Buakaw Bests the Best at World Max 2004 Final
TOKYO, July 7, 2004 -- A seemingly undefeatable Buakaw "Por Pramuk" of Thailand kicked his way past two tough opponents, then upset defending Champion Masato in the final to win the K-1 World Max 2004 Championship at Yoyogi Olympic Gymnasium in downtown Tokyo. The 22 year-old Buakaw becomes the first-ever Thai K-1 Champ, and takes home 10 million yen in prize money for the feat.
K-1 Max Press Conference
TOKYO, July 6, 2004 -- Some 200 people packed a press conference at the Shin Takanawa Hotel today as eight fighters from seven countries met Japanese and international media in advance of the 2004 K-1 World Max 2004 Final. The event takes place Wednesday, July 7, at Yoyogi Olympic Gymnasium in downtown Tokyo.
Now in its third year, the K-1 World Max features fights contested under K-1 Rules. The 70kg weigh class delivers the fast-paced action that has made World Max a fan favorite around the globe.
Tomorrow's Final will be a traditional K-1 eight-man elimination tournament. The fighter who scores three wins to get through will be crowned K-1 World Max 2004 Champion and take home 10 million yen in prize money.
The first quarterfinal will see Takayuki Kohiruimaki, who won the World Max Japan Tournament this February, taking on the hard-hitting Mike Zambidis of Greece. At the weigh-in today, Kohiruimaki tipped the scales at 70.25kg, and under K-1 rules was given one hour to dispose of the extra weight, which he accomplished with a lot of sweat, returning at 69.9kg.
In the second matchup, 22 year-old Muay Thai fighter Buakaw Por Pramuk of Thailand will meet Australian John Wayne Parr, who looked very tough in defeating Duane Ludwig this April. Parr was confident here, predicting he would win three fights with three knockouts to capture the Championship.
The third quarterfinal will pit defending World Max Champion Masato of Japan against 28 year-old Mongolian karate fighter Jadamba Narantungalag. Masato has become something of a teen idol in Japan, and is undefeated in eight World Max matches dating back to his loss against Albert Kraus in the 2002 Final. When asked if he would bring any secret strategy into the ring against Masato, Narantungalag smiled and said, "Yes, I have a secret strategy, but if I told you then it would no longer be secret!"
The last quarterfinal will feature Albert Kraus, and the handsome young Dutchman's opponent will be Russian Muay Thai fighter Shamil Gaydarbekov. Speaking in Japanese to the delight of the crowd, Kraus promised he would do his best to take the World Max Championship back to Holland for a second time.
All-American Duane Ludwig and acrobatic Turk Serkan Yilmaz will meet in what promises to be an entertaining reserve match.
There will also be a "K-1 Special Mixed Rules" four-round bout featuring Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto and Kazuya Yasuhiro. In this contest only, the fighters will wear open-finger gloves throughout and alternate rounds between K-1 and ROMANEX Rules.
The 2004 K-1 World Max 2004 Final starts at 5:30 pm Japan time and will be broadcast in Japan on the TBS network. Check the K-1 Official website (www.k-1.co.jp) for complete coverage soon after the final bell.
Special thanks to Monte Dipietro and K-1 for this write-up.
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