LAS VEGAS, April 28, 2004 -- With just two days to go before the Battle at the Bellagio II on April 30, it is clear that K-1 loves Las Vegas, and Las Vegas loves K-1.
One man stood out in the crowd
K-1 Tryouts a Terrific Success
They came by car and bus, and they came by airplane. They came from small towns and big cities from all across the North American continent.
They brought their trunks, their trainers, and they brought their dreams to the Bellagio Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip, for an unprecedented three days of K-1 Open Tryouts.
Some 70 would be K-1 fighters showed the organization their best stuff, and when it was all over, K-1 was impressed.
"The average age was about 25, and a lot of them had a Muay Thai background," said K-1 USA's Bradley Duong, who helped process the hopefuls. They had to contact K-1 to book a spot, then do some paperwork and come on down and sign a waiver. But most also arrived with a package with bios, stats, pictures and even DVDs. It was impressive how serious they were!"
Each fighter was asked to speak to a video camera, to frame them telegenically and to provide a glimpse into their character. They then shadowboxed under the watchful eyes of K-1 USA and Japan officials. There was also some work with pads, and limited sparring. Afterwards, each participant was invited to share any other skills they had.
While most used this last opportunity to run kata or demonstrate additional striking attacks, Canadian Andrew McMichael elected instead to do an impersonation of Marilyn Monroe. To the great amusement of all in the room, the 20 year-old purred his version of "Happy Birthday Mister President," in a suitably coquettish voice, into the ear of Gary Goodridge's girlfriend Susie.
McMichael (166cm, 95kg) has eight years of wrestling experience and has been working on Muay Thai to develop his striking. He describes his style as "I'm going to knock your head off!" His singing can be described as, well, "inspired."
An exciting time, and K-1 was pleasantly surprised with the overall fight skill levels exhibited at the tryouts, particularly in the World Max (under 70kg) class. The organization will be pursuing discussions with selected fighters, and hopes to make an announcement regarding this in the near future.
Special thanks to Monte Dipietro and K-1 for this write-up.
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