Stephen Tapilatu

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Stephen Tapilatu
Stephen Tapilatu, Dutch taekwondo champion.jpg
Personal information
Nickname(s)The Dragon
Born (1972-03-17) March 17, 1972 (age 46)
Groningen, Netherlands
CountryThe Netherlands
SportTaekwondo, MMA, kickboxing
ClubTeam Tapilatu
TeamGolden Glory (MMA)
Now coachingNational team, ITF Netherlands
Achievements and titles
World finalsCanada 1990, Malaysia 1994
Regional finals1990 Davos, 1992 Koszalin
Updated on 8 February 2013.

Stephen Tapilatu (born March 17, 1972 in Groningen) is a prominent Dutch martial artist who has achieved success at the highest level primarily in ITF but also in WTF taekwondo. He began taekwondo at the age of 8 under the tutelage of his black belt father, Wijnand Tapilatu. He became ITF World Champion in 1990 and 1994[1] and won two European titles, in 1990 and 1992.[1] In 1991 he won a silver medal at the WTF World Championship in Athens.[2] Tapilatu fought his way to victory in the prestigious King of Taekwondo competition in Tokyo, Japan, in 1995 and 1996.[3]

After completing his taekwondo career he took up kickboxing and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), notably challenging leading figures including Dutch karate champion Ronny Rivano, Brian Lo-An-Joe[4] and the former kickboxing world champion Perry Ubeda. From 1999 to 2008 he was a member of Team Golden Glory,[5] alongside one of the most successful fighters of all time: Semmy Schilt.

Stephen Tapilatu is a member of a large and successful taekwondo family headed by his father Master Wijnand Tapilatu, who was a member of the winning Dutch team that took the 1984 World Taekwondo Championship. His sister Bianca and his cousins Django and Patiparu have also won many ITF titles. Bianca Tapilatu is married to Tomaž Barada, three times ITF World Champion and six times ITF European champion.

He retired from competitive martial arts in 2008. Since that time he has taught taekwondo with his father at Tapilatu's sport center in his home town of Groningen, the Netherlands. He is also much in demand as a personal trainer, and in 2012 played a key role in the return to form of the footballer Género Zeefuik, who began his career at Ajax and currently plays for FC Groningen.[6][7]

Stephen Tapilatu was appointed national coach of ITF Netherlands in November 2012.[8]

On 7 November 2015 Tapilatu was promoted to the rank of 6th Dan black belt, joining an elite group of only 8 other ITF taekwondo practitioners currently holding this rank in the Netherlands.[9]

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Win 3-2-2 Chico Martinez Decision (unanimous) Rings Holland: The Untouchables September 27, 2003 2 5:00 Utrecht, Netherlands
Draw 2-2-2 Furdjel de Windt Draw BOTN 1: Battle of the North 1 April 27, 2003 0 0:00 Thialf, Heerenveen, Netherlands
Loss 2-2-1 Ronny Rivano TKO (leg injury) 2H2H 4: Simply the Best 4 March 17, 2002 0 N/A Rotterdam, South Holland, Netherlands
Win 2-1-1 Brian Lo-A-Njoe Decision (unanimous) Rings Holland: Some Like It Hard December 2, 2001 2 5:00 Utrecht, Netherlands
Loss 1-1-1 Ronny Rivano Submission (rear-naked choke) 2H2H 3: Hotter Than Hot October 7, 2001 1 4:19 Rotterdam, South Holland, Netherlands
Win 1-0-1 Jeffrey Heijm Decision (unanimous) Rings Holland: Di Capo Di Tutti Capi June 4, 2000 2 5:00 Utrecht, Netherlands
Draw 0-0-1 Brian Lo-A-Njoe Draw Rings Holland: The Thialf Explosion October 24, 1998 0 0:00 Heerenveen, Netherlands


  1. ^ a b "Stephen Tapilatu – Netherlands". Retrieved 2013-12-30.
  2. ^ "WTF". WTF. 1991-11-03. Retrieved 2013-12-30.
  3. ^ "Stephen Tapilatu – Nederland". 2010-11-05. Retrieved 2013-12-30.
  4. ^ "Rings Holland: Some Like it Hard Results (Official)". 2001-12-02. Retrieved 2013-12-30.
  5. ^ "Stephen Tapilatu (3-2-1) Official Mixed Martial Arts Fighter Profile". Retrieved 2013-12-30.
  6. ^  . "FC Groningen: Maaskant over Zeefuik: 'De kracht spat ervan af'". Retrieved 2013-12-30.
  7. ^ "Género Zeefuik terug met dank aan taekwondokampioen - NDC|VBK - De Krant van Toen". Retrieved 2013-12-30.
  8. ^ "Commissies » ITF Nederland". Retrieved 2013-12-30.
  9. ^ "Danhouders ITF Nederland » ITF Nederland". Retrieved 2015-11-07.