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Goodbye Andy

 

In the year 2000, the master of ceremonies in the "Hallenstadium" in Zurich loudly proclaimed Andy as the winner of his farewell fight against Mirko 'The Crocop' Filipovich. Andy grasped the microphone and turned to the spectators and said:

"Hallo everyone! Today is the last time that I'll be standing here. For me this is a wonderful farewell. I always wanted to show you my best and have always fought from the heart. I wanted to show you what top-class sport is and what K-1 is. It is one of the hardest types of sport; you have to be trained specifically for many disciplines, so as to be able to get so far at all. Everyone who fought this evening has really given of his best  – I believe that is worthy of huge applause."

 

The feelings of the winners, losers and all the spectators erupted in thunderous applause. Andy waited until the applause had subsided, then grasped the microphone once more and continued:

 

"I would like to thank someone very special, namely Ilona ... It is very important to me! She has supported me throughout my entire sporting career. I want to dedicate my victory to her. She has really always been there to support me and this win is for her. Ilona, many thanks!" Ilona, who was sitting in ringside seat, could no longer hold back her tears.

In the stadium, a veritable firework display of emotions exploded. One last time, Andy turned to the audience and thanked everyone present.

"Ladies and gentlemen, we are saying goodbye here in the ring to a great sporting legend, a great fighter and a great human being. Andy is right, you have been fantastic spectators and we want to enjoy this moment with him!" With these words, the master of ceremonies bade farewell to Andy. All the contestants went up onto the stage and Erkan Aki appeared in their midst, then sang an anthem to heroism in his strong and classically trained voice. His song filled the "Hallenstadium" and ensured a worthy and ceremonial end to the event, which itself carried the title of  "Goodbye Andy". Andy stood there motionless, looking upward and reminiscent of a statue of Hercules. He was filled with gratitude for his family, his fans, his friends, and his opponents and was proud of the fact that he had achieved so much as a martial arts fighter. No one could have any idea at that time that his departure two months later would have quite a different significance.
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