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Q & A with Cro Cop’s former manager: The Man Who Brought Down PRIDE Part 1

Cro CopMirko “Cro Cop” Filipović is a legend: 26-7 as a professional kickboxer with wins over the likes of Jerome Le Banner, Peter Aerts, Mark Hunt and Bob Sapp (back when he was a real fighter); 41-10 as a mixed martial arts fighter, with wins over Josh Barnett (x2), Mark Coleman and Wanderlei Silva, as well winner of the 2006 PRIDE open weight Grand Prix championship.

While Cro Cop rarely opens up the media, an interview by Brian J. D’Souza (author of new MMA book Pound for Pound: The Modern Gladiators of Mixed Martial Arts) with his former manager, Miro Mijatovic, reveals interesting details that fans likely never heard before. In part one of two parts, we hear about the ground rules for conducting business in Japan, Mirko’s blacklisting from K-1 and the sycophants who lobbied for control of K-1.

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Karate Flashback #3: Andy Hug vs. Nobuaki Kakuda

Among kickboxing fans, no name will ever be more associated with Kyokushin Karate than Andy Hug's.

Hug had a truly legendary career in K-1, scoring victories over Jerome Le Banner, Peter Aerts, Ernesto Hoost, and Mike Bernardo to name just a few of his high profile wins. He is one of the most famous Kyokushin practitioners of all time, and for good reason. 

Before entering the K-1 ring, Andy Hug was already a popular karate fighter in his own right. He had several famous battles with Shokei Matsui, World Tournament winner Kenji Midori, World tournament winner Francisco Filho, Maasaki Satake, and others. A well known name in Japan long before 1993 and his K-1 debut on the world stage, Hug was reknowned for his technical skills, surprisingly devastating ax kick, and his unique spinning hook kick to the leg dubbed the "Hug tornado."

There's not much I can say about Andy Hug that hasn't already been said. He was one of the founding fighters of K-1, and a big part of the reason this sport became what it is today.

Nobuaki Kakuda will probably best be remembered as the only kickboxer to lose to sumo wrestler Akebono. This is sad, because at the time of that fight he was nearly 45 years old and had already been around the block. In his match with Hug, Kakuda was much closer to his prime and in far better athletic shape. While he was never the most talented kickboxer, Kakuda was always very game to fight (typically against much larger opponents) and packed some serious power in his hands. (Highlight) He is currently the Vice-Chairman of the Seidokaikan Karate Association, founded by Kazuyoshi Ishii.

This fight takes place in 1993 during the second ever K-1 event, and the first ever Grand Prix won by Branko Cikatic. Take note that this is a special Kyokushin match that served as Hug's introduction to the international kickboxing audience. It's a testament to how invested Kazuyoshi Ishii was in Kyokushin, Seidokaikan, and the warrior spirit of karate fighters.

 

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K-1 Releases 2013 Event Schedule

Today on K-1 Global's new site we saw K-1 release what looks like a fairly packed schedule of events for the 2013 calendar year, directly after canceling the event scheduled for the end of the month in Ohio due to financial concerns. One has to expect that the qualifying tournaments in Europe will have the aid of local promoters, which will help soften the blow. You can view the schedule here.

K-1

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K-1 Event in Ohio Cancelled Due to Financial Reasons

It was recently announced by Steve Fossum, President and CEO of International Fight Sports, that the K-1 event scheduled for February 28 in Ohio has been canceled due to financial reasons. 

According to Fossum, he was directly contacted by the Ohio Athletic Comission, who confirmed that the event, slated to take place during Arnold Classic Sports Festival next week, would not be happening. They cited "financial matters associated with the K-1 HQ" as the primary motivation behind the cancellation. 

For weeks we've wondered exactly what was going on with K-1 Ohio. We had heard only rumors of a fight card, and although a line-up was posted to the K-1 website late last week, all information about the event was taken down within a few hours. It really comes as no surprise that the event is cancelled, as there was word going around of it all being a complete mess dating back to last month. What's strange is that as of yesterday contracts were being written up and fighters were still being recruited for the card.

So what does this mean in the long run? Because Fossum cites monetary issues as the reason for the card being canceled, at the very least we can assume K-1 struggled to financially support this particular event. This is a little off-putting considering they were not working independently and had the assistance of the Arnold Classic Sports Festival. What this implies about the rest of their 2013 schedule is negative, at best. 

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