An Interview With Bilam Nesradine

By Fatsoking

Many of you may know of many greats of Muay Thai in America during the early 1990s.  Some of them are still greatly celebrated today.  One of them of this era was Bilam Nesradine.  Bilam came to Thaiboxing originally in Belgium where he would win titles in Europe before continuing in the United States.  In the states Bilam would enhance his boxing and continue his career first under Melchor Chavez and next under the late Bill Packer. Bilam in the USA would become known by his nick name as the ‘Smoking One Man Show’.  Bilam was noted for slick precise combos as well as his willingness to take chances against former stadium champions of Thailand such as Bunkerd Fairtex and Muangfalek Kiatvichian.  As a trainer Bilam is known for his patient demeanor and thorough explanation of some of the finer details.

Bilam Nesradine celebrates a hard fought win

Bilam Nesradine celebrates a hard fought win

FatsoKing: How did you begin your career in fight sports and what made you want to start? And how old were you when you first started training?

Bilam: I started Karate when I was nine. I started because I was always being bullied. I was constantly getting my ass kicked. I received my first black belt around the age of 12 which was about the same time I started boxing and full contact.

Who was your toughest opponent?

Richard Sylla from France. (Author note: Richard Sylla was the 10 times French National champion and 5 time WKO champion and defeated Peter ‘Sugar Foot Cunningham)

I am often asked how you felt about Bunkerd Fairtex since he was a familiar opponent after fighting him 3 times.  What is your opinion of Bunkerd?

I have a lot of respect for Bunkerd. He is a hard kicker and has good style in Muay Thai. He knows how to play with you mentally, but was ineffective with me. I was suppose to fight him for a 4th time in Hawaii for the World Championship in 2002, but I injured my Right foot and wasn’t able to compete.

What do you rate as the biggest differences between Thaiboxers in the USA and in Europe?

American Thai boxers are “clowns” I am not saying that some are not good fighters, but in general they are not as good of a fighter or as hard as those in Europe.

What is the most important thing for a beginner to know before they begin training in Muay Thai?

Muay Thai by itself is a great sport for those who already have experience in kick-boxing. It is a dangerous sport to learn if you don’t have a foundation to start with. I would suggest that a beginner start with karate -light contact to learn the different styles of kicking because you won’t learn it in Muay Thai. Most Champions come from Karate and boxing like myself, Ramon Dekkers, Badr Hari and Richard Sylla just to name few.

You came into Thaiboxing in an era where many kickboxers were from a Full Contact background.  You had the unique opportunity to experience all eras in full contact kickboxing, leg-kick rules and in Muay Thai.  What helped you make the transition from style to style?

Just like I said, if you have good foundation like kick-boxing or Karate to start with then making the transition and adding different kicks and styles is much easier.

Bilam Spin kicks an opponent

Bilam Spin kicks an opponent

Which country in the west do you think is the best at Muay Thai?

United States and Canada

What qualities do you think are the most important things for a fighter to have?

A fighter needs to have brains, balls and a heart of steel. You need to have good strategy. Play your game and not theirs.

And what is the best way for them to train for them?

I don’t think there is anyway to train for them. I think you have it or you don’t. This is what differentiates a Champion from someone who just trains in the sport.

Bilam Nesradine Versus Muangfalek Kitvichian former Stadium Champion

Bilam Nesradine Versus Muangfalek Kitvichian former Stadium Champion

Why does a country like France have so many good Thaiboxers?

The Savate is a style of kick boxing dominated by the French. This is practiced in schools in France. It is also known as French foot fighting and is very technical sport and Popular in Europe. It is not a surprise that they would have so many good Thai boxers.

How would you rate the current state of Muay Thai in the United States?

Without insulting anyone, I have seen many good fighters in America, but European fighters still dominate the sport.

Who do you think is the best Thaiboxer among heavy weights?

I don’t think that one person is the best. There are many great fighters and they all have different styles that make them unique to the sport, but I will say that Badr Hari and Andy Hug are spectacular and entertaining fighters.

What was your record of fights when you retired?


106 WINS

68 KO’S



This includes all the different styles of fights over a 21 year career

Titles: Boxing – Belgium Champion x2 , Full contact – Belgium Champion x 4, ISKA- European Champion x1, IKL- World Champion WKA x1, World Champion Full contact x2, USA Champion x3, ISKA North America Champion x2, ISKA Intercontinental Champion x2, 1988 Olympic Boxing -selected, WAKO  World Championships- Bronze Metal x2

Have you become friends with any former opponents?

No, I don’t even know what my former opponents are doing. Bunkerd and myself did teach at the same place in Phoenix for about a year. He was teaching Muay Thai and I was teaching Kick-boxing.

You fought for and held titles in many different weight classes.  What would you say was your best fighting weight?

Feather -Weight  at  57Kg

What do you do now for sports after fighting?

I train everyday by running to stay in shape. I am competing for the amateur triathlon and teaching kick-boxing.

As a trainer now what do you think is the most important thing you teach new students.

It’s very important to teach the basics. Develop a good technique and masters that skill before moving on to the next. Many instructors teach a lot of different moves without letting their students master the basic one first. I also emphasize maintaining a healthy life style and healthy eating.

Any final words for our readers?

Practice your sport and take it as far as you like, but do not sacrifice your education for it. You will not always be a competing fighter and It is important to have a good education when you done.  Also, don’t use you skills as a weapon. Have respect for the sport and don’t use it for your own means just because you can. Learn by example, I was a street fighter and used it for my own means. I didn’t pursue a higher level of education and now find myself starting over in my 40’s.

The thanks Bilam for his time granted for this interview.

You can check Bilam in action in these clips:

~ by fatsoking on July 17, 2009.

2 Responses to “An Interview With Bilam Nesradine”

  1. Hi everyone,

    Fantastic story. Its nice to see a person that as a child was bullied and as an adult they used there own weekness to advantage and traveled the world winning.

    149 fights with 68 KO’s, and a prefferred weigth of 57kg.
    Being bullied payed off, I am sure it hurt very much at the time!

    Did the bullied become a bully, through this dangerous art? No!
    Bilam became a champ. And thanks to this interview I can read and see it for myself.

    Muay Thai or the ‘Science of 8 limbs’ is a tough sport, but only the gentlemen win. I knew very little about Bilam Nesradine, but I do know some of his oppenents. They are very good.

    The internet fasinates me. Now I know a little bit more about how this champions mind think. Well done everyone.

    Thank you, ‘thescienceof8limbs’ an inspiring story that I will tell to my students her in the UK.

  2. Awesome interview and videos, can’t wait for more good post like this. Keep up the good work.

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