A Mr Zaratsu Interview With Jeferson Oliveira

Updated: Nov 27, 2020

By Daniel Yong

One of the reasons why I love our hobby is because we get to meet the most interesting individuals. My friend Jeferson, is more than just an interesting individual, he is one who inspires me to be a better person. And boy is he more than qualified to do so, the guy's a professional Muay Thai fighter and world champion. In order to be successful in these types of combat sports (or isolated sports in general such as tennis and boxing), one needs to be sharp mentally and physically. I knew I had to tap into his brain and get him to share some tips for the rest of us. Oh and don't worry, we talk about watches too!

Hey Jeferson! Could you please let the Mr Z readers know a bit about who you are?

Hi brother, my name is Jeferson Oliveira also known as Jeferson Vulpe. I am a professional Muay Thai fighter and Coach from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and currently I live in Hong Kong.

Muay Thai has obviously become a big part of your life, how did you decide that this sport was for you?

In fact, Muay Thai was not my first choice, as I kid I got involved into street fights and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) was very popular so I wanted to learn a martial art to protect myself, after doing some research I wanted to learn a Russian martial art called Sambo, but there was not a single teacher in Brazil at the time, so I went for my second interest which Muay Thai and been doing it since.

What's been the biggest highlight of your combat sports career so far?

Well, in my eyes there has been more than one. Being main event at the most prestigious Muay Thai stadium on the planet, Lumpinee Stadium was definitely one.

As well as winning my World Title back in 2014. Another arguably major highlight in my career was a victory I had in a fight back in 2015 in a show called Max Muay Thai where I did a particular kick and the highlights of this kick still do the rounds on internet today.

During a pandemic where physical distancing has become the norm, what are your thoughts on physical and mental wellbeing? Do you also have any tips for someone starting out on their fitness journey?

For me physical and mental wellbeing now is more important than ever, it’s sad to see so many people struggle with it at the moment. Being physically fit can actively help to protect you from being infected with COVID, and being mentally fit helps you deal with all the massive amount of challenges 2020 has brought into everyone’s lives so far.

You've recently started a gym, could you talk to us about that?

Yes I have joined with two work colleagues and we recently opened a new gym in Hong Kong called THE GYM. Our main service is 1-1 personal training, and we have a selection of world class coaches ranging from a Muay Thai World Champion (myself) to the Captain of Hong Kong Valley Rugby team. We have specialised coaches in performance, weight loss, body composition and I also go beyond that offering advices to clients in and out the mats.

Okay, as much as I'd love to talk about Muay Thai and fitness, Mr Z is for the major part, a watch blog so let's talk about watches. How did you get into the hobby?

I was always fascinated about watches since I can remember, but my overall knowledge was very superficial. I couldn’t tell the difference from a mechanical or automatic watch from a Quartz but I always owned a watch and had the interest in the back on my head.

After moving to Hong Kong, which is a city with a great watch culture, really 90% of people across all age groups wear a watch, I decided to dig more into it and get my first “real” watch. After months and months of research, learning, comparing, trying watches and money saving, I’ve made a decision and settled for the IWC Pilots Watch.

After that purchase in 2016 I got the watch bug and haven’t stopped since.

Which watches mean the most to you and why?

I’ve had a really big of rotation of watches, but I have only one that I would never sell or trade. Which is my IWC MARK XV Pilots Watch. I am still in the process of finding “the perfect” collection as my watch taste changes and develop.

Finally, outside of Muay Thai and watches, how do you unwind from your schedule?

In all honesty, I don’t do much, I’m either teaching/training or I am spending time with my daughter. Raising her and seeing her grow is my favourite thing to do, whenever I have free time I play with the watches. I also enjoy playing my Nintendo switch when I get home from work and done putting my daughter to bed.

Follow Jeferson on Instagram @jefersonno1 and @thegymhk where he trains alongside many other experts.

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