Playback ’04] Akebono and Bob Sapp, who have just moved to “K-1”, are the underdogs before the “Fight of the Century”. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Playback ’04] Akebono and Bob Sapp, who have just moved to “K-1”, are the underdogs before the “Fight of the Century”.

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The “cat punch”?

What did “FRIDAY” report 10, 20, and 30 years ago? In “Playback Friday,” we take a look back at the topics that were popular at the time. In this issue, we will report on “Akebono’s K-1 Challenge: ‘Old Knee Injury’ and ‘Cat Punches,'” which appeared 20 years ago in the January 2, 2004 issue of FRIDAY.

Akebono (34 at the time), a former yokozuna who was a good opponent of Wakataka in the 1990s, suddenly announced his entry into K-1 on November 6, 2003. Akebono was inundated with media coverage on a daily basis, attracting even more attention than when he was a yokozuna. This magazine covered his training at the time.

In just one month, he has become more like a fighter.

He was so full of confidence.

Blood tastes good.

I can’t say too much, but there will be big fireworks on New Year’s Eve.

I’m going to kill Sapp!

I want to fight Tyson next.”

One month after announcing his participation in K-1, the former Yokozuna, Akebono, has become more “like” himself. Akebono has been training hard day in and day out.

Akebono has been training hard day after day. However, he was not prepared for the challenge of kickboxing, which he was not accustomed to, in addition to the three-year blank since his retirement. There were also concerns about “old injuries from the past. The article goes on to say the following

The photo was taken during a public sparring session, but is it just this magazine that can’t help but smile? The gym also has members of the general public, and during practice, an old lady asked, “Are you sure you are okay with such a limp-wristed punch? One of the reporters from a martial arts magazine was also worried about him.

A reporter for a martial arts magazine was also concerned.

It is a well-known fact that Akebono is carrying bombs in both knees. The damage to the left meniscus in particular has not healed, and once he fell down, he would not have been able to get back up by himself. Akebono says he had a hard time in the sumo crouching posture, but he is fine in the standing posture.

He was coached by Steve Caracoda, who has a reputation for coaching large players, and he was teaching him a cross guard to protect his face. The plan was that as long as he could protect his face, his body would be safe because of his meat armor, but in a sparring session with Francois Botha on November 27, he was easily attacked and his face was covered in blood.

According to several sources interviewed by this magazine, the odds are in Sapp’s favor, but if Akebono, who weighs about 70 kg more, continues to apply pressure, the odds may be in Akebono’s favor. What will the outcome be?

Many of you may already know the outcome of the fight. On New Year’s Eve of that year, at the “K-1 PREMIUM 2003 Dynamite! Akebono was knocked unconscious by a straight right hand from Bob Sapp at 2:58 of the first round, and the referee stopped counting midway through the bout, as Akebono lay motionless on his face, face down in the ring. The referee stopped the count midway through the fight. The scene, which was broadcast live on TV, received an instantaneous viewership rating of 43%, surpassing the ratings for the Kohaku event, which was broadcast in the background.

In fact, on New Year’s Eve 2003, three commercial martial arts programs were broadcast behind the NHK Kohaku Uta Gassen, including TBS’s “Dynamite! (TBS), “PRIDE Special Otoko Matsuri 2003” (Fuji TV), and “Inokibombaye 2003: Become an Idiot, Dream on” (NTV).

Dynamite!” was the winner of these three programs, with a 19.5% viewer rating. was the overwhelming winner. Akebono’s stunning defeat was watched closely by all of Japan.

Akebono continued to fail to show results in K-1 and mixed martial arts, but in 2005 she switched to professional wrestling and was active in various events and promotions of various organizations such as “All Japan Pro-Wrestling” and “Hustle”. In 2003, he had a rematch with Bob Sapp at “RIZIN” and lost a decision. Did Akebono make up for that loss?

He said boldly, “The basic movements of K-1 and sumo are the same.” ……
He says that his daily training has enabled him to wear 4X clothes (he used to wear 7X).
During his yokozuna days, he was often seen as a heel, as a rival to Wakaki, but he had a reputation for being serious and polite.
I still couldn’t deny that he was generally unathletic.
  • PHOTO Noboru Hashimoto

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