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Karate Flashback #2: Gary O'Neill vs. Piotr Sawicki

There were a lot of famous K-1 and GLORY stars I could have featured in the second installment of this series. I considered Francisco Filho, Andy Hug, Semmy Schilt, and Ewerton Texeira, but eventually I decided on two names that most kickboxing fans probably won't recognize: Gary O'Neill and Piotr Sawicki. 

Before joining Kyokushin, Gary O'Neill was a skinny kid from Australia that went on to become one of the most famous Aussie karatekas of all time. He was reknowned for his spinning kicks, speed, and timing. In the last article, I introduced the Japanese Kyokushin icon, Hajime Kazumi. While most combat sports stars become famous for defeating big names, Gary O'Neill found his place in history for losing to one. Two years in a row O'Neill battled his way to the finals of the All Japan Championships, and both times he lost Kazumi. Despite failing to capture a major title, O'Neill's exciting's fights made him a sensation with fans worldwide. 

From Poland, Piotr Sawicki was just as thrilling as O'Neill. While not as technically gifted, Sawicki had an iron body and was able to withstand serious punishment. Sawicki is the only non-Japanese fighter to win the Tokyo World Cup (1997) and captured a slew of championships across Europe as well. 

The two met in the first round of the 1998 All Japan Championships and put on a fantastic technical performance. While neither O'Neill or Sawicki went on to have an extensive kickboxing career, they were both without a doubt two of the most dynamic strikers of the 90's. 

 

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Karate Flashback #1: Glaube Feitosa vs. Hajime Kazumi

When the word "karate" is mentioned in casual conversation, most fight fans have a tendency to roll their eyes. Traditional arts get a significant amount of disrespect in the contemporary combat sports community, and much of the scepticism is deserved. However, all too often these same individuals are so quick to praise the values of "K-1 Level Striking," unaware that K-1 itself was founded by the creator of Seidokaikan Karate, Kazuyoshi Ishii. 

Seidokaikan is one of the many disciplines of Knockdown Rules Karate that branches from Kyokushin. From under the Kyokushin umbrella emerged fighters like Andy Hug, Semmy Schilt, Sam Greco, Musashi, Masaaki Satake, Francisco Filho, and the fighter I'm featuring in this video- Glaube Feitosa.

Every week, I would like to take a closer look at Karatekas that helped influence the landscape of kickboxing. While all the above named athletes made a successful transition to K-1 in the 1990's, many great fighters remained in Kyokushin to compete under full contact rules for the entireity of their careers. Hajime Kazumi is such an individual.

Hajime Kazumi is one of the most famous Kyokushin practioners in Japan, and that's saying something. He is the 2nd World Tournament Heavyweight champion, and has captured six All Japan Championships. In this match, Kazumi takes on future K-1 star Glaube Feitosa. Feitosa is widely regarded as one of the best fighters in K-1 to never earn a championship, with wins over Ruslan Karaev, Musashi, and Alistair Overeem.

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Former WBC Champion Adrian Diaconu heads Superkombat's move into Canada

Former WBC boxing Champion, Adrian Diaconu, has been brought on-board to assist with SuperKombat's growth in Canada.

Born in Romania and currently living in Montreal, Diaconu has amassed a 27-3 boxing record over a career spanning 11 years. He has also represented his native country during the 2000 Sydney Olympics. 

Canada is home to a selection of skilled stand-up fighters like Simon Marcus, Shane Campbell, Gabriel Varga, and Joe Valtellini. Diaconu will be overseeing tryouts for the next generation of kickboxers, as well as organizing future events in the region.

The move marks Superkombat's expansion into North American territory, and the beginning of the organization establishing bases in the west. Over the next two months Superkombat will hold tryouts in a variety of countries around the globe, including Germany, Great Britain, Romania, Croatia, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Brazil, and Egypt.

 

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Photos: Skinny, Post-Prison Badr Hari Training With Gokhan Saki At Mike's Gym

Badr Hari seems to have returned to training a bit since his release from custody. Obviously, things have changed a lot since before his initial stint in prison. For one, he lost a ton of weight, as you can see in the photo below. Badr is looking almost like his young, skinny self from back in the day before he became a physical monster. Another thing is that Gokhan Saki has also been at Mike's Gym for a while now, so they'll actually be training together.

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