Friday, March 7, 2008

Lightning Spread: K-1 World Grand Prix 1996 Final

October 1996. Andy Hug defeats Bart Vale by first round TKO at the K-1 World GP Prix Opening Round, securing a berth to the finals. In June, Hug would join Peter Aerts, Mike Bernardo, Musashi, Sam Greco, Ernesto Hoost, Mirko CroCop and Duane Van Der Merwe at the finals. A grueling affair, the K-1 World GP Finals would find its champion through tournament elimination. In the fourth bout of the first elimination round, Andy defeated South Africa's Duane Van Der Merwe with a quick left hook in the first round. His next fight would be a legendary showdown with Holland's Ernesto Hoost, which saw the two battle back and forth for three action packed rounds. Declared a draw, Hug and Hoost went to the first of two stipulated overtime rounds where they reached a draw again. In the second overtime round, Hug would pull off a split decision and clinch a spot in the Finals Finale against Mike Bernardo.
Fierce and formidable, South African Bernardo earned a KO victory over Peter Aerts and a decision over Musashi. In two earlier meetings, Bernardo had over powered Hug, winning by TKO and KO. Finally figuring out the big man's weak points, Hug went to work, dropping Bernardo to the mat with low kick after low kick. Streamers and confetti rained inside the arena as Andy Hug was declared the K-1 World Grand Prix 1996 champion.
Thanks to a recent YouTube post, you can now watch Andy's journey to the championship.