Written On 5-5-03
If It Glitters
This past Friday night, the Las Vegas Mirage Hotel and Casino
was the host of the now prestigious K-1 event that featured an assortment of
mixed martial arts styles and fighters from around the world. The highlight of
the event was the K-1 elimination which included some of the best heavyweight
fighters in the world. It was subtitled "The New Fighting Sport"
where eight men enters and only one exits to be called the K-1 champ. Although,
the K-1 will not feed the mouths of all of the hungry Kickboxers in the world,
it does satisfy the thirst for recognition that the sport so badly needs.
I had the opportunity along with a few other close associates
to witness the K-1 event first hand while many others viewed it via Pay Per View
television around the world. I also had a great time seeing many in the
Kickboxing community that I haven't seen in years. Meeting celebrities like
former world heavyweight boxing champ John Ruiz, who defeated Evander
Holyfield but recently lost his title to the dynamic Roy Jones Jr.
was also enjoyable.
The K-1 staff should be proud of this production. It had a lot
of glitter and some gold! For the most part, it was done with class and had the
flare of success written all over it. Most seats in the beautiful Mirage
Convention Center seem to be filled with those anticipating exciting action.
They got what they wanted especially in the final heavyweight elimination bout
between the young and hungry Carter Williams of Modesto, CA USA and the
experience veteran Rick "The Jet" Roufus (Current
Pro IR Heavyweight World Champion) of Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA.
Rick has been long noted as one of the best in the history of the sport
of Kickboxing. This match had everyone in attendance on their feet for the
entire 2 minutes 50 seconds of the match. It would be a night that neither
fighter would ever forget
one of ushering out the old and in with the new.
Carter's devastating right cross cracked the head of Roufus
leaving him horizontal and at the mercy of the referee and medical officials at
ringside. Heck, I got so excited, I thought I saw Elvis
oh, wait a moment!
I did see Elvis! (An Elvis impersonator was also in attendance)
Williams is as humble and respectful as anyone you
would want to meet but clearly there lies a "Beast" within. At
the tender age of 22 and as the new K-1 champion, he will be challenged in more
ways than one can imagine in and out of the ring. We can only hope that he and
his trainer Gene Fields will keep their eyes wide open as they negotiate
the future of the young champ. I would like to make mention of the fact that
Carter was the 2001
IKF National Heavyweight Muay Thai
Champion. I clearly recall a conversation with those close to the K-1
event that the
Nationals and perhaps other events like it were the incubators of the
future of Kickboxing. Carter Williams' win not only proved this point
but also showed us what you can accomplish in a short amount of time with
dedication and hard work. Congratulations to Carter and his entire team!
If It Glitters
As for the event, it was one of mixed emotions. Yes, it had
the glitz' and glamour of a Hollywood production. Yes, the smoke, fire, sound
and lighting made it appear first class and yes, it did have a few fights worth
mentioning. However, on the downside of that, I saw a well marketed Playboy
Bunny who was no doubt stunning and "eye candy" for the
onlookers but did not know the first thing about Kickboxing or any other type of
fighting. From a marketing perspective, I can see the promoter's point. But, I
had to ask myself, with all of the talented female fighters around the world who
deserve to be on such a prominent card, how is it that a former Playboy Bunny
takes the spotlight. Since I have a forum to do so, I feel that I must speak on
behalf of those left out. There are female fighters who have been training and
working hard in the gym for years who could have offered a more exciting fight!
Instead of the one sided fight we witness. Hopefully, the K-1 promoters will
keep this in mind for future events.
Additionally, I, as many, were a little dissapointed in the
Mark Hunt vs Gary Goodridge fight and the lack of Kickboxing (combinations)
ability of these fighters. Forget the high quality of the event for a moment,
and lets get to the facts about the abilities of these fighters. This bout
looked like a boxing match. No pun for boxing because I love it, but when its
suppose to be a Kickboxing match, where were the kicks? When are we going to
reach the level where Kickboxing will be defined in its own essence and by the
sheer execution of kicks and punches with and, or when the opportunity calls?
Boxing for most of the round only to throw one or two kicks to remind everyone
that its Kickboxing as in the bout mentioned is not what I feel is taking the
sport of Kickboxing nor, the K-1 events to new heights.
Moreover, Conditioning! Did anyone notice that a few of the
fighters seemed "gassed" within the first two minutes of the first
round of their bout? Are we at the point yet where we really understand how to
train for this type of fighting or are we getting lost in the cross training for
the diverse fighting that's accompanied with a certain rule style and missing
out on the most vital areas of conditioning in our preparation? Understanding
how to train and getting in the best physical condition possible is vital for
the future growth of our sport. Many are willing to accept the fact that they
are getting through rounds. Some, however are concerned with how we're looking
getting through the rounds. In my personal opinion, some of those competing in
the K-1 and other professional events need to go back to the basics and
concentrate on the total body and technical conditioning part of Kickboxing.
Above all, the event was well done and there were some fighters
that stood out as being in good shape with good techniques. It did have a lot of
glitter but fell short of gold due to some of the reasons I mentioned above.
Remember fighters, this is not a Tough Man Contest! This is Professional "Kickboxing"
and we must deliver it in the essence of its name with skilled combatants that
awe the audience! The K-1 staff have come a long way and as they continue to
grow the entertainment value of the sport, I hope too that the fighters will see
the need to rise to the occasion and continue to take our sport to its deserving
magnitude. Forward March!
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Copyright by Johnny Davis, 2003
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