NIIGATA, March 14, 2004 -- Bob Sapp overpowered Dolgorsuren Sumiyabazar in the Main Event, and the local boys swept a series of "Japan vs The World" bouts at the Japan Special K-1 Beast 2004 in Niigata. The old port of Niigata, on Japan's western coastline, is the hometown of legendary wrestler Giant Baba. On this day, it played host to a K-1 event featuring eight bouts -- four fought under regular K-1 Rules (3Rx3min), four under K-1 MMA Rules (3Rx5min).
Sapp Set for Niigata
NIIGATA, March 13, 2004 -- Bob Sapp is more than ready for his next fight -- the Beast is prepared, it would appear, to take on the entire Mongolian nation. In a press conference in advance of the K-1 Japan Special Beast 2004 in Niigata, Sapp not only promised The snow-swept port of Niigata, on Japan's western coastline, is the hometown of legendary wrestler Giant Baba. Tomorrow, it will play host to a K-1 event featuring eight bouts -- four fought under regular K-1 Rules (3Rx3min), four under K-1 MMA Rules (3Rx5min).
The Main Event here is an MMA matchup between Sapp and Dolgorsuren Sumiyabazar of Mongolia. Dolgorsuren, a two-time freestyle wrestling Olympian, is a brother of current Sumo Yokozuna (Grand Champion) Asashouryu.
Sapp first explained how he would use the smaller and lighter MMA gloves to outpunch Dolgorsuren, and then threw the gauntlet at the entire Sumiyabazar clan: "After I beat him up tomorrow, I wonder if his Sumo Champ brother will fight me? Or maybe his pro-wrestler brother, the Blue Wolf, who is more like the big chicken?" At that point, Blue Wolf himself stepped up from the audience to respond: "Shut up, Sapp! You will be KO'd tomorrow!"
With several members of Team Beast moved in to hold Sapp back, Wolf kept up the tirade. "You may have Team Beast, but tomorrow you'll see that Team Mongolia is stronger!"
In other scheduled K-1 MMA Rules action, Canadian K-1 veteran Michael McDonald will get down with Brazilian wrestler Lyoto of the Antonio Inoki group. A perennial contender, McDonald appeared both dapper and confident at the press conference: "It will be my first MMA fight tomorrow, and I'm very excited and will do my very best."
Said a polite Lyoto, "It is my K1 debut, and I will do my best."
Another K-1 veteran, Australian Sam Greco, will go up against ex-NFLer Stefan Gamlin of Germany. "My wife had a baby two weeks ago, and this fight is dedicated to the baby, and that's why I will win it," explained Greco. Replied Gamlin, who is still looking for his first victory in the K-1 ring, "While I respect Sam Greco, I came here to win."
The card's much-anticipated penultimate MMA bout will feature Belorussian superstar Alexy Ignashov and American wrestler Steve "Dr Death" Williams. "I'm happy to be back in Japan," smiled Ignashov, "and I'll show my best to the fans in Niigata."
The K-1 Rules bouts here will follow the Japan vs The World format.
Masaki Miyamoto, Bob Sapp's trainer, promised to show the "Samurai spirit" in his bout with Cliff "Twin Tyson" Courser. The cocky Courser claims to be Mike Tyson's half brother: "But I'm stronger than my brother, and faster." Courser also said he was hungry: "So hungry, I may even bite off Miyamoto's ear -- but I'd rather just knock him out."
Japanese karate fighter Tsuyoshi Nakasako, who has lost five in row dating back to September 2002, will try to turn it around against German wrestler Maverick. Nakasako has an eight centimeter height advantage over Maverick, and a lot more experience. The scrappy Maverick is just happy to be here. "I want to thank the K-1 organization for allowing a street fighter to enter their prestigious event," he said.
Tough Tatsufumi Tomihira will take on Czech kickboxer Petr Vondracek. Tomihira is a very tough competitor, while Vondracek was the fighter of the night last month in Okinawa, where he owned Nobu Hayashi, scoring three quick downs en route to a first round KO.
Said Vondracek, "I'm sure I'll be the better fighter tomorrow." Although this will be Tomihira's first bout in six months, he said he felt ready. "It's good to be back, and good to meet an exciting fighter like Vondracek."
Another never-say-die Japanese fighter, Hiromi Amada, will step in against corpulent combatant Butterbean in what promises to be a crowd pleaser. As usual, the rotund American outweighs his opponent, in this case by some 80kg. But can he get inside on the quick Amada, and can he stay out of the way of those Amada rights?
"I respect Butterbean," said Amada, "but the winner gets the paycheck, and I need the money to feed my children." Quipped Butterbean, "I need to feed my children too, and my children are much bigger than yours, so I'll be taking home that prize, thank you!"
In an undercard fight, American MMA veteran Ivan Salaverry will meet Mongolian Haliun Boldbaatar in his K-1 debut. Haliun said at the press conference that he was "100% sure he would win the fight."
The official matchups and more fighter stats can be found here:
The K-1 Japan Special Beast 2004 in Niigata will be held at the Toki Niigata Messe Convention Center. The event starts at 3 p.m. Japan time (01h00EST, 06h00GMT) on Sunday March 14. Check the K-1 Official Website (www.k-1.co.jp) for full coverage soon after the final bell.
Special thanks to Monte Dipietro and K-1 for this write-up.
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