|02-04-2004, 11:45 AM||#1|
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K-1 World Max 2004
As announced at the swank ANA Zenniku Hotel, the K-1 World Max 2004 will kick off with the World Max Japan tournament, set for February 24 at Yoyogi Stadium in downtown Tokyo.
The 8-man tournament will be fought under regular K-1 Max rules. The winner will advance to April 7 elimination tournament, which will be an 8-bout knockout format, the winners advancing to the World Max 2004 Final this summer.
Entering its third year, the World Max has proven very popular with fans, who are drawn to the speed and excitement the under-70kg format delivers. Albert Kraus won the first World Max Championship, and at Yoyogi he will face off against Takashi Ohno in a three minute, three round Superfight. Defending World Max Champion Masato (the first-ever Japanese K-1 World Champion) will get a bye to the April 7 tournament.
The lineup for the first K-1 World Max 2004 event is as follows:
The first matchup will pit 26 year-old kickboxer Hayato against Takayuki Kohiruimaki, who KO'd Tony Valente at the Budokan last November and is a perennial crowd favorite.
In the second bout, shootboxer Kenichi Ogata will take on kickboxer Kozo Takeda, who at 31 is the oldest fighter in the tournament.
In order to inspire the local fighters and "internationalize" the tournament, the third fight will be a showdown between the acrobatic Turk Zerkan Yilmaz and the tough Seidokaikan fighter Kazuya Yasuhiro.
The final matchup will pit newcomer "Kid" Yamamoto against Osaka's Takehiro Murahama. Although Murahama stands just 163cm, there is a lot of heart in this package, the never-say-die little guy gave both Masato and Andy Souwer a hard time in the ring last year -- inch for inch he is possibly the toughest fighter in the World Max class.
Also on the card, Musashi's younger brother Tomo will take on Toshio Matsumoto in a Superfight.
It was announced at the press conference that the purse for the event will total an impressive 11 million yen (?85,000, US$105,000). To encourage aggressiveness in the ring, there will also be a special bonus of 300,000 yen (just under 3,000 ?/US$) awarded for each KO.
The event starts at 6 pm Japan time, and will be broadcast in Japan on the TBS network. Check the K-1 Official Website (www.k-1.co.jp) for full coverage soon after the final bell.
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