Fast Confession - Matouš Rajmont: Lucerna will host one of the greatest matches in the history of Czech boxing!
Matouš Rajmont can boast about his famous family. His father Ivan was an important theater director (he directed, for example, The Servant of Two Masters at the National Theater), his mother Iva Hüttnerová is an actress and artist, and his brother is a member of the National Theater ensemble. Matouš himself occasionally appears in series and movies, but he is mostly busy with his production agency and throughout the year also sports. He is the brains behind and also the architect of the now established Gala Evening of boxing and K1 in Prague's Lucerna.
How is it going with the gala evening?
It looks like all the preparations are happening. We can't afford for them not to. If the limit remains as it is now, that is, 500 people per sector, or 1000 people divided into sectors, then we are able to comply. The greatest charm of Lucerna is the atmosphere. Normally we have 3,000 people there, but of course we will hold the event even if there could only be a hundred. We'll do this on a live TV, pay-per-view basis. But then it's not Lucerna as it should be.
How much money can it all cost? How much can you lose if the government changes its mind?
The stupid thing is that I don't know how far in the red I'll be by the definition of their decision. If it's 500 people, I would lose 500 thousand, if it's a hundred people, I would lose 800 thousand. But there is still a chance to cover the costs by funds from sponsors, so we are doing our best to cover it. This is an event that you can't even make money off, or we don't tend to. Admission does not play a 100% role in costs, for example, it makes up about a third. I manage to find sponsors who are either passionate about boxing or want to help us. We lost some that were affected by the coronavirus. It's the kind of fight I enjoy with pills - xanax and such. (laughs)
Why don't you just say screw it? It could ruin you.
Lucerna is basically our baby. We are in the twelfth year now, I have some ties to it. There are, of course, other events that earn much better money and are paid by a single client. No matter how many times I tell myself every January 1 after Lucerna that I won't be working on it next year, the next day people come, pat me on the shoulder and say how great it was and how they are looking forward to the next year. That's why I'd rather slave away for a year than not do Lucerna.
This year's match will be quite exceptional. In what way?
Vasil Ducár and Václav Pejsar are among the highest ranking contemporary Czech boxers in the world. They are friends, when one goes boxing abroad, he prepares with the other. They are friends, they also record messages for each other. Vasil, for example, sent a video from his wedding the other day: "I am still thinking of you on this day." Vašek wrote back to him: "Good luck to you and the family, but I'm still punching you in the mouth after."
I don't know the exact order, one is 52nd and the other 59th in the global rankings, they are number one and number two here. It is seldom possible for the best to box each other, usually it's something like number one with number six. For this year's match, the boys decided that even though they are friends, they will fight to decide who is the Czech number one in boxing.
How does the public feel about this? Are they excited?
This is a fight like we haven't had in an awful long time, so the public who's in the know reacts enthusiastically. After a long time, the two top Czech boxers will fight each other, we were missing that.
Bookmakers will certainly react to this in some way.
They will, I think it's already been announced actually. I don't know exactly what the odds are, I won't bet on it. There is no prospective winner here, there really is not. There are other matches where I would guess the winner, but here I don't know, nobody knows.
Will you present it?
No, it's not mentally and physically manageable to do everything. It will be presented by Michal Frabša, who's been doing it perfectly from the start. I run around and usually my team and I won't even stop for a second. I'm probably hosting the Hall of Fame.
I like the 1930s dress code. But when I was there, I was disappointed that a lot of people didn't follow it.
I don't think it was a lot. We look for it, we take pictures. In the main area, the lower VIP area, almost everyone wears it, I probably didn't even see anyone in a sweatshirt there. If someone buys a ticket to one of the upper areas and comes from Bumfuck Nowhere, it is not an obligation for them. It's a recommended dress code, and I think about seventy percent of people follow it. Of course we let everyone inside, but you can see it. It also happened to me that one of my friends came in a sweatshirt five years ago. My former companion Mimino yelled at him like a little brat, and a year later this guy and his whole table came with tommy guns, evening gowns, bow ties, they had real slick suits. And then he admitted it himself that it had been embarrassing to be there in a sweatshirt.
It's still a sport…
It's a sporting event, the sport happens in the ring. Decent clothes are part of it.
Mimino (Mirek Pek, martial arts promoter, editor's note) played a big role in Lucerna. Can you reiterate what happened?
It was a man, a friend I did boxing with, we used to go to the same gym, and we once decided we'd do a gala, and then it turned into Lucerna. It was a classic challenge. We got sponsors, he took care of the sports part, that is, the startlist, titles, belts, what the prize will be, and so on.
In 2017, we were together in Žluté lázně and unfortunately most insiders know what happened. Mimino got hit by a car. It never occurred to anyone that the car might kill him, but unfortunately it turned out that after a month in a medically induced coma, he died. We were wondering what we'd do next. But we grit our teeth and pressed on for Mimino. Another part fell on us, that is the sports part. But of course the boys wanted to still box there, they were also helpful because of what happened, so it made it easier for us from all sides, and Lucerna happened even when we thought it would be very difficult.
What about women? Boxing is a tough sport after all. Are there a lot of women?
Among the audience?
It's definitely half and half. I think girls like the sport for many reasons. (smile)
You used to box yourself, how is it with you now?
Now it is such that I can't put on my shoes anymore, I can't clip my toenails and I can't do some other things anymore, so I definitely can't box anymore. (laughter)
Don't you feel sorry?
Sometimes I train myself and other people. I feel terribly sorry that I'm not boxing anymore, but what I haven't observed for thirty years, no rehabilitation, injections of mesocaine for pain so I can go do something the next day, it's all coming back to bite me now. Then stress gets added into it, and the body's nearly shutting down.
Do you feel that thanks to your name and fame, all this is doing well, that Lucerna works out?
In twenty years I have built some standing, I have a TV show about martial arts, I host boxing. People write to me on Facebook, and either gush, tell me to go to hell or consult with me. It is clear that it helps, just as Ondra Novotný is the face of the Octagon, although there are other people, there is also a team behind me. But I'm the one who can be seen, who can probably push the event through in the media, talk about it into the microphone. I won't let people talk me out of anything. When I'm hosting the boxing in Poděbrady, I will talk about Lucerna, no one can stop me.
Your mother is a famous painter and actress, what does she think about this?
At first, of course, she didn't understand it at all, she couldn't get into it. Then she went to see the Lantern event, I talked her into it. She was observing the dress code, a dress with a fox pelt around her neck. She found out that even these boys, boxers on this level, will come to her, say hello, want to take a picture with her, greet her, because maybe they like her art. She was very surprised, because she lived in the belief that they were just morons, which is the idea of most people. She found out that these people are generally fun, nice, decent, humble, and she even talks to some of them some more, looking forward to seeing them. She keeps coming and enjoys it. She tells me that I found my calling in it, that she watched a show, even though she doesn't understand it at all. Even on TV, I only play boxers, enforcers, Ukrainians.
Did you and your mom work together on a series?
It's unbelievable, but we haven't. I think I've been in all the series we have here, but I haven't worked with mom. I'm quite bummed out about that. The last time we worked together was on The Inseparable Five, but I was fifteen.
How can you detach yourself from boxing and relax?
I'll sound a little gay, but I do gardening. I found myself in it. I get up in the morning and pick up the snails. Or early in the morning, at three o'clock, but I have a headlamp which I use for light. I'll take salad scissors and hunt snails with them. At 6am I go out to water the garden, at eight I go to the gardening store for plants, so I can plant them, and then from 9am on I function normally, but I'm already done with the garden.
What about your sons, do they like boxing too? Do they also support your gardening?
It comes with age. I bought Adam a catalpa, he sent me photos of how he planted it. So Adam is already caught. He also tried out a boxing match for a big event. I crossed him out as being fine. He had a child, planted a catalpa and boxed a match, these are the basic rules a guy should have. The other just went to his prom, he does boxing too, and I'll make him plant that tree. The third one is a student who doesn't quite like boxing. This does not mean that he would disregard it completely, but he is definitely not a supporter of boxing. He participates in Lucerna every year.
When the Lucerna goes according to plan this year, when will you finally breathe a sigh of relief?
When the golden confetti spills out at the end, all of us on the production team will have a toast backstage. Then I will google where they have the cheapest rhododendrons so that I can plant flowers on January 1. Although I won't plant much stuff in January. (laughs) Usually, from January 3, we'd be working on graphics for the next year and so on. The preparations really do take a year.