It is with deep regret and profound sadness that we inform you that Branko “The Croatian Tiger” Cikatic passed away earlier today at the age of 65, per numerous Croatian outlets.
The kickboxing legend will forever be remembered as the first-ever K-1 World Grand Prix heavyweight champion in 1993.
Cikatic was born on October 3, 1954, in Split, Yugoslavia. He starts training taekwondo at the age of 12 and later Shotokan Karate at 16. He eventually earned a black belt in both of these disciplines, as well as a blue belt in Judo. When he was 18 years old, he took up boxing before switching to kickboxing.
He surprised the martial arts world by taking the 1993 K-1 Grand Prix tournament by storm, knocking out all three of his opponents in one evening, including Ernesto Hoost in the final match. To date, Cikatić is the oldest winner of the K-1 Grand Prix at 38 years and 208 days.
He was a three-time WAKO european champion as an amateur and a two-time muay thai world and euroepan champion as a pro.
Unfortunately, Cikatic was battling with health issues in the last two years, as there are no reports up to this moment of a potential coronavirus case.