Click HERE!



SUNDAY, August 12th, 2001, AT 11:30 PM PT
Pictures Added August 13th

2 IKF - K-1 World Grand Prix Semifinal Reports: USA Live & Japan Video Feed Below
Pictures by James Robertson, Courtesy K-1 USA

Leko Stops Roufus, Ivanovich and Aerts
To Win The K-1 World Grand Prix Semifinal
In Las Vegas, Nevada, USA!

This was clearly one of the best kickboxing events ever promoted by North American Super Promoter Scott Coker. (San Jose, California's) The August 11th K-1 World Semi-Finals at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino In Las Vegas, Nevada, USA was an outstanding event that treated a full house to a dynamic night of Kickboxing. With a very competitive tournament card that was followed up by great performances by all 8 fighters, we saw all there was to see by each on this night.

However many of us wondered why Coker (Left - speaking with Mr. Ishii sitting) wasn't acknowledged at all during the event. Especially when all the big names were announced to the ring. Where was Scott Coker? We never heard his name once... Because of this, we'd like to give credit where credit is due. Events like this are not accomplished by 1 person. It takes a great Team Effort which is exactly what Coker had from his fello team members who were also never introduced to the nights crowd.

They included Ken Imai, Daisuke Teraguchi, Geoff Moss, Jim Gordon, Kevin Cusick, Danielle Rogers, Carrie Aana, Russ Trapani, Oscar Tenedora, Javiar Mendez, Amy (PR) and a ton of others who did a great job to make this event the success it was. Now that we handled that, lets get on with the show...

It's not that many didn't think German fighter Stephan Leko (Left) didn't have a chance to win this tournament. It's just that so many had their thoughts on others such as favorite Peter Aerts of course and American's Maurice Smith and Duke Roufus. However, Leko pretty much snuck up on all of them, blasting through his competition one by one. The stronger his competition came at him, the stronger he got. Just ask Roufus and Aerts who each landed several strong blows on Leko only to be finally done in at their end by KNOCKOUTS. That's the story you'll get from them. Leko's win got him a direct ticket to Japans Tokyo Dome for the K-1 World Grand Prix Final in December and sends everyone else home to wait for another try next year.

Here's how the night unfolded bout by bout...



Peter Aerts

Noboru Uchida

Peter Aerts vs. Noboru Uchida

As a 3 time K-1 World Grand Prix Champion, many had their eyes on Peter Aerts, and their bets as well. In his opening bout, Aerts faced Japan's Noboru Uchida. However, the crowd was very surprised that Uchida lasted the first round, and even more so, the second round as well with Aerts not dominating either round of action.

Although all 3 judges had Aerts ahead going into the 3rd round (20-18, 20-18 & 20-18.5)
it wasn't from domination by any means. It was clear that this wasn't a typical Aerts by far.

It wasn't until late in round 3 that Aerts finally got to Uchida and knocked him down twice that ended the bout at 2:06 of the 3rd round.

(K-1 rules, 2 knockdowns in the prebouts ends the match - But not in the final)


Maurice Smith

Jorgen Kruth

Maurice Smith Vs Jorgen Kruth

One thing we can say is that in his opening bout against Kruth, this was a much more aggressive Maurice Smith than in the May K-1 USA. Smith scored often with his hands in the opening round and with both hands and feet combinations in round 3 as well.

Round 3 saw Smith slow down a bit, possibly conserving himself already for the next match thinking he had already won rounds 1 and 2. Still, he only lost 1 round on one judges card in the entire bout taking a unanimous decision victory, 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27.


Evgeny Kotelnikov

Francisco Filho

Sergei IvanovichVs Francisco Filho

Most IKF readers remember the story about several very experienced USA MuayThai fighters going to Belarus and fighting 17 and 19 year old fighters.... and getting blasted by all of them in every bout. ( January 2000) Well, it appears Evgeny Kotelnikov isn't the only Minsk Belarus trainer with great fighters. Just ask heavily favored Francisco Filho. In fact, ask Filho who Sergei Ivanovich of Minsk Belarus is and we're sure he won't forget. It was Ivanovich's outstanding performance in the K-1 Ukraine Elimination Tournament that earned him a ticket here Saturday night. And with his ticket, he surprised everyone, especially Filho when he defeated him after 4 rounds of fighting. Yes, 4 rounds. After 3, the scores were too close... Yes, we said "Too close"... not tied... For whatever reason, K-1 allowed the ridiculous half point system that only one governing body in the world uses, the ISKA. This is not meant to slam them, it's just a fact that "MANY" discussed on the night. It's a TERRIBLE System that's OFTEN Abused rather than used for what it was intended for in the first place. To break a 10-10 tie round. This scoring system outright cost Filho the match. If all of us at the press tables could determine a 10-9 round in every round, we would expect the same of the judges. However, this wasn't so. After the scheduled 3 rounds, Filho was ahead on 2 cards 29.5 - 28, 29-28.5 and even on the 3rd judges card at 29 each. If they would have been using the standard 10-9 scoring system, Filho would have advanced after the bout. Why didn't he anyway after winning 2 of the 3 rounds? Because of the the K-1 "Must win by a full point" rule. But heck, there would be no reason to have such a rule (by K-1) if there were no half point system. So WHY use it? Instead, Filho like McDonald at the May K-1 becomes yet ANOTHER Victim of this ridiculous judging system that again, more often gets abused rather than do the job it's inventors intended it to do...

Instead, Ivanovich was given another chance and being outweighed by more than 40 lbs by Filho he didn't hold anything back. At only 198 lbs (6'3") to Filho's 234 (6'1") he took a unanimous decision win by the judges who all gave him the same as everyone at the press table gave him, a 10. However, keeping with the abuse, the ringside judges gave Filho a 9.5... instead of his deserved 9 since it was a clear round for Ivanovich. Heck, it's almost like saying, "Oh I'm sorry, but you only kinda lost...." Again, we speak for nearly everyone... DROP the half point system.


Stephan Leko

Duke Roufus

Stephan Leko Vs "Jeff" Duke Roufus

It was a surprise to some and a blessing to many in round 1 of this bout. Which Roufus (Right) would show up tonight? Would it be the aggressive and powerful Bull that dropped Grant Barker in round 1 or would "The Duke" get too careless.

Watching round 1, nearly everyone in the room thought Roufus looked the strongest of all the fighters in the opening round. He suddenly became a heavy favorite after yes, only one round. He was smooth, clean and powerful and looked unstoppable against Leko. He easily took round 1, 10-9 on all 3 judges cards we thought. However, here we go again, WHO WAS JUDGE 1 who scored it a 10 - 9.5 round? Come on...

As he came out for round 2, it was clear that Roufus wanted to go for the quick kill, and it cost him. As Roufus charged in, the smaller 210 lb Leko caught him with a powerful shot that staggered the 225 lb Roufus forward grabbing Leko's legs trying to stay up. However Leko moved away leaving Roufus with no support, eventually dropping to the canvas. After referee Nobuaki Kakuda gave him an 8 count, it was clear Roufus wasn't himself in his eyes. He now charged in wild, leaving himself open for a lot and Leko found one of the openings.

Leko landed one of the best uppercut's ever thrown. "The Duke" was out at 2:34 of the 2nd round. From suddenly strong favorite to out in the first round.

Leko moves on.



Peter Aerts vs. Maurice Smith
Once again, Smith was a very different fighter than we say in the May K-1. He came out against Aerts very strong and aggressive. Many feared Smith's fate if he were to meet Aerts again since he's fell victim to him twice before. However this time, Smith would have no part of it. He won rounds 1 & 2 outright, which we expected to see on the judges cards, 10-9.

However, Smith, who benefited in the final match of the May K-1 USA against McDonald from the half point scoring system became a victim of it on this night. If a standard 10-9 scoring system would have been used, Smith would have walked away after 3 rounds with a split decision victory, 29-28, 29-28 & 28-29 advancing to the final. Instead, after 3, it was 29.5 to 29 Smith, 29-28.5 Smith and 29-5 - 29 Aerts.

The "Must win by a full point" rule again came into effect and we were off to another round... Would Smith have enough left after giving his all against Aerts for 3 solid rounds?

He had tired in the 3rd which cost him the round on all 3 judges cards. It was to be his endurance that cost him the win in the overtime round as well with Aerts winning 10-9 on all 3 judges cards and advancing to the final round.


Stephan Leko Vs Sergei Ivanovich
All eyes were on the little guy, 194 lb Ivanovich. Would he have enough in him to last against the powerful Leko who just finished off the more stronger Roufus with 1 strong uppercut? The scores would tell the story. After taking several strong unanswered punches from Leko, Ivanovich took a standing 8 count from referee Nobuaki Kakuda in round 1 which set him back in points early. He made a strong effort in round 2 but still fell short on all 3 of the judges cards.

At the break between rounds 2 and 3, the ringside doctor was called to the ring to check Ivanovoch's foot that had been slightly injured in his previous bout with Filho. The doctor put a stop to it thinking the foot may be broken. Leko advances working far less rounds than Aerts who fought nearly 7 full 3 minute rounds to Leko's almost 4.



Peter Aerts vs. Stephan Leko
It all came down to one match now and everyone expected this one to last awhile. Which was how it looked it might after the first round which saw neither fighter dominate. However, Leko had no plans to try to last to the end with Aerts. He knew Aerts was tired from his previous bouts and he planned to take it to him the first chance he got, which came in the 2nd round. Leko dropped Aerts twice in the second round. On one of the knockdowns, the referee waived the fight off, then changed his mind, gave Aerts a "4" count, and let the fight continue. When the referee waives a bout off, the timekeeper's job is to ring the bell sounding the end of the fight, which was done.

However, not knowing the actual time, many thought the referee was allowing the bout to continue past the rounds end. However, there was still 30 seconds left. Because of this, Aerts, like many others acted like he thought the round was over, but Leko went after him and continued to pound him and somehow he survived the round. As round 3 started, Aerts came on strong, but looked like Roufus had in his eyes. Aggressive, but not fully in control of his thoughts and actions.

It proved true as Aerts lunged in like Roufus towards Leko, but instead of an uppercut, this time Leko landed a straight right that dropped Aerts to the canvas where the referee waived it off for real this time.

The win advanced Leko to the K-1 World Grand Prix while Aerts missed the post event press conference because he was taken to the hospital to be checked out.



Stefan Leko Wins Las Vegas GP
Another view by IKF Japan Representative Alex MacDonald

Last year, Stefan Leko of Germany had to withdraw from his qualifying tournament (Block C) with a broken hand. In December, however, he was offered a place in the 2000 Grand Prix to replace an injured fighter who had withdrawn at the last minute. This year, he took a more active role in going to Tokyo Dome. No favors asked, none given. There was a spot in the 2001 Grand Prix up for grabs and with a KO victory in the final, grab he did.

As winner of the Las Vegas GP, Leko will proudly join the three other major tournament winners in Tokyo this December: Jerome LeBanner (Osaka GP), Ernesto Hoost (Melbourne GP), Alexei Ignashov (Nagoya GP). Joining them will be the two finalists from the Fukuoka GP (repechage tournament), the K-1 Japan winner and a wildcard.

Peter Aerts vs. Noboru Uchida
Uchida had his work cut out for him. The name Peter Aerts is synonymous with dangerous. Would the crafty Japanese fighter shock the world? No. Would he be able to last three rounds? No. Would he be able to impress the media and fans? Perhaps. He put on a good fight but was merely overmatched. Aerts' reach simply found its mark too many times. Peter Aerts by KO-3

Maurice Smith vs. Jurgen Krut
This was a match up of contrasts. In the blue corner, we had Krut, the young risk taker and K-1 Netherlands finalist. In the red corner, we had the wily veteran and K-1 USA champion, Smith. Would Krut overwhelm the 40 year old? Would Smith frustrate the less experienced fighter with a tight defensive game? On this day the decision went to experience. Smith's brilliant defense nearly shut out the young Swede. If you can't hit, you can't score. Smith by three round decision.

Francisco Filho vs. Sergei Ivanovic
When Kyokushin Karate champion Francisco Filho came on the kickboxing scene, he did it in style. He laid out then K-1 Grand Prix Champion Andy Hug on his back for a 10 count with one punch. He then collected wins over other K-1 stars. Last year, he was tested with some ups and downs. He lost to hard hitting Jerome LeBanner in a one punch match, won his qualifying tournament (Block B) in the K-1 2000 series then failed to put anything together against an out-of-shape Leko and a perfect but aging Ernesto Hoost. Embarrassed, he decided to give up kickboxing and return to karate. However, after 8 months of inactivity, he decided to give it one more try. In the first round of the tournament he met the relatively unknown Sergei Ivanovic. The lanky fighter from Belarus, however, happens to be a training partner of Nagoya GP champion, Alexei Ignashov. Furthermore, he himself won the K-1 Ukraine tournament. The fight was probably one of the worst of Filho's career. He seemed to plod along looking for one big shot while Ivanovic was working. At the end of the third round, though, Filho rushed Ivanovic and managed to score a flash knockdown. After three rounds the judges couldn't pick a winner so an extension was necessary. Ivanovic outworked Filho again and took the decision. Ivanovic by 4 round decision.

Stefan Leko vs. Jeff Roufus
Stephan Leko has had lapses in concentration that have caused him to find himself looking up from the canvas. Earlier this year, he got caught by Jurgen Krut but redeemed himself with a strong showing against Jerome LeBanner over five rounds. The question was whether the former IKF world champion, Jeff Roufus would be facing a focused or distracted Leko. Unfortunately for the recently unretired wildcard entry, the better Leko came to fight. With combinations that were on target and on time, Leko scored two solid knockdowns in the second round to win the fight. Leko by 2nd round KO.

Semi Finals Aerts vs. Smith
These two had met a few times with Smith suffering some frightening knock out losses. However, Aerts' major KO weapon, the high roundhouse kick, hasn't produced a knockout in two years. If you like clinching and kneeing, then this was the fight of the evening. Aerts tried to use his reach and, hit or miss, invariably found himself in Smith's trap. From the clinch they threw knees until the referee broke the fighters up. Then the cycle repeated. After three rounds, the judges were indecisive and an extension round was fought. A very tired Peter Aerts managed to get to the final. Aerts by 4 round decision.

Leko vs. Ivanovic
Ivanovic's fight with Filho turned out to be his downfall in this match. His left foot was terribly swollen when he entered the ring. He fought well, even throwing left kicks, but after the second round the doctor stopped the fight. Leko by 2nd round TKO.

Final Stefan Leko vs. Peter Aerts
Peter Aerts, having won the Grand Prix three times, is a superstar in the K-1. In Japan, there are memorabilia of all sorts in his likeness: dolls, stickers, key chains, mugs, you name it. Leko has long deserved to be recognized as a superstar but has been plagued with bad luck. In 1999, for instance, he lost a technical decision to Sam Greco in a qualifying bout cut short due to accidental low blows. Meanwhile, he watched fighters of lesser ability score big upsets and rocket to stardom. Cyril Abidi knocked out Peter Aerts and Mirko Filipovic did the same to Mike Bernardo. Leko has beaten Abidi once and pounded Bajrami who beat Filipovic. Moreover, both fighters were defeated by first round knock outs in their opening fights in this year's series. One other thing these two have in common was they both beat the great Peter Aerts, something Stefan Leko has longed to do for what must seem like an eternity.

Leko picked the pace and style of the fight. Whenever Aerts clinched, Leko just walked back to the ropes until the referee broke up the fighters. Although the first round was close, the second round showed Leko's hand skills. His combinations were faster, sharper and greater in number than Aerts'. By the end of the round the German scored two valuable knockdowns. Knowing Leko was ahead after a 10-7 round, Aerts came out fighting in the third round. Holding on for a loss by decision was not an option for a fighter of his caliber. Leko weathered the storm and when Aerts came in with a knee, dropped the former champion with a straight right. It was a combination of knockdown and loss of footing that send the Dutchman's back crashing flat into the canvas. The referee wisely stopped the contest without a count. Stefan Leko by third round KO.

Peter Aerts who managed two wins on the evening earned a place in the repechage tournament in Fukuoka in October. There he'll meet the 3 other second place finishers: Adam Watt (Osaka GP), IKF world champion Matt Skelton (Melbourne GP) and Lloyd Van Dams (Nagoya GP).

Two of the four wildcards will likely go to Ray Sefo and Mike Bernardo who though undefeated were too injured to continue in their respective tournaments. The remaining two will be a difficult choice for K-1 producer Kazuyoshi Ishii. He will have fallen stars: Abidi, Filipovic and Filho. He will have untested champions: Larry Lindwall (K-1 Denmark) and Jerrol Venatiaan (K-1 Netherlands). There is also the K-1 policy of always including a Japanese fighter to complicate the issue further. Whatever he decides, the event will surely be a good one. On a biased final note, best of luck to IKF champion Matt Skelton.
END IKF Japan Report

Opening Matches
As Of August 8th, 2001

Bracket 1

Peter Aerts,
Eindhoven, Holland

65-15-1 with 51 KO's, 6'4" - 192cm, 234 lbs - 106.2 kg
3 Time K-1 Grand Prix World Champion.


Nobuoru Uchida,

No Info Available

Jorgen Kurt,

51-7-2 with 25 KO's, 6'2" - 189cm, 216 lbs - 98.0 kg
K-1 Europe & Russia Elimination - C Tournament Champion


Maurice Smith,
Washington, USA

61-8-3 with 45 KO's, 6'2" - 186cm, 226 lbs - 102.6 kg.
K-1 North American Champion

Bracket 2

Sergei "The Bullet" Ivanovich,
Minsk, Belarus

25-4 with 14 KO's, 6'3", 198lbs.


Francisco Filho,
Sao Paulo, Brazil

9-3 with 8 KO's, 6'1" - 186 cm, 198lbs. - 106.5 kg

Duke Roufus,
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

35-6-1 with 25 KO's, 6'1", 220 - 100kg


Stefan Leko,

40-5-1 with 23 KO's, 6'2" - 188cm, 217 lbs - 98.5kg
1998 K-1 Europe Grand Prix Champion
1999 K-1 DREAM Tournament Winner

WEDNESDAY, July 18th, 2001, AT 6:30 PM PT

Director of Nevada USA Athletic Commission
Mark Ratner Speaks out on Kickboxing in Las Vegas.

by Johnny Davis

The K-1 event features some of the best heavyweight kickboxers and other martial art styles from around the world. Many celebrities attended the prestigious event on May 5th, 2001 at the Las Vegas Mirage Hotel. But one of the most well known figures in attendance had to be the Director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission Mark Ratner (Right) The softspoken Ratner seems perhaps a little timid and almost shy at first impression but it only takes a moment of conversation with him to realize that he is a very intelligent, confident, and serious opponent to contend with . I 'm sure fighters like former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson quickly realized that Mr. Ratner may be softspoken but carries a big punch.

It was Mr. Ratner and his board of commissioners that lead the charge in issuing Mr. Tyson an almost lethal blow to his elaborate boxing career. The now famous "Bite of the Century", in regards to Mike Tyson's biting of champion Evander Holyfield's ear, forced the Nevada Commission to suspend Mr. Tyson's Boxing license in the State of Nevada. This is a major blow to any boxer seeking the big purses and promotions provided by the wealthy casinos to entertain their high rolling guest.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Mr. Ratner on several issues including his thoughts on Mike Tyson. I think readers may be surprised at some of his comments as well as pleased to know of his feeling towards the sport of kick boxing.

Interview with Director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission Mark Ratner, May 5th, 2001 in Las Vegas, Nevada at the K-1 Event...

Director Ratner is sincerely a fan of kickboxing and seems to really be making an all-out effort to allow the sport of kickboxing to shine in Las Vegas, the city of lights. We can all be thankful he's in our corner. I'm sure he will be at ringside for the upcoming K-1 event August 11th at the beautiful Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. We hope to see you there! By Johnny Davis - Right...

Posted June 22nd, 2001

August 11th K-1

The World's Premier Fighting Sport Takes Center Ring at the Bellagio for the World Semi-Finals on Saturday, August 11, 2001 to earn the title of "World's Best"
Geoff Moss, K-1 U.S.A

After a sold out fight the K-1 returns to Las Vegas on Saturday, August 11th, where eight of the top fighters from United States, Japan, Holland, Germany, Brazil, Europe, Belarus and Croatia will battle it out at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino to determine who will go on to the K-1 Tokyo Dome on December 8th for the K-1 Grand Prix in Japan.

Founded in 1993 by Master Kazuyoshi Ishii, (Left) K-1 has quickly become the world's ultimate fighting sport. Although the intense battle originated from Seido Karate, K-1 was designed to determine which Martial Arts (fighting sport) is the strongest of them all. The "K" comes from the first letter of the various styles of Martial Arts that make up K-1. KARATE, KICKBOXING, KUNG FU, KAKUTOGI, and TAE KWON DO. The "1" means there is only one weight class and the champion is truly "number one."

The premise of the K-1 Grand Prix is quite simple. This is where all Martial Arts will converge on one ring, under one rule, to answer these simple questions:
"Which Martial Arts is the strongest?"
"Which fighter is the best in the world?"
The K-1 is truly a contest of survival of the fittest. In order to conquer the K-1 Grand Prix a participant must win three consecutive fights in one day. These fighters have been highly trained in the physical, mental, and technical aspects of Martial Art combat; they make the impossible possible. These highly trained and disciplined athletes are better known as K-1 fighters.

K-1 is quickly becoming a popular form of sports entertainment with boxing and wrestling fans as well as 250 million Martial arts practitioners worldwide. Internationally, K-1 is very popular in Europe and Japan. At the K-1 Grand Prix Championship final at the Tokyo Dome, over 70,000 fans attended the live event and 30 million viewers sat glued to their seats watching it on Fuji television (one of Japan's largest television networks). The August 11th K-1 tournament will be covered by E!, ESPN2, Canadian Pay Per View, and Live Fuji Television.

Don't miss K-1, the fastest growing form of sports entertainment in the world, Saturday, August 11th at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino. Ticket prices range from $30.00 to $250.00. The doors open at 3:30 pm, the preliminary fights begin at 4:00 pm. The K-1 World Semi-finals kicks off at 6:00pm. To purchase tickets, call the Bellagio ticket office at 1-888-488-7111.

Back To IKF K-1 USA PAGE, Click HERE! - Back To IKF NEWS PAGE, Click HERE!
Back To The IKF HOME PAGE, Click