Karate, kung fu, kickboxing: Aruze K-1 invites all fightersThe supreme event in “stand-up fighting,” the Aruze K-1 World GP, is due to arrive in Korea. VIP tickets are almost sold out, and sales of the least-expensive tickets end today for the July 17 event at Jamsil Gymnasium, according to organizers.
Brisk sales are no surprise, for this is the first-ever Asian Grand Prix. Expectations are also high because the event brings together eight top fighters who will duke it out for a chance to move on to the next level, the Aruze K-1 World GP 2004 Opening Round in Japan.
From the outset, the contest has been envisioned as a chance for fighters in all stand-up disciplines to compete in one ring. Incorporating martial arts starting with a “k” ― karate, kung fu, kickboxing ― K-1 came into being in 1993.
Competing in the Tournament Match, one of three parts of the 2004 Asian event, are Akebono, a Japanese sumo champ and karate fighter; Dolgosuren Sumiyabazar, a Mongolian bare-knuckle fighter; Chiyosi Nakako, a Japanese karate fighter who placed third in the 2001 K-1 Japan Grand Prix, and Shingo Koyasu, a Japanese karate fighter who won the first Seido Weight-System Heavyweight class.
Also on hand are Lee Myeon-ju, a Korean muay thai fighter, and Dennis Kang, one of Canada’s top fighters. Kang’s specialty is jujitsu.
Zang Chinjun of China, a sanda fighter who won the 2004 World IMF Martial Arts Tournament, will also be competing, along with Kayokoollai Kainnorusing of Thailand, a muay thai fighter and super welterweight champion. “This is where the top action will be,” says organizer Lee Ki-hong.
Another big draw is the Superfight Match, for which six elite fighters have been invited to demonstration matches.
Among the highlights, the event pits Dutch muay thai fighter Remy Bonjasky, the K-1 World GP Las Vegas champion in 2003, against Belgian Aziz Khattou, the W.A.K.O. World Heavyweight Champion of 2002.
Four Korean up-and-comers will face off in a “Future Fighter Match.” “They may not be as well known, but this is a chance for them to prove their mettle in front of an international audience and possibly be invited to Japan in the future,” Lee says.
Training is reportedly intense. Since June 15, Akebono has been “beating his body into submission,” according to an article on the K-1 Web site.
by Joe Yong-hee
Tickets are 22,000 won ($19) to 220,000 won. Visit www.k-1seoul.com for more information.