By Monty DiPietro
TOKYO, October 11, 2005 — The 20 fighters who will do battle in the K-1 World Max ’05 in Tokyo weighed in and met the press today at the New Takanawa Hotel in central Tokyo. All fighters made the 70kg limit, and looked to be in great shape for the all-star showdown, which is set for tomorrow evening at the Yoyogi Olympic Complex in Tokyo.
Eight fights will be contested under regular K-1 Max Rules — three rounds of three minutes each, with one possible tiebreaker round. The first two bouts on the card will be conducted under Hero’s Mixed Martial Arts Rules.
The quality of the participants has attracted extraordinary attention and more than 200 attendees turned today’s press conference into a standing-room-only affair.
All eyes were on the two men who will clash in the main event — Shooto Boxer Andy Souwer of Holland and Japanese fighter Kozo Takeda. Souwer captured the 2005 World Max crown by beating three opponents at the Final in Kanazawa this July, while 32 year-old Takeda packs a record of 39 wins (30 by KO) in 57 fights.
Souwer appeared relaxed, and promised to put on an exciting fight at Yoyogi. Said Takeda, whose aggressive style makes him the perfect opponent for Souwer: “It’s the main event, and so as a Japanese fighter I will go into it fearless and I will fight hard.”
Also highly anticipated is the penultimate bout pitting Kaoklai Kaennorsing of Thailand against challenger Yoshiro Sato of Japan. This will be Kaoklai’s debut in World Max — the Thai fighter shed eight kilograms to make the weight class, actually weighing in with room to spare at 69kg. Kaoklai becomes the only fighter ever to compete in both K-1 and World Max weight classes. Having beat K-1 big boys like Alexey Ignashov and Mighty Mo, Kaoklai promises to be a major force in World Max.
Kaoklai: “This is new for me, to fight in Max, I think its a great chance and I’ll do my best.”
Sato: “I have trained hard and will fight with all my heart.”
Also appearing tomorrow will be the first-ever World Max Champion, Albert Kraus of Holland, who will step in against Akira Ohigashi.
Kraus: “I have learned and I have improved and I believe I will win.”
Ohigashi: “I come from boxing and this is my K-1 debut, so I will do my very best!”
In other bouts on the card:
The first mixed martial arts matchup will see Hideo Tokoro of Japan and American Gabriel Lemley do battle.
Tokoro: “I mean to do my best.”
Lemley:” I have seen some of Tokoro’s fights and I respect his ability, but I will put on a good fight!”
Also in mixed martial arts rules, Yoshihiro Akiyama of Japan will take on Michael Lerma of the United States.
Meanwhile back in World Max Rules, Akeomi Nitta of Japan will fight Ian Schaffa of Australia; Japanese fighter Hayato and Indian fighter Black Mamba will mix it up; and Australian sensation John Wayne Parr will meet Japanese fighter Kinami
Said Parr: “I’m excited to fight Kinami, we both have been in Thailand and have Muay Thai training so I think it will be a beautiful fight!”
Kinami: “This is a great chance for me, I will try to make an impact!”
Remigijus Morkevicius of Lithuania will challenge Japanese Seidokaikan fighter Kazuya Yasuhiro, who drew a laugh with his comments: “Well, its been raining in Tokyo for the last several days so I haven’t been able to do my laundry. But the forecast is for fair skies tomorrow so first I’ll wash my things, and then go and clean up at the fight!”
Said Morkevicius: “I am just happy to have this opportunity, I know my opponent is strong so I will try my best to put in a great performance for the fans!”
And Mike Zambidis of Greece will slug it out with Satoru Suzuki.
Zambidis: “I am a boxer but I have trained to do everything I can to make this an exciting fight!”
Suzuki: “Zambidis is a very good fighter, he and I both have KO punches, but I believe I will be the one who gets the decisive blow in first.”
The K-1 World Max ’05 in Tokyo event kicks off at 17h30 and will be same-day broadcast across Japan on the TBS television network. Check with the K-1 Official Website (www.k-1.co.jp) for full coverage soon after the final bell.