September 13, 2006

by Sportnet.hr Cro sports website, translated by Mario Cuzic
Below is a translation from Sportnet.hr Cro sports website

Two days after reaching his biggest achievment in his career, capturing the Open Weight Grand Prix Championship, our best fighter Mirko Cro Cop Filipovic returned to Croatia. Mirko was greeted by a large number of fans at the Airport.

Zagrebs airfield was the place where many gathered to greet the man who won the prestgious Grand Prix belt. People from all over the country attended. Among them was former premiere Ivan Racan, minister of sports Dragan Primorac, Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandic and the closest members of his family.

Mirko was the first to take the mic, saying, “I would like to thank everyone for coming, I’ve said this before. There is no better feeling than when the people recognize and acknowledge you as a sports man.. I thank you again. I gave it my all because I knew I wasn’t alone. That is why I fought the way I did.”

Next Zvonimir Lucic(Mirko’s cornerman) spoke of the blood and sweat invested over Mirko’s 10 year career. He thanked everyone including those who turned their backs on Mirko.
“There are 6 billion people in the world and Mirko is the strongest among them.”

All 4 fights ended in the 1st round. He gave his best performance when it meant the most. Mirko was very focused and confident, so much so that he made the feared fighter Wanderlei Silva look non-threatening..After that everyone believed a win vs Josh Barnett was a sure thing. Josh Barnett defeated Minotauro via decision to meet Mirko in the final.

The whole event was shown on TV NOVA with a comparison between Mirko and Croat tennis star Goran Ivanisevic, they were both on the verge of being the best but came up short on several occasions. Goran lost in the Wimbledon finals 3 times before winning. Mirko lost in the K1 final to Dutchman Ernesto Hoost and suffered a loss to Emilianenko Fedor for the Pride HW belt just over a year ago.