K-1 will bring heavies to Hawaii
Two years after making its Hawaii debut, the K-1 fighting organization is returning to Hawaii for the USA Grand Prix event April 28 at the Blaisdell Arena.
Holland's Badr Hari (60-5-1) and Japan's Yusuke Fujimoto (23-12) won fights in yesterday's season-opening event in Yokohama, Japan, and will face each other for the newly created K-1 heavyweight title.
K-1 recently announced the formation of a heavyweight division (154-220 pounds) and a super heavyweight division (220-plus). Defending World Grand Prix champion Sammy Schilt of Holland knocked out New Zealand's Ray Sefo in the main event of yesterday's card to become the inaugural super heavyweight champion.
Fujimoto is the defending Asia Grand Prix champion, and advanced to the 2005 USA tournament final before losing to Gary Goodridge in front of approximately 12,000 fans at Aloha Stadium.
In addition to the heavyweight title fight, next month's event will again feature a one-night, eight-man, open-weight tournament under standard K-1 rules to determine America's representative in the Final Elimination show in Seoul in September.
Four tournament winners will join the eight finalists from last year's World Grand Prix final, both K-1 champions, and two more fighters selected by fan balloting, to comprise the 16 finalists for the September event.
The eight winners from that show will advance to the 2007 World Grand Prix Final in December.
The tournament participants have not yet been announced.
Hawaii's Scott Junk and Wesley "Cabbage" Correira competed in the 2005 tournament, but both lost in the first round.
Waimanalo's Chad Rowan (Akebono) fought for K-1 three times last year and is rumored to be on the card as well, although nothing official has been announced.