Live-streaming for free this Saturday morning/ early afternoon, M-1 Global is holding their M-1 Challenge XXIII event in Moscow. The event, which begins at 11:30 PM EST (and you can watch it here on TheFightNerd.com) includes Kenny Garner vs. Alexander Volkov, Magomed Sultanakhmedov vs. Plinio Cruz, Byron Byrd vs. Alihan Magomedov and Jersey local Tom “Da’ Tank” Gallicchio.
Gallicchio plowed through some tough competition including Aaron Meisner and Len Bentley to earn his spot on the American team, and was supposed to fight for the welterweight title back in October, but was unable to compete. Fast forward to March, and Tom is headed off to Russia for his first fight in the Challenge series, as well as first time competing on another continent. I spoke to Tom earlier this week to get his thoughts on this event and what happened in between.
The Fight Nerd: You are getting ready to head to Russia to fight Shamil Zavurov at M-1 Challenge XXIII for the M-1 Welterweight title, what are you doing to prepare?
Tom Gallicchio: I’m doing a whole bunch of fun things to prepare. I’m continuing my boxing, wrestling, and Jiu JItsu. But for my cardio, I have incorporated some new things. I’m doing my land, air, sea, warrior training. Land being sprints, air being plyometric circuits, and sea being swiming.
The Fight Nerd: In an interview you did with M-1, you said Shamil is like a “brother from another mother” since you two are very similar. What makes you two so similar and what sort of challenge does that present in fighting your “mirror match”?
Tom Gallicchio: We both are very well rounded and tough. The biggest challenge is fighting in Russia. I’ve never fought over seas. I never really left the country before besides Carribean countries. New food, way different time zone, different climate. Luckily, Jersey has been destroyed with snow and cold, so I figured it would be close to Moscow.
The Fight Nerd: You were supposed to meet Shamil back in October but the fight fell through. Can you explain what happened and how everything got straightened out?
Tom Gallicchio: I was just so plagued with injuries from the M-1 tournament, but it got straightened out by accepting this fight.
The Fight Nerd: No Americans have won the belts yet in M-1, what are your thoughts on the performances of your American team so far?
Tom Gallicchio: We only had one american fight for the belt so far and that was kenny garner. He was doing great, he just made one mistake and got caught. He still only has like eight fights total, so he just had a learning experience. He is just young in this sport.
The Fight Nerd: This is your first time fighting overseas, does this make you nervous to be fighting there?
Tom Gallicchio: No, I’m cool with it. I started this tournament as one of the 32 fighters selected around the world. I felt I had the toughest path to prove I’m number 1. But I have not became number one yet, so I have to finish what I started. Nothing to it but to do it!
The Fight Nerd: Have you been working on your Russian language skills or learning about their culture?
Tom Gallicchio: Nope, havent really had time between work and training full time. Reading isn’t one of my strong points.
The Fight Nerd: Are you happy fighting overseas or would you have preferred to fight on the showtime card in Virgina later this month?
Tom Gallicchio: I would be happier if I got a day after the fight to see russia but I dont have that chance… so Virigina would have been nice.
The Fight Nerd: There have been many bad decisions for American fighters in Russia’s M-1, what are your thoughts on the often biased judging we have seen come out of there?
Tom Gallicchio: It made me very uneasy but m-1 did some things to make it better they are getting a rusian judge a dutch judge and a US judge for the next fight. so I am not worried M-1 knows what the judges did and they fixed it they are legit!
The Fight Nerd: I also know that you are a video game nut, so what are you playing these days in between training?
Tom Gallicchio: Call of Duty…. gamer tag, Gomlikeabomb. Get at me!
The Fight Nerd: What is the one thing that you miss the most when you are training for a fight that you have to give up?
Tom Gallicchio: Food! A lot of bad food… the six C’s! My people from home know what I’m talking about. It’s called the “Six-C challenge”, created by one of my conditioning coaches, Jay Lally. No Cake, no Candy, no Cola, no Chips, no cookies, and no complaining!
The Fight Nerd: You train with Kurt Pellegrino’s team of fighters, and Kurt is getting ready to return to action at UFC 128 in New Jersey. Can you give us some insight on his preparations for Tibau?
Tom Gallicchio: He’s training hard and will be ready to get his hand raised!
The Fight Nerd: Thank any sponsors or whoever you want.
Tom Gallicchio: Vigg designs, and E-street bagel.
And don’t forget to enter our caption contest to win a signed photo of Fedor Emelianenko, courtesy of M-1 Global!