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Michael Schiavello K-1 GP final 2008 Preview and analysis



 

 

On December 6, MAIN EVENT and SKY NZ will broadcast the K-1 World Grand Prix Final live from the Yokohama Arena in Japan. K-1 commentator, MICHAEL SCHIAVELLO, presents an Armchair Guide for the biggest fight event on the planet.

 

 

 

THE LEGEND

 PETER AERTS

 

 

Country: The Netherlands

Titles: K-1 GP Champion 1994, 1995, 1998

Height: 192cm

Weight: 110kg

Recent Wins: Semmy Schilt (Dec), Jan Nortje (TKO)

K-1 Record: 62 – 21, 28 KO

 

 

The rejuvenation of Dutch Lumberjack Peter Aerts in recent times has set the K-1 world alight. The 37-year-old living legend – affectionately known as Mr K-1 – has shown that age can be overcome by an overwhelming desire to win and a big helping of intestinal fortitude.

Excepting his 30-minute call up fight against Ernesto Hoost in Amsterdam in May 2006, which Aerts lost by decision, the only person to have defeated Aerts in the last two years is Semmy Schilt – both times in the K-1 Grand Prix Final in 2006 and 2007. Of his last eleven victories, Aerts has knocked out eight opponents, including three in the first round.

His last fight against Semmy Schilt in Seoul on September 27 is one that will live on in fans’ memories for years to come. After calling out Schilt and taking the responsibility of “saving K-1” upon himself, Aerts stepped up to the plate and achieved what many thought was impossible when he soundly defeated the greatest K-1 fighter of this era over the distance in an epic performance.

In doing so Aerts signaled to the watching world that he is, as he was for most of the 1990s, once again the man to beat come December 6. Fit, hungry, smart and powerful, Aerts has all the tools to make history and win the title he last held a decade ago.

 

FOR AERTS: Experience, knockout ability and a rock solid chin.

AGAINST AERTS: Can he get through three torrid fights in one night or will old injuries prevail?

LOOK OUT FOR: The world’s most feared head kick

 

 

THE AWESOMENESS

 BADR HARI

 

Country: Morocco

Titles: K-1 World Heavyweight Champion

Height: 197cm

Weight: 101kg

Recent Wins: Hong Mann Choi (TKO), Glaube Feitosa (KO), Ray Sefo (KO)

K-1 Record: 11 – 3, 10 KO

 

Is there a more awesome fighter on the planet than the man I call The Human Highlight Reel?

Badr Hari is the most naturally gifted fighter I have ever seen and has proved it time and time again in 2008 with a string of stunning wins. His dismantling of Ray Sefo and then his utter demolition of Glaube Feitosa was frightening to watch. Against Domagoj Ostajic in Hawaii he produced one of the fastest K-1 knockouts ever with the first punch of the fight, and his obliteration of the giant Hong Mann Choi in Seoul – even after being knocked down by Choi – displayed the entire range of brutal striking at Hari’s disposal.

In his last ten wins, Hari has KO’d or TKO’d nine of his opponents, each one worthy of a highlight reel. With his deceptive height, lightning speed and natural power, Hari makes beating opponents look easy.

If there is one chink in Hari’s armor it may be his chin, but putting a clean shot on his kisser is a hard task, such is Hari’s speed and incredible reach.

Possessing the best jab in K-1 and excellence in execution of the basic jab/leg kick combination, Hari is a confidence fighter who is peaking in violence at the moment. His sheer aggression and massive desire to add the K-1 Grand Prix Championship to his mantelpiece make him one of the true favorites for glory this year.

 

 

FOR HARI: Incredible KO ability, fitness, aggression.

AGAINST HARI: Questionable chin

LOOK OUT FOR: His amazing jab / leg kick combination

 

 

THE KARATE KING

 EWERTON TEXEIRA

 

Country: Brazil

Titles: K-1 Japan GP Champion 2008, 9th World Open Karate Champion

Height: 187cm

Weight: 105kg

Recent Wins: Musashi (Dec), Fujimoto (KO), Maeda (Dec)

K-1 Record: 5 – 0, 2 KO

 

Continuing the proud Brazilian Kyokushin Karate tradition of Francisco Filho and Glaube Feitosa is K-1’s newest kid on the block, Ewerton Texeira.

The 9th World Open Karate Champion is undefeated in his new K-1 career and already has the K-1 Japan GP title under his black belt.

Training out of Team Ichigeki in Tokyo under the watchful eye of New Zealand duo Jayson Vemoa and Faii Falamoe, Texeira possess all the trademark Karate strengths – hard leg kicks, nice high roundkicks, level-headedness – along with newfound boxing skills that he uses to great effect.

Such is Texeira’s hand confidence that he has chosen to out-box rather than out-kick his opponents thus far. Indeed against southpaw veteran Musashi in Seoul on September 27, Texeira put on a boxing clinic, displaying a crisp jab and an affinity for a deceptively strong right cross.

Unbeaten in five fights and untouched, Texeira may still be a baby in K-1 terms but his growth spurt in recent fights has been phenomenal. A human computer who is being programmed to win with sound technique and not over-exert himself, the Kyokushin Karateka could be the man to finally deliver the most powerful martial arts organization in the world it’s first ever K-1 GP champion.

 

FOR TEXEIRA: Level-headedness, unemotional, sound all-rounder

AGAINST TEXEIRA: Lack of experience, hasn’t been tested against power hitters

LOOK OUT FOR: A beautiful right cross, deceptively strong leg kicks

 

 

 

THE BONECRUSHER

 

                                     ERROL ZIMMERMAN

 

Country: The Netherlands

Titles: K-1 European GP Champion 208

Height: 190cm

Weight: 100kg

Recent Wins: Glaube Feitosa (dec), Zabit Samedov (Dec), Bjorn Bregy (KO)

K-1 Record: 5 – 0, 3 KO

 

Errol Zimmerman represents the next generation of Dutch fighters intent on dominating K-1 with in-your-face aggression.

Named by FEG CEO Mr Tanikawa as the fighter to most keep an eye on and touted by many as a future K-1 Grand Prix Champion, will 2008 be Zimmerman’s time to capture the crown on first attempt or does he lack the experience to go all the way?

Undefeated in his five-fight K-1 career, Zimmerman shot to prominence in Amsterdam in April when he defeated (albeit controversially) Zabit Samedov by decision in a close fight. However it was against veteran Glaube Feitosa in Seoul on September 27 that Zimmerman showed why the pundits rate him so highly, as he man-handled and monstered a hapless Feitosa for three rounds – a hard fight for Feitosa’s fans to stomach.

Confident to the point of cocky, Zimmerman is a young fighter who throws caution to the wind and never has a dull fight, but his lack of caution could be his undoing as he tends to leave himself wide-open when attacking – a point that Texeira could expose with his crisp right cross.

Trained by the great Cor Hemmers out of Team Golden Glory, Zimmerman has the pedigree to be a K-1 GP champion but the question is whether he the experience to go through three top-tier fighters in one night?

 

FOR ZIMMERMAN: Crazy aggression, huge power

AGAINST ZIMMERMAN: Wide open when he attacks, lack of experience

LOOK OUT FOR: Cannonballs in his hands

 

 

 

THE FLASH

                                        RUSLAN KARAEV

 

 

Country: Russia

Titles: K-1 Asia GP champion 2008

Height: 188cm

Weight: 97.5kg

Recent Wins: Chalid Die Faust (KO), Young Hyun Kim (KO), Alexandre Pitchkounov (KO)

K-1 Record: 11 – 6, 6 KO

 

The most impressive mixture of speed and combinations in K-1, Karaev’s return to ring this year has been nothing short of rampant.

Following a year’s lay-off to care for his terminally ill mother (who passed away just before the Seoul event), Karaev returned to K-1 action in Taiwan and claimed the K-1 Asia GP title in cracking style, laying waste to all three opponents with blistering speed and overwhelming combination work.

Having won his last four fights by knockout, Karaev looks unstoppable and is once again enjoying himself in center ring.

Watching Karaev in full flight is as aesthetically a beautiful sight as you will see in K-1. Picture Don Wilson or Dennis Alexio circa 1990 fighting with leg kicks and knees and you get an indication of what sort of fighter Karaev is.

The question of Karaev’s jaw still remains, however, with none of his last four opponents even testing the Russian’s chin. Every time he has met a heavy-hitter in the past, Karaev has been badly hurt – just see his two fights against Ray Sefo and his fight against Melvin Maenhoff and you’ll know what I’m talking about. And don’t forget Chalid Die Faust dropped him in their Seoul fight before Karaev knocked out the German.

What Karaev lacks defensively he makes up for in aggression, speed and flashiness. But are those properties enough to see him climb to the top of the K-1 mountain?

 

FOR KARAEV: Awesome speed, overwhelming combinations

AGAINST KARAEV: His jaw, takes too many head shots

LOOK OUT FOR: His sheer combination work, his turning back kick to the gut

 

 

 

THE LEG SMASHER

 GHOKAN SAKI

 

 

Country: The Netherlands / Turkey

Titles: K-1 USA GP Champion 2008

Height: 182cm

Weight: 97kg

Recent Wins: Paul Slowinski (KO), Randy Kim (KO), Ray Sefo (dec)

K-1 Record: 7 – 1, 4 KO

 

Smashing legs and delivering powerful boxing combinations has made Ghokan Saki a force to be reckoned with in K-1 this year.

Undefeated in his last six K-1 fights, winning five of those by knockout, he claimed the K-1 USA title in quick and stunning fashion in August knocking out all three opponents.

Saki hails from the Golden Glory Gym in Holland where under the watchful eye of Cor Hemmers he has developed into a powerhouse who maintains a level head in center ring.

His defeat of Ray Sefo in Seoul on September 27 was a decision still widely debated, but few would argue that Saki deserves his place in the Grand Prix come December.

An amicable guy outside the ring, Saki’s overwhelming hunger to prove himself not only to fans but also to his K-1 peers has served him well this year. His desire to win is massive and more than makes up for any technical shortcomings in his game.

A ferocious leg kicker who possesses slick hands, so long as Saki doesn’t get flat-footed and can summon the stamina to run the Grand Prix gauntlet (he gassed a little against Sefo over four rounds) he could very well be a tournament dark horse.

 

FOR SAKI: Tub-thumping leg kicks

AGAINST SAKI: Yet to take on a K-1 Top 8 star

LOOK OUT FOR: Those ridiculous leg kicks

 

 

 THE FLYING DUTCHMAN

 REMY BONJASKY

 

Country: The Netherlands

Titles: 2003 & 2004 K-1 World Grand Prix Champion

Height: 192cm

Weight: 108.4kg

Recent Wins: Paul Slowinski (dec), Volk Atajev (KO), Melvin Maenhoff (KO)

K-1 Record: 33 – 8, 15 KO

 

Remy Bonjasky is a fighter whose success depends on the perfect alignment of his personal life, his emotional state and his physical being. In 2008 it would appear that Bonjasky’s moons are once again aligned and he is ready to reclaim the title he last held before the onset of the Schilt Era.

After a period in his career he’d rather forget when suffered the death of his mother, a divorce and separation from his kids, Bonjasky has a new lease on his emotional life with a new girlfriend to boot. To put it simply, the Dutchman is in a good place right now and that reflects in his fights, with three wins in 2008 including two knockouts.

What impresses most about Bonjasky is his near impenetrable defense, high work rate and the fact that he hardly ever loses – he has only had 8 losses in a 41 fight K-1 career, and has only lost twice in the last three years to Semmy Schilt and Peter Aerts.

With the legendary Ivan Hippolyte in his corner and regularly sparring Mirko Cro Cop, Bonjasky comes into every fight with a game plan and sticks to it. He still lacks a little in the boxing department – his hands are fast and accurate but without any real starch – but the man who hardly loses has all the tools to recapture the GP belt and hang it off his shoulder alongside his stunning new lady.

 

FOR BONJASKY: Water-tight defense, great cardio, high work rate

AGAINST BONJASKY: Let’s hope he’s still with his girlfriend come December 6!

LOOK OUT FOR: His flying knees

 

 

THE BRICK HITHOUSE

 JEROME LeBANNER

 

Country: France

Titles: 1995 & 2002 K-1 World GP Runner Up

Height: 190cm

Weight: 122.5kg

Recent Wins: Junichi Sawayashiki (dec), Hong Mann Choi (dec)

K-1 Record: 43 – 16 - 2, 29 KO

 

The greatest K-1 fighter to never win the Grand Prix, LeBanner takes another roll of the dice come December though it won’t be his last.

LeBanner recently signed a three-year contract with K-1, meaning we’ll be seeing plenty more of the Battling Cyborg. However with Semmy Schilt out of this year’s GP, if LeBanner can get past Bonjasky in his quarterfinal this may finally be his year to win the big one.

In his last fight against Junichi Sawayashiki in Seoul, LeBanner looked decent but not overly impressive. His failure to put away a fighter he would have pounded to the astral plane six years ago may be a sign that LeBanner is losing his ability to put opponents away. Indeed LeBanner has only had one knockout win in K-1 in the last three years!

If LeBanner’s legendary knockout ability is gone, he will have his work cut out for him come December 6 when he takes on Bonjasky in the quarterfinals. Bonjasky is a fighter who has only been stopped three times in his career and, as stated earlier, has a near impenetrable defense.

What LeBanner still possesses, however, is his walk-forward fight style, ability to constantly pressure opponents and his natural aggression. His super heavyweight title challenge of Semmy Schilt in Fukuoka ended in a decision to Schilt but could just as easily have gone LeBanner’s way as he put the pressure on the champion for three rounds solid.

 

FOR LeBANNER: His aggression, his punching power

AGAINST LeBANNER: He may gas out

LOOK OUT FOR: The hands that have given him K-1’s highest KO percentage

 


 

QUARTER FINAL STRENGTH MATCH UPS

 

 

Peter Aerts vs Badr Hari

 

Boxing

Hari *****

Aerts ****

 

Low Kicks

Hari *****

Aerts *****

 

High Kicks

Hari *****

Aerts *****

 

Knees

Hari ****

Aerts *****

 

Aggression

Hari *****

Aerts *****

 

Jaw

Hari ***

Aerts *****

 

Stamina

Hari ****

Aerts ***

 

Combinations

Hari *****

Aerts ***

 

KO Ability

Hari *****

Aerts *****

 

Experience

Hari **

Aerts *****

 

Overall Score

Hari: 43

Aerts: 45

 

 

Ewerton Texeira vs Errol Zimmerman

 

Boxing

Texeira ***

Zimmerman ***

 

Low Kicks

Texeira ****

Zimmerman ***

 

High Kicks

Texeira ****

Zimmerman ***

 

Knees

Texeira ***

Zimmerman ***

 

Aggression

Texeira **

Zimmerman *****

 

Jaw

Texeira ****

Zimmerman ****

 

Stamina

Texeira ****

Zimmerman ***

 

Combinations

Texeira ****

Zimmerman ****

 

KO Ability

Texeira **

Zimmerman ****

 

Experience

Texeira *

Zimmerman *

 

Overall Score

Texeira: 31

Zimmerman: 33

 

 

Ghokan Saki vs Ruslan Karaev

 

Boxing

Saki ***

Karaev ****

 

Low Kicks

Saki *****

Karaev ***

 

High Kicks

Saki ****

Karaev ****

 

Knees

Saki **

Karaev **

 

Aggression

Saki ***

Karaev *****

 

Jaw

Saki ****

Karaev *

 

Stamina

Saki ***

Karaev ****

 

Combinations

Saki ***

Karaev *****

 

KO Ability

Saki ****

Karaev ****

 

Experience

Saki **

Karaev ****

 

 

 

 

Overall Score

 

Saki: 33

Karaev: 36

 

 

Remy Bonjasky vs Jerome LeBanner

 

Boxing

Bonjasky **

LeBanner *****

 

Low Kicks

Bonjasky *****

LeBanner ****

 

High Kicks

Bonjasky *****

LeBanner ***

 

Knees

Bonjasky *****

LeBanner **

 

Aggression

Bonjasky **

LeBanner *****

 

Jaw

Bonjasky *****

LeBanner ***

 

Stamina

Bonjasky *****

LeBanner ***

 

Combinations

Bonjasky *****

LeBanner ***

 

KO Ability

Bonjasky ***

LeBanner *****

 

Experience

Bonjasky *****

LeBanner *****

 

 

 

Overall Score

 

 

Bonjasky: 42

 

LeBanner: 38

 

http://www.thevoiceonline.info/page19.htm

 




Comments

Post new comment
D-rop, Video editor (2420 posts)
Posted: 2008-11-06 at: 05:01
This is great reading material.
Thanks Eldarbong.

And Schiavello knows what he´s talking about.
Daniel, Sweden reporter (2501 posts)
Posted: 2008-11-06 at: 05:16
well written and verry interesting to read. I would be fun to see who he thiks would win this rather open GP final..

thanx for posting..
Pablo (795 posts)
Posted: 2008-11-06 at: 06:46
Real interesting insight into the matter, thanks!
... I also wonder about the Karaev-jaw issue, it lends a bit of suspense...
Eldarbong (989 posts)
Posted: 2008-11-06 at: 11:58
I really enjoyed reading this too... I think his analysis is great, the man knows his K1!
Eldarbong (989 posts)
Posted: 2008-11-06 at: 11:59
And I agree, it will be scary seeing how karaev does... I hope he doesn't get knocked out in the first round of the first match like in 2006...
Pablo (795 posts)
Posted: 2008-11-07 at: 04:36
yeah, it was really disappointing
ricardo (126 posts)
Posted: 2008-11-08 at: 04:52
very nice analyse by shiavello
Post new comment

Author

Eldarbong


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