At just 26 years old, Riddell (57-8) has become a formidable force on the Oceanic kickboxing scene; a result of his relentless work ethic. Riddell is yet another skilled product of City Kickboxing Gym in Auckland, New Zealand.
“Our mentality at our gym is, if you fight and you come out fine and it was a good fight, you just roll onto another one as soon as you can,” Riddell says. “‘Cause at the end of the day it’s work, isn’t it?”
Despite going five rounds with accomplished kickboxer Fernando Groenhart, Riddell came out injury-free and took just one week off before getting back into the gym.
“I feel pretty good. I’m still sorta buzzing off that last one.”
And for good reason. Groenhart is an experienced Dutch kickboxer with 91 fights, 72 of them wins. He trains with his brother Murthel Groenhart, a former Glory titleholder, and is coached by Mike Passenier, who has worked with kickboxing legends Badr Hari and Gokhan Saki. Groenhart had the height and reach advantage, but Riddell was able to neutralise him with combinations and footwork to comfortably win a unanimous decision.
Next Friday, Riddell makes his ONE Championship debut in a kickboxing bout against former Lion Fight Champion Regian Eersel (47-4), another Dutchman who presents a similar challenge in terms of physicality and fighting style.
The fight will be featured on the first ever event of the ONE Super Series , an endeavour by the promotion to showcase the striking martial arts. It will form part of the ONE: Heroes of Honor card as a hybrid show.
Riddell has signed a one-fight deal with ONE, though he sees this next step in his career as a big opportunity. The inaugural event is stacked with elite fighters and Riddell is happy to have been selected.
“I can’t lie, it’s a pretty awesome line-up,” he says. “A lot of the guys I was watching when I was a lot younger, when I was sort of irrelevant. So it’s pretty cool to be on the same card as them.”
It’s apparent that Riddell’s passion for fighting has few restrictions. He’s open to kickboxing or Muay Thai rules, and also intends to add to his 3-0 MMA record in the future.
“I’ll fight whatever,” he says.
In fact, Riddell likes the smaller gloves as he tends to be “more dominant” with his hands.
Riddell’s first MMA fight came about unintentionally. It took place in Myanmar where he was informed on arrival that the scheduled fight was not, as he understood, a Muay Thai fight with MMA gloves. He went through with the fight and ended up winning.
“I’d grappled a little bit before, so I wasn’t too bad. … Could’ve gone worse,” he laughs.
Riddell says he enjoys MMA but will focus on kickboxing for the time being.
“I’ve got a lot of goals that I still want to achieve in my kickboxing career,” he says. “I’m still young, so I’m gonna tune in to that for a little bit.
“I just want to rank number one in the world for my weight category. But, it’s just finding the promotion with the right calibre fighters that I can beat so that I’m eligible to say that I’m the number one in the world.”
Always looking to keep busy, Riddell has a next opponent in mind. Cosmo Alexandre, a successful Brazilian kickboxer, who happens to be fighting on the same card against Riddell’s friend, Elliot Compton.
“I would like to fight Cosmo,” Riddell says, adding, “‘Cause he’s pretty good.”
ONE: Heroes of Honor takes place next Friday, April 20 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines.