Music is an essential source of motivation for many athletes, and Serbian kickboxing sensation Rade Opacic is no different.
The colossal striker will return for a heavyweight clash against Albanian beast Francesko Xhaja at ONE: ONLY THE BRAVE on Friday, 28 January – and he’ll likely be listening to some rap and hip-hop before entering the Circle.
He’s been a fan of the genres since the early 2010s when he became familiar with North American artists as a teenager living in the continent.
“I was in Canada for some years when I was young, and, at that time, I used to listen to hip-hop and rap,” Opacic recalls.
“French Montana, Drake, Lil’ Wayne. All those kinds of [rappers] I used to listen to.”
When he moved back to Serbia, the European striker’s taste stayed the same, but his attention shifted away from American music and toward artists from his homeland.
“Now, I stick more to Serbian rap music that people probably haven’t heard of,” he says.
“That’s what I like when I train, when I’m in the car, it doesn’t matter where.”
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Though he stays away from Belgrade’s buzzing nightlife while he’s preparing for a bout, the 24-year-old slugger enjoys catching some live music between his intense training camps.
“I have a lot of friends here. But when it’s times like these [preparing for ONE: ONLY THE BRAVE], I’m like a soldier – training twice a day, recovery, sleep – so I’m all about that,” Opacic says.
“When the fight finishes, we can go out. People here like to not just party, but to enjoy the music, to enjoy being with other friends.”
Opacic is a fan of music and the enjoyment that it brings, but his soldier mentality kicks in when it comes to choosing the most important track of all for a fighter – the walkout song.
For this, he recently channeled his inner warrior and walked to the Circle guided by the famous Serbian war song “Hriste Boze,” which centers around setting off to leave everything on the battlefield.
“That was my walkout song in the last fight against Patrick Schmid. It’s an old Serbian song that Serbian armies sing before going to war,” the heavyweight explains.
“It’s really pumped up music that [makes you feel like] it doesn’t matter who’s in front of you, you’re going to go and try to hurt him.”
The song is not day-to-day listening for the KBKS representative – as it’s just too powerful – but when the time is right, it really hits the spot.
“I don’t listen to it all the time,” Opacic adds. “But when you hear it, it really pumps you up and gives you motivation for training, for fights, for anything.”