After a pale year for kickboxing fans in 2011 ( a year in which no K-1 GP was held - something that had not happened since the very start in 1993 ), 2012 appears to be the year where kickboxing enters the big stage again. K-1 has been bought by a new company in the meantime while another Dutch organisation has also started new, rival promotion with the name “Glory”.
After having 2 tentative, but successful and entertaining K-1 events this year in Madrid and Los Angeles under the new ownership, autumn is traditionally the season where the big guns enter the kickboxing scene. Exit the big K-1 names of the past - who are close or well past 40 in the meantime - it’s up to a whole new generation of fighters now and that leads to a line-up that appears to be the youngest field of competitors that K-1 has produced in a very long time.
The card features 4 super fights and 8 qualifying fights. The winners of the qualifying bouts will move on to the next round - the K-1 Finals - later this year, which should be held in New York. There 8 fighters enter a tournament and one fighter will eventually emerge as K-1 champion.
Romanian pitbull Raul Catinas currently trains at the legendary Chakuriki gym in Holland and has made a lot of progression under the eye of Thom Harinck. According to Harinck, Catinas is the hardest puncher he ever had in his gym.We’ll see if it will be enough because he’s matched with the heavy and fast handed Ben “The guvnor” Edwards from Australia. Needless to say this fight has written KO all over it.
Former It’s Showtime champion Hesdy Gerges is very eager to bounce back after a couple of losses in a row in recent action. The tall Chakuriki pupil will squares off with triple Ukrainian Muay Thai champion Sergei Lascenko. Lascenko has been training at Mike’s gym in recent years with success as he was able to capture the Supercombat trophy last year. Hesdy is a no nonsens fighter who works hard and throws hard strikes constantly while Lascenko brings fast hands, great combinations and the determination and heart of a lion. This will be a very interesting fight.
Ismael Londt, another very talented and promising Dutch fighter, is matched with Singh Jaideep from India. Londt is also known as Mr Pain for a reason; he’s extremely dangerous, unpredictable and throws all his strikes with lots of power and with very bad intentions. He’ll find a though opponent in Jaideep though as the tall fighter from India gathered a lot of experience in previous years and has proven to be a though nut to crack.
Romanian fighter Morosanu, known for his wild style and his wicked KO’s, has improved a lot in recent years and is now ready for the real challenge to see how far he can go in K-1. He’s scheduled to fight Paul “The sting” Slowinski from Australia. Paul is a very seasoned and skilled kickboxer who won various chamionship belts in his career. We’ll see if Morosanu is ready to step up in competition and move through to the absolute top. He finds the perfect opponont for that in the Sting.
Mirko Crocop is a name that needs to further explanation. As a member of the elite special forces in Croatia, Mirko started his career originally in K-1 and became one of the major players there. His biggest success came in 1999 where he reached the Final match and eventually lost to Ernesto Hoost. In 2003 he crossed over to mma and now he made his way back to K-1. At 37 years of age, this might be one of his last chances to capture the K-1 belt after all those years. The man who stands in his way is the young and American fighter Randy “Boom boom” Blake. Undefeated in 24 bouts, we’ll see if he has what it takes to challenge the Croatian legend.
Speaking of American fighters, there are no less then 3 American fighters on the main card.
Jarrel Miller is another one of them. Born and raised in the though neighbourhoods of Brooklyn New York and competing in both boxing and kickboxing, Miller is ready to challenge for the K-1 title.
He will have to get past Lithuanian kickboxer Arnold Oborotov to keep that dream alive.
Xavier Vigney is the third American on the main card and the tall fighter will be facing his stiffest test to date in Zabit Samedov. Samedov has already collected loads of titles, among the some K-1 titles and despite the fact that he’s much smaller then Viney, he surely has the skills and experience to give his opponent a very hard time.
In an all Japanese bout, Uehara will challenge veteran Hiromi Amada to determine the Japanese challenger for the Finals later this year.
In the 4 scheduled superfights Nigerian fighter Benjamin Adegbuyl, Pavel Zhuravlev and Rick “The Jet” Roufus are few names worth to keep an eye on.
The K-1 Final 16 will take place in Tokyo Japan on October 14.