well as in the most important moments to work as an individual.
What is your opinion on Muaythai being an Olympic sport?
Muaythai is an old traditional martial art combining and an existing ring sport with long term traditions. Its social responsibilities and culture exchanges are important in the sport therefore it would be a fantastic addition to the Olympics. However we also have to be realistic, this will not happen in my fighting days but I am very confident that Muaythai will be recognised by the IOC in the future. We as fighters must do our part to ensure that the patronisation of the Olympic movement will be upheld.