Ibrahim El Bouni’s nickname of “Mr. Cool” is the perfect fit for him – inside and outside the ring.
The Dutch-Moroccan kickboxing star is as chilled as they come, but when he steps through the ropes or into the cage to throw leather, he is all business.
The 25-year-old ONE Super Series contender faces off against Tarik Khbabez in a light heavyweight kickboxing contest at ONE: PURSUIT OF GREATNESS in Yangon, Myanmar on 26 October looking to build on his previous performance in ONE Championship.
In El Bouni’s debut against heavyweight powerhouse Andre “The Giant” Meunier, he exhibited an ice-cool temperament as he used his head movement and footwork to avoid the power punches of the dangerous Australian.
He then picked his shots to perfection to finish his opponent after just 91 seconds of the first round.
It proved just why he is known as “Mr. Cool,” but he has been known by that handle for many years. It was his coach that gave him his moniker in the early days of his career.
“He used to say it to me all the time because, an hour or so before a fight, I would just take a nap, then wake up, warm up, and go in the ring,” El Bouni explains.
The moments just before a bout are often the most stressful for an athlete, but El Bouni’s approach to his bouts takes a much more laid-back attitude.
“I just see the fight as three rounds of play time. If I win or he wins, it’s time to play,” he says.
“That’s what I am like in life – always laughing, joking, and playing. My family is the same, so that’s how I approach it.”
El Bouni may have a chilled-out demeanour, but do not be fooled. He has 37 career wins, with 33 of those successes coming by knockout. He also has a 10-bout run of first-round knockout wins.
For a man in his line of work, El Bouni’s relaxed approach can come as a surprise to some.
“People don’t always expect for me to be so relaxed with them,” he explains.
“It’s not a problem. I always have time for my fans, just like my family, my friends, everyone.
“I don’t take my work home with me. I don’t think about it too much. Some people are stress, stress, stress. It might work for them, but not for me.
“You only have to train good, sleep good, and take care of your health and your family, and that’s it.”