By Monti DiPetro(www.K-1usa.net)
By Monti DiPetro(www.K-1usa.net)
In a press conference at the Fuji TV headquarters in Odaiba, the Fight Entertainment Group (FEG) today unveiled the format for the K-1 World Grand Prix ’06 series.
With an open weight class, the K-1 World Grand Prix comprises both eight-man and one-match tournaments that feature the world’s premier stand-up fighters. Hundreds of hopefuls will compete in regional K-1 Fighting Network events — from Brazil to Sweden, from Italy to Australia and so on — endeavoring to get to the prestigious Tokyo Dome Final, where the eight best go head to head for the richest fightsport purse of its kind…..
This year, FEG will produce eight major K-1 World Grand Prix tournaments:
The K-1 Oceania GP will showcase the best of down under. The first major K-1 event in New Zealand, it will be held at the Trust Stadium in Auckland on May 3.
The K-1 USA GP with feature participants from the Americas and is set for April 29 at the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
The K-1 Europe GP will bring the European powerhouses to Holland, the event is scheduled for the Amsterdam Arena on May 13.
The K-1 Asia GP will be held on either June 3 or 4; in either Seoul, Shanghai or Honolulu. The date and location will be announced when finalized.
The K-1 Japan GP has the best Japan-based fighters going head-to-head in Sapporo this July 29 or 30, date will be announced when finalized.
There will also be a last-chance Repechage tournament in August, to be held in either Las Vegas, Hawaii, or Seoul. The date and location will be announced when finalized.
The winners from the above tournaments, along with a fighter chosen for outstanding performance during the year (for a total of seven), will go to Osaka with the nine participants from the World GP ’05 Tokyo Dome Final. (The eight bracketed fighters, Semmy Schilt, Remy Bonjasky, Hong-Man Choi, Ray Sefo, Jerome LeBanner, Peter Aerts, Musashi and Ruslan Karaev — plus Glaube Feitosa, the reserve fight winner who came in as a substitute and advanced to the final.)
The Osaka Dome Final Elimination is set for Sept 30. The 16 participants will be paired off for eight do-or-die one-matches, the eight victors advancing to the K-1 World Grand Prix Final.
The World GP ’06 Final will take place at the Tokyo Dome on either Nov 25 or Dec 2. The date will be announced when finalized.
With this ambitious international schedule, FEG hopes to truly establish K-1 as “The World’s Fightsport.” A network of overseas broadcasters will bring the World GP action to television viewers in 116 countries.
Occupying the place of honor through the year will be Defending Champion Semmy Schilt, who was at the press conference today. Asked if he had worked on any new techniques to counter all the fighters who will challenge the Champ in Superfights, Schilt just smiled:
“I know they will be coming for me and I’d say the most dangerous fighters are the newcomers, the ones who have everything to gain and nothing to lose. I don’t really have any new techniques, it’s all punching and kicking, I can’t think how I can invent anything else! I am very excited, I have great team, and I intend to still have my title when the year is over!”
It was also announced today that Schilt will face compatriot and three-time WGP Champion Peter Aerts in a Superfight at Auckland.
“It’s good to fight all three Dutch champions in a short period of time,” said Schilt [he beat Remy Bonjasky at the WGP Final in November, and beat Ernesto Hoost at the Osaka Dome New Year's Eve event]. “Peter is a great fighter, so I know it will be a tough fight!”
For constantly updated tournament matchup information and prompt results and complete coverage from the World GP ’06 and all other FEG/K-1 events (plus a complete archive of past events), refer to the K-1 Official Website, www.k-1.co.jp.