TOKYO, March 26, 2004 -- Musashi overcame a volley of foul blows to beat Akebono, Ernest Hoost effortlessly turned aside Xhavit Bajrami, and Bob Sapp scored a strange victory over Seth Petruzelli at the K-1 World Grand Prix 2004 in Saitama today.
SAPPORO, July 30, 2006-- Brazilian Kyokushin Karate fighter Glaube Feitosa used his fists to score a late down and vanquish Seidokaikan stylist Musashi of Japan in the Main Event today at the K-1 Revenge 2006 WGP in Sapporo.
Held at the Sapporo 1972 Winter Olympics' Arena, the event featured four "Revenge" matches providing an opportunity for fighters who had lost against a particular opponent over the last couple of K-1 GP seasons to step up and try to even the score.
As Japan's best K-1 fighter, Musashi hoped to exact payback from Feitosa in their showdown. Feitosa beat Musashi in the semis of the WGP Tokyo Dome Final in 2005, ending Musashi's run for glory with a second-round KO.
Intensity cut through the air in the hot and humid Makomanai Arena, and the bout was smart and quick from the start, both fighters good with low kicks through the first -- Feitosa in particular creative, sailing a high kick up that Musashi deftly ducked, then just missing with an axe kick.
Musashi went with fists in the second, working the body blows and closing with straight punches, Feitosa responding in kind. Both of course also fired in low kicks, but blocking was sound and no damage sustained.
The third provided the most exciting action on the day -- Feitosa starting with a hefty right hook, then chasing his opponent round the ring with kicks. Musashi got some punches in on the counter, but increasingly the Brazilian was assuming control. A Feitosa right uppercut marked the beginning of the end for Musashi, who was shaken and could not recompose. Feitosa pumped in body blows, and when Musashi's guard relaxed, threw up the high and axe kicks. Musashi was able to elude these, but suffered when Feitosa reverted again to punches, scoring with a second uppercut.
Sensing he was down on points, Musashi bravely undertook a late rally, connecting with a left punch. But this attack strategy left him open to counters, and Feitosa picked his spot expertly, dropping the flailing Japanese fighter with a right hook to finish the round. A unanimous decision for Feitosa.
"I think my training with Ray Sefo in Tokyo over the last two months has helped improve my boxing," said Feitosa in his post-bout interview. "But Musashi's boxing is also better now, and his defense is always tight, so I am happy I could get the late down, or else the fight might have gone to an extra round."
In another revenge match, this one actually a double revenge affair, American-Japanese former Sumo Grand Champion Akebono took on Korean behemoth Hong-Man Choi, who had prevailed in both of the pair's previous bouts.
The two stalked one another throughout this one, Akebono testing with the jab, Choi better with a right straight punch midway through the first and a flying knee, which landed on Akebono's chest, at the clapper.
Unfortunately, Akebono never found a way to get past Choi's reach. In the second the Korean pounded in a left punch that stunned Akebono, then followed with a hard right straight and a little left tap to drop his opponent and pick up the KO win.
Said Choi from the winners' circle: "I decided I wanted to win it in the second round, and by KO because that is the best way to win! So I'm happy!"
Back at the WGP 2005 in Las Vegas, American Mighty Mo clocked then-WGP Champion Remy Bonjasky with a right hook to notch an upset victory. Bonjasky had a chance to even things out here, and while he didn't get a KO or score a down, he was clearly the better man in the ring.
Mo barreled in with body blows to start this one, but Bonjasky's blocking was good and he connected with a number of low kicks. The Dutchman didn't find his form in the first, and Mo kept things close with more tight hooks in the second -- Bonjasky coolly answering with right low kicks. Now, finesse was starting to get the better of brawn, as Mo's left leg was clearly stinging.
In the third once again, Mo got in and pumped at the body while Bonjasky worked the low kicks. Although Mo attempted a couple of low kicks himself, Bonjasky showed a better switch game when he went with the fists. Finally, at the clapper, Bonjasky unleashed a couple of his spectacular flying knee attacks -- Mo was ready and the effect was negligible. Easy to call this one, a unanimous decision for Bonjasky.
"They called this a 'revenge' fight," said Bonjasky afterwards, "but for me it was more of a 'return' fight. After personal problems last year such as splitting with my trainer and a divorce from my wife, I now feel that I am finally mentally ready to get back my title!"
The fourth revenge match saw Peter Aerts of Holland step in against Gary Goodridge of Trinidad and Tobago. It was Aerts by KO in Nagoya the last time these two met, back in June 2004 -- the lumberjack whacking out one of Goodridge's teeth en route to the win. Goodridge somberly reflected on that fight at the pre-event press conference, while Aerts countered, with a laugh, that he might perform more ad hoc dentistry this time.
Aerts laid in early with the kicks, and when Goodridge closed the distance met him with punches. Goodridge is known for his fast starts but could not get through here, while Aerts was perfect with his attacks, positioning and defense. The best blow of the first round was an Aerts left high kick that rattled Goodridge and put him in the corner, closed up. Aerts maneuvered for the knee but could not finish. In the second, Goodridge pounded in body blows and hooks to effect. Aerts met the challenge, though, and planted another left high kick across Goodridge's head.
The final round began with Goodridge again throwing punches, Aerts light on his feet and good again with his blocking then taking control with front and low kicks. A comfortable unanimous decision for the Dutch Lumberjack, whose experience, skills and power have to make him a serious challenger in this year's World GP.
"I'm sure Peter has noticed how much I've improved since the last time we fought," said Goodridge in his post-bout interview. "I lost the fight but I think I hurt him tonight, and I doubt he'll be eager to fight me again."
Aerts had a different take: "Well, Gary was good, yes, but I won the fight and I know I hurt him! And anytime he wants to fight me again, I'm ready!"
In Superfight Challenges on the card:
Yusuke Fujimoto of Japan, this year's Asia GP Champion, took on self-slighting Japanese TV personality turned fighter Bobby Ologun of Nigeria.
Fujimoto is possibly the all-round most powerful fighter in Japan, but he had his hands full with Ologun, who charged in from the bell to tie up in the clinch. Ologun used a kick-and-clinch tactic to stay out of harm's way, but Fujimoto got a right punch through midway through that sent Ologun stumbling back for a down. In an often-comic second round Ologun repeatedly tangled up Fujimoto and took him for a roll round the mat, and was warned for this. Best blow here was a Fujimoto right that caught Ologun atop the head.
The third -- and many hadn't expected the fight to get this far -- featured further rassling, and now Ologun was shown the yellow card. But the Nigerian surprised Fujimoto with a right knee shortly afterward for his best chance. The fight ended with Fujimoto scored well ahead on all three cards.
Paul Slowinski of Australia outmuscled the field to earn the K-1 Oceania GP title in Auckland earlier this year. In his first fight in Japan he met the scrappy local Tatsufumi Tomihira.
Slowinski started in with solid combinations and good defense, while Tomihira couldn't do much of anything. Finally Tomihira saw his chance, and put a punishing left hook around that cocked his opponent's head back. With Slowinski bleeding from a cut above the eye caused by accidental head-on-head contact, a doctor check was called, but the Aussie was cleared to continue and the pair made a good finish of the round.
In the second, Slowinski shot in hard low kicks again, and Tomihira struggled on the counter. It was the third when the kicks caught up with Tomihira, and now he could scarcely stand on his brutalized legs, let alone mount any meaningful attacks. A warrior's spirit got Tomihira through to the final bell -- a no-nonsense style and superior power got Slowinski the unanimous decision.
Bjorn Bregy of Switzerland earned the K-1 Europe GP Crown with a convincing performance in Amsterdam this year. Today he fought Tsuyoshi Nakasako of Japan. Both these fellows have good power, both hail from karate backgrounds and both turn 32 this year. One difference -- Bregy brought a 12cm/5" height advantage to the dance. He used his reach to control the distance early on, stepping in with punch and low kick combinations, earning a standing down when Nakasako turned away after eating a kick. Nakasako never really recovered -- he was dropped again by a knee shortly after, then another seconds later. A champion-worthy performance by Bregy for the KO win..
Frenchman Freddy Kemayo went up against Hiromi Amada of Japan. Depending on your perspective, it could be said that Kemayo has had either the honor or the bad fortune to have met the strongest K-1 forces in his short time with the sport. But K-1 Japan 2004 Champion Amada has also shown he can dance with the big boys.
Amada worked the fists through an entertaining first, getting to the body well, while a relaxed Kemayo stayed back with low and middle kicks. Kemayo woke up somewhat in the second, planting a right on his opponent's head -- but Amada has a tough head, and in no time the scrappy Japanese was giving it back. Amada stepped in with the body blows again and sustained the pressure through a round that ended with the pair trading low kicks. In the third, Amada stepped in repeatedly, Kemayo again closing up to block then responding with low kicks. Amada's upper leg was badly bruised by the end of this one and he was limping some, and although he probably hadn't hurt Kemayo to that extent, he had been the more aggressive fighter through the bout, and got out with a majority decision.
In undercard action featuring Japanese fighters, Noboru Uchida beat Rikijyo and Mitsugu Noda beat Tsutomu Takahagi, both fights ended by KO.
Four-time K-1 World GP Champion Ernesto Hoost made a ring appearance to announce that he is coming out of retirement to fight at the Final Elimination in Osaka this September, with the goal of earning a spot at the Tokyo Dome Final.
The K-1 Revenge 2006 in Sapporo event was dedicated to the memory of Andy Hug, the legendary Seidokaikan Karate fighter who embodied the spirit of K-1. Andy passed away in Tokyo six years ago (http://www.so-net.ne.jp/feg/k-1gp/d001_00.htm). In this seventh year of remembrance, Andy's spirit lives on in the hearts of K-1 fighters and fans around the world.
The K-1 Revenge 2006 in Sapporo attracted a sellout crowd of 8,390 to the Makomanai Arena, and was broadcast live on the Fuji Television Network and Fuji Satellite TV in Japan, and on MBC and MBC/ESPN in South Korea. It will be time-delay broadcast on EuroSport across Europe, ProTV in Romania, inDemand in the United States, Viewers' Choice in Canada and GroboSat in Brazil. The event will be seen in over 100 countries, please check with local broadcasters for scheduling details.
And as always, visit the K-1 Official Website (www.k-1.co.jp) for complete post-event coverage.