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Biography - K-1

 

The Seidokai Association, brought into being by Ishii, the martial arts promoter, promoted two forms of training: That of the classic full-contact karate and that of Thai and kickboxing, which form the training basis for Seidokan contests. Ishii was disturbed by the fact that there were countless masters in the various types and associations of martial arts, without any comparison ever having been drawn between them. Therefore and, as a result of his efforts, the full-contact league K-1 was founded in 1993. The letter K stands for karate, kung fu, kempo and kickboxing, and the number 1 for the strongest fighter, the number one. As early as the first events, the tickets were sold out after an hour and the TV ratings shot up.

 

Tokyo, March 1994. In the Budokan stadium, thousands of people celebrated the new heroes of the K-1 professional league with an enthusiasm that bordered on hysteria. At this time, all martial arts insiders were in agreement that in technical respects there was a huge difference between the very experienced kick and Thai boxers and the contact karate practitioners. Dyed-in-the-wool Thai boxers probably respected Andy Hug as a karate or Seidokan star, but not as one of theirs, because he had started in this discipline too late. The fact that Andy, who had previously contested only two Thai-boxing fights, dared to put himself up against the heavyweight world champion Branco Cikatic in the ring, caused astonishment even amongst his critics. For a martial arts fan, this encounter was a unique experience. The cycle of the various sequences appeared almost as if the best scenes from different fights had been cut out and joined together. After the last round, everyone waited for the umpires' verdict. All three gave victory to Andy. He was clearly the stronger one and had won. In his career as a fighter, the contest against Branco Cikatic had been up to then surely his greatest challenge and had demanded of him the most skill and strength.

 

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