World Cup soccer (or football) is here — and even though all eyes are on Brazil —  for a few hours on Saturday, the stakes will be higher for the best strikers in the world, as fans across the globe tune in to the biggest kickboxing promotion and event-to-date, Glory 17.

The event will feature an 8-man tournament to crown a tournament and world champion in the middleweight division; and TVMix was able to get an in-depth exclusive interview from the current Glory middleweight tournament champion Joe Stitch em up Schilling, who will be fighting for the title and $200,000.

TVMix: Thank you for having us days before the big event.

Schilling: No problem. I haven’t done any interviews the past few months, I’ve just been focused on training, you’re the only one I’m doing an interview with so far.

TVMix: Thanks, we appreciate it. Now you’re originally from Ohio, what was it like growing up?

Schilling: Well, my parents divorced at a young age, I’m the youngest of three and I grew up in a suburb of Dayton. I had a quick temper and got kicked out of a lot of schools, so when I was 15, my mom told me I had to pick a hobby and I told her I wanted to fight. She took me to kickboxing gym and I can remember I threw a fit. I thought kicking was for girls, but went inside, thought the instructor was a badass and started going there everyday after school and fell in love with it. After awhile, I started getting good at it and even helped out while I was there.

TVMix: Why did you make the transition to Los Angeles?

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Schilling: I knew if I wanted to move forward in kickboxing, I’d have to relocate. So I decided to make the move to L.A. when I was 19. My mom gave me $400 in gas cards and a little bit of money. She thought I’d be back in a week, but eleven years later, I’m still here.

TVMix: We’re here at your gym The Yard, was that your dream to own your own gym?

Schilling: Well my girl got pregnant eight years ago, and I was trying to figure out a way to support my family as a fighter, so me and my coach, Mark Komuro, we decided to open The Yard, and this is where I train for all my fights.

TVMix: Speaking of fights, you won the Glory middleweight tournament last year along with the $150,000 prize money. How was that, has it changed you with more people knowing who you are?

Schilling: Winning the tournament and $150,000 made me a lot happier. And people would notice me at random places and I’m still shocked. I was running at Venice Beach a couple weeks ago, and out of the blue someone says, ‘Good luck Joe,’ and I was surprised and didn’t know what to say.

TVMix: This time, the tournament winner gets $200,000, but you have to beat three guys in one night. How are you feeling now?

Schilling: I’m excited going and competing against the best middleweights in the world, trying to stay focused and working hard.

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TVMix: You’ve fought three guys in the tournament already: Artem Levin, Wayne Barrett, and Simon Marcus. Marcus will be your first opponent, but who do you feel is the toughest?

Schilling: They’re all good. You have Alex Pereira, Bogdan Stoica, Filip Verlinden, Melvin Manhoef, and of course Levin, Barrett and Marcus. I haven’t read what anyone is saying or watched any interviews. I’m just focused on winning that tournament.

TVMix: Is there added pressure that your fighting in your adopted hometown of Los Angeles?

Schilling: No, I don’t think there is added pressure fighting here where I have a lot of fans. I put a lot of pressure on myself and the pressure to win that $200,000. I love fighting in L.A., I’m my hardest critic.

TVMix: This will be Glory’s first Pay-Per-View ever. What can fans expect?

Schilling: On June 21st, fans can expect eight of the best middleweights in the world, fighting in one night and a heavyweight title between two of the best kickboxers ever who are highly skilled, Daniel Ghita and Rico Verhoeven, who don’t like each other at all. It’ll be a great action packed night for fans.

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TVMix: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Schilling: I just want to thank my fans for all their support and Melvin Manhoef said it best, ‘If you can beat 7 of the best fighters in the world in one night — you are the best kickboxer in the world.’

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