Koen Mazoudier to be rapped to the ring by Chillinit for Gallen-Hodges boxing match

In 2020, boxer Koen Mazoudier checked into a mental health facility. On Wednesday, the man whose music helped him through that tough time will rap him to the ring as he fights on the Gallen-Hodges undercard.

A lot of people asked Koen Mazoudier that question towards the end of 2019.

Coming off the first loss of his professional career in November that year, the Blacktown-based boxer was, in his own words, “doing a lot of dumb shit.”

“Dumb shit” included “eating edibles and doing different drugs” in the week before that loss to Luke Woods, and his consumption only sky-rocketed afterwards.

People don’t believe him when he describes what he was taking back then, and even he seems shocked at the level it reached.

“People ask me why. I was just trying to feel better, I guess,” he said later.

The lowest point came in early 2020.

His drug use was rampant and he fell into a depression.

Help was called but, when authorities discovered he was a professional boxer, eight police officers arrived at his house. Mazoudier was not violent, nor a threat to anyone but himself, but officers nonetheless came brandishing pepper spray and batons, just in case, and took him away in the back of a paddy wagon.

“It was a jail for violently mentally ill people,” Mazoudier says. “I was just in a really awful place.”

Support from his parents and partner, medication and his own inner drive helped him through what he says was his nadir.

Mazoudier also turned to music.

Sydney rapper Chillinit was a particular source of inspiration, advice and comfort.

“Listening to his music helped me understand his journey and I reached out to him when I was going through my mental health shit,” he says.

“He saw me fight and saw me walking out to his music, and he’s become a fan of mine in a way.

“We have that mutual respect.”

The pair stayed in touch via social media, and on Wednesday night, Chillinit – whose combined Spotify streams and YouTube views reach well into the hundreds of millions – will rap Mazoudier to the ring for his rematch with Wade Ryan at the Convention Center in Sydney.

A Hurstville local, Chillinit – real name Blake Turnell – is a former apprentice sparky who’s raw, sometimes controversial music skyrocketed him to international acclaim since his debut album in 2018.

His background and his story share some similarities with Mazoudier’s.

After releasing a pair of double-platinum hits in 2018, the rapper developed a debilitating cocaine habit and entered rehab.

“He’s a local boy from Hurstville and he’s a mega star now,” Mazoudier says.

“It made me realize that what I was going through was normal, and on the other side of it is the riches and everything I can achieve if I get through it.

“It just started with me messaging him, thanking him for his music and we’ve kept in touch from there.”

A Bulldogs fan and fight sport fanatic, Chillinit regularly name drops footy players and cricket icons into his music, with everyone from Shane Warne, Don Bradman, Clive Churchill, Kalyn Ponga, Scott Sattler and Hazem el Masri getting a run.

His connection to the local scene is part of what resonates for Mazoudier.

“I remember a period in my career going, ‘How can I make it when there’s all these Mexican fighters sleeping in a room of 10 people and everything’, but when you see people from local areas doing it – and doing it in a similar way to you, or going through similar things to you – it makes you believe in it a little bit more,” he says.

“I think that was the connection with Chillinit.”

On Wednesday, Chillinit will perform Overkill, which has a heavy football influence, including references to Mark Viduka, Luka Modric, Zinedine Zidane and Robert Lewandowski.

It will be a big moment in a hugely anticipated rematch for Mazoudier. His first fight with Ryan in Newcastle in March, 2021 was one of the best fights of the year. Ryan earned a hard-fought 10th round TKO win, but Mazoudier has since beaten Joel Camilleri twice, and is intent on making up for him’s second loss of his career.

“I probably copped more physical damage in that fight than in any other fight in my whole career,” he says. “The amount of head shots and round the back of the head shots – as well as the legal punches he landed – I remember looking in the mirror after that fight, vomiting because I was concussed and thinking I might have to go to the hospital. I’d never thought that before.”

It was a setback, but nothing compared to where he was just a little over a year earlier.

“Emotionally, it was upsetting,” he says. “But I’ve taken so many lessons from it.”

Brendan Bradford

Brendan BradfordContent producer

Brendan Bradford is a sports writer for CODE Sports. He primarily covers combat sports, league, union, cycling and athletics. Brendan has worked in sports media for a decade, covering world title fights, World Cups, Grand Slams and Spring Tours.

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