Before the money and before the fame, there was K-1. Today combat sports fans are a bit spoiled – you can watch whatever event you want on almost any device you want practically everywhere you want.
But it wasn’t always like that. In 1993 a global phenomenon was born thanks to the Japanese Kyokushin master Kazushi Ishii. In the ’70s and ’80s, the barbershop debates were circulating around the topics of “can this guy beat that guy” and “could this fella win a fight against this fighter”.
Ishii created K-1: an elimination kickboxing tournament that has been held annually since 1993 by the K-1 organization. Each year, K-1 held various 16-men, 8-match Grand Prix style tournaments throughout the world to determine which 16 fighters will compete in the K-1 World GP.
Some of the biggest Kyokushin and kickboxing legends participated in the tournament, making a name for themselves and most importantly, paving the way for thousands of people who followed in their footsteps.