TOKYO, July 20, 2005 -- Twenty-two year-old Andy Souwer of Holland turned aside three fighters -- beating Defending Champion Buakaw Por Pramuk of Thailand in the final -- to win the K-1 World Max 05 Championship today at the Yokohama Arena. With his victory, Souwer pockets a cool 10 million yen (90,000 US dollars / 75,000 Euros) in prize money.
K-1 Veterans are Heroes in Tokyo
TOKYO, July 6, 2005 -- Following on the success of the inaugural "Hero's" mixed martial arts event at Japan's Saitama Super Arena last year, K-1 this year supported Hero's second incarnation, which was held today at the Yoyogi Olympic Complex in downtown Tokyo.
Of special interest to K-1 fans was the presence on the card of three elite K-1 fighters. American Bob Sapp was here, as were a couple of K-1 veterans making their mixed martial arts debuts -- three-time World GP Champion Peter Aerts of Holland and Ray Sefo of New Zealand.
Bob Sapp uses his superior strength (and new-found stamina) to compete equally well under K-1 or mixed martial arts rules -- on this night he faced Russian fighter Alan Karaev.
The bout started with both men swinging hard and fast, and they soon tumbled to the mat with the Russian on top. There was no abundance of grace in the grappling that ensued. After the referee called a break and with the pair resuming from a standing position, Sapp fired in a left straight punch that connected with Karaev's nose and flattened him. The Russian lay there helpless, bringing in the referee and giving Sapp the victory.
"I used the straight punch more tonight," said Sapp post-bout, "and I have a few other things I will show my fans in future bouts. Get ready for the 'Beast Hurricane'!"
Ray Sefo, meanwhile, stepped in against Korean fighter Min Soo Kim. This bout was fought under special rules, three rounds of three minutes each, with any strike causing a down resulting in a count.
Sefo's strategy here was to stay on his feet and punch, and with the lighter gloves this proved effective in the first as he pelted Kim, who could get the takedown he wanted until the bell ending the round. In the second, the Kiwi again controlled the distance, and early in clocked Kim with a right for a down. Kim beat the count, but after resumption Sefo pumped the fist in again to down his opponent again and cement the victory in convincing fashion.
"I'm going to do this [mixed martial arts] again, for sure," said a satisfied Sefo in his interview afterward, "and I want to try more interesting stuff next time."
Peter Aerts faced a big opponent in his bout -- Japanese former Sumo wrestler Wakashoyo outweighs the Dutch Lumberjack by about 40kg (90lbs).
Aerts threw a number of strikes in the early going, but Wakashoyo was able to execute a throw from the clinch and end up on top when the two went to the mat. Aerts proved capable in his guard though, forcing a stalemate and a resumption from the standing position. This time Aerts came in fast with a right punch that dropped Wakashoyo. With the big guy laid out helplessly, Aerts moved forward and put in another punch. With no indication of a defensive potential on Wakashoyo's part, the referee quickly stepped in to stop the fight and Aerts had the victory.
"This style is more aggressive," laughed Aerts later. "I knocked him down and for a moment I was confused -- I thought, 'Oh, so I have to continue now'! Being on the ground was not a problem, I blocked and he couldn't hit me in the face. I'd love to try it again sometime!"
No stranger to K-1 or mixed martial arts, the explosive Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto of Japan took on multidisciplinary fighter Ian Schaffa of Australia in the night's final fight.
The Kid started in with kicks, and Schaffa countered with punches. The two stayed on their feet most of the first, trading good hard punches and kicks, but in the late going Schaffa ended up on his back, defending with bicycle kicks against the Kid's attempts to pass with punches. The second was much the same, the pair standing and striking, both scoring points while avoiding the knock-down blow. The Kid threw more kicks, while Schaffa wanted the winning punch. Midway through they went to the mat, and although it looked at first like the Kid might take a good position, Schaffa worked for a lock-up that went to the bell. In the third the Kid got the chance he was looking for, stunning his opponent with a big right uppercut then dropping him with a right-left punch combination and moving in with a vicious stomp to force a stoppage and take the win.
Post-bout, the Kid revealed his secret weapon: garlic. "I caught a bad cold about ten days ago," said the Japanese fighter, "and I could hardly breathe. So I took some garlic shots to get my condition up, and they worked! I had planned to go to the mat more but it didn't work out that way, anyway I won and I am happy with that."
In other action on the card:
Brazilian Rodrigo Gracie beat Kiuma Kunioku of Japan by unanimous decision; former Asian Judo Champion Yoshihiro Akiyama of Japan worked an armbar to submit Aussie Muay Thai fighter Carl "Tombstone" Toomey in the first round of their bout; and Akira "Killer Bee" Kikuchi of Japan used fists to brutalize compatriot Katsuya Inoue from a rear mount position and win in the first round of their one-sided contest.
Japanese fighter Hiroyuki Takaya put in a hard right hook then jumped on the stunned Swede Jani Lax to get the referee stop and record a victory; Kazuyuki Miyata of Japan submitted Shamil Gaydarbekov of Russia with a sleeper; and Remigijus Morkevicius of Lithuania smacked a devastating left in on the cheek of Japanese fighter Takehiro Murahama to down the Japanese fighter, then moved in with a second left to force a stoppage and take the win.
Judges scored Brazilian Alexandre Franca Nogueira and Japanese fighter Hideo Tokoro's bout a draw after three. But the aggressive Tokoro connected with a spinning back punch early into the extra round, then followed up with a flurry of punches on his downed opponent. The referee stepped in to stop the punishment, giving Tokoro the upset win to the delight of the partisan crowd.
And in a fight that stayed almost entirely on the mat, mixed martial arts legend Royler Gracie of Brazil (who turns 40 this year) weathered Japanese challenger Koji Yoshida's hard punches while working his superior grappling techniques to earn a unanimous decision.
A boisterous crowd of 10,697 filled the Yoyogi Olympic Complex for the Hero's event, which was supported by K-1 and FEG.
Special thanks to Monte Dipietro and K-1 for this review.
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