30 years K-1 through the eyes of the eternal rivals Aerts and Hoost

30 years K-1 through the eyes of the eternal rivals Peter Aerts and Ernesto Hoost along with the truth behind the Bob Sapp’s escape.

On 30.04.1993 in the first hall of the Yoyogi National Sports Complex, the first edition of “K-1 Grand Prix ’93: The World’s Strongest Martial Arts Tournament with a prize fund of $100,000” was held, and this year K-1 celebrates its 30th anniversary.

On the occasion of the tournament’s 30th anniversary, the martial arts magazine Gong Kakutogi ran a special feature entitled K-1’s 30th Anniversary, featuring a conversation between one of K-1’s most iconic fighters, who won the title of heavyweight tournament 4 times – Ernesto Hoost – and three-time champion nicknamed Mr. K-1 – Peter Aerts (both from the Netherlands).

“I miss those times. It’s unbelievable that it’s been 30 years since then” – says Hoost. “Many things happened. Andy Hug, Mike Bernardo, Branko Cikatic… Our comrades-in-arms from that time are no longer here,” Aerts adds, both of them looking back on those 30 years.

Rivals in the ring, the two have faced each other a total of 6 times, with a record of 4 wins and 2 losses for Hoost. Among all these battles, however, Hoost’s last match, held in 2006 in the Netherlands, remains unforgettable for both of them. Hoost initially named Bob Sapp as his opponent, with whom he has scores to settle, and the match was planned as a rematch between the two, but 1 hour before the start of the battle, Sapp “ran away”. As a matter of urgency, Aerts comes out in his place, who at that moment is commenting on the matches for the telecast.

[Photo] The two facing each other in the first ever match of the K-1 heavyweight tournament on 30.04.1993.

The match was played in 3 rounds and ended with a 2-0 decision. “I can only thank Peter.” – says Hoost – “And I want to correct an injustice. This was a demonstrative, friendly match. I had prepared for a match with Sapp and when the match cards changed, I agreed to accept the match on the condition that it be a demonstrative match. Peter also received the proposition literally an hour before the battle. No matter how you look at it, there was no way this was going to be an official fight. On the part of K-1, they insisted that it be presented as an official match, and that’s why I kept quiet then, but in the Netherlands this meeting was perceived as unofficial. And now I want to make a correction.” Thus, 17 years after the bout, it is clear that the official result of the matches between the two is 3 wins against 2 losses.

In the article both of them also shared their memories of the late Andy Hug and Mike Bernardo, events from the first K-1 tournament in 1993, details of their first fight and their rivalry, the truth behind the Bob Sapp escape case and their thoughts on K-1, the 30th anniversary of which we are celebrating. Not less intriguing are the photos – two shots of them already of age and photos from their battles in their younger years.

(Gong Katkutogi magazine, issue No. 325, from May 2023, based on material by Takao Matsui/translation by Shu Inagaki)

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