The following is a press release from K-1.
K-1 SIGNS NINE HOPEFULS FROM TRYOUTS, ALL FIGHTERS TO MAKE K-1 DEBUT SEPT. 8
JAMES “THE BEAST” WILSON vs. DOUG SAUER
JERMAINE SOTO vs. DAMIEN EARLEY
MIKE LEMAIRE vs. DYLAN CLAY
LERDSILA CHUMPAIRTOUR vs. GABRIEL VARGA
AND SHOWTYNG WEDDERBURN
Los Angeles, CA - When K-1 make its long-awaited return to the United States on Saturday, Sept. 8 at the LA Sports Arena, fight fans will see fast-paced, aggressive matchups between K-1 legends and veterans. They will see fights between the sport's newest generation of young, talented kickboxers. And just announced today, they also will witness the debut of nine brand new faces who were just signed to the organization as a result of the K-1 Open Tryouts held last month.
Doug Kaplan, K-1 CEO, has revealed that K-1 has called back nine fighters who went through the official tryout process and has not only signed them to K-1, but that they will make their K-1 debut as part of the U.S. Grand Prix Championship event.
“There was an incredible display of passion and talent at the K-1 Open Tryouts, and as a result we have discovered nine new fighters and signed them to K-1,” said Kaplan. “Six of these fighters will compete in the undercard, and three more are slotted to the main card in the Superfights. In all, there are about 30 more guys to be called back for additional drills, including some sparring, and we will do that as soon as possible. There are athletes all over the world that we want, and we are figuring out the right opportunity to bring them in.”
Tickets for the K-1 Rising U.S. World Grand Prix Championship on Saturday, Sept. 8 are available for purchase through www.ticketmaster.com, or by calling Ticketmaster at 1-866-448-7849. Tickets are also available at the LA Sports Arena Box Office located at 3939 S. Figueroa Street in Los Angeles or by calling (213) 748-6131.
The first two Hopefuls to officially fight as K-1 athletes is Los Angeles’ own James “The Beast” Wilson (3-0) 6’1”/255 lbs. vs. Doug Sauer (8-1), a native of Troy, Missouri who is 6’0” and 240 lbs.
The second pair of Hopefuls making their K-1 and their professional kickboxing debut on Sept. 8 is Jermaine Soto vs. Damien Earley. Soto, a native of Van Nuys, California is 5’11”/154 lbs. Earley, 6’1”/154 lbs., is fighting out of Scottsdale, Arizona and will kick off his K-1 career at just 21 years of age.
The last pair of K-1 Hopefuls to make the Sept. 8 K-1 undercard is Mike LeMaire (1-0) who is taking on Dylan Clay (2-0). LeMaire, 6’1”/185 lbs. is 24 years old and fighting out of San Diego, California. The 33 year old 6’0”/185 lb. Clay comes to K-1 out of Durango, Colorado.
Also making their first appearance ever in the world’s largest and oldest kickboxing promotion in history is 5’6” Lerdsila Chumpairtour, known better as Mr. Lighting (6-5-5-Draw) and 5’6”/140 lbs. Gabriel Varga (23-1), who compete against each other in a Superfight on the main card of the U.S. Grand Prix Championship on Sept. 8.
Lerdsila considers himself a traditional Muay Thai fighter and intends to represent Thailand in his debut fight with Varga. When Mr. Lighting tried out at Venice Beach, he put his massive showmanship on display and the crowd exploded. The panel of judges knew they were watching something special. He and his camp said they took a gamble bringing Lerdsila to the tryouts, but it has paid off. Now, on September 8, friends, fans and family of Chumpairtour will get to watch him compete on the biggest kickboxing stage in the world.
Lerdsila’s opponent, Varga, intends to become a world champion in the style of fighting he loves most, which is K-1. He stands out as much for his friendliness and respect as he does for his superior level of kickboxing skills, Varga considers himself a true martial artist and believes in the code of honor that goes hand in hand with the sport.
Also, 6’1”/185 lb. Showtying Wedderburn (11-1) will make his K-1 debut in a main card Superfight against (name/record/stats). While training in Bangkok, Thailand, Weddderburn heard about the K-1 tryouts and immediately launched a campaign of rocketing inbound emails to the K-1 fighter relations department. Then came the calls. Not yet satisfied, he then flew to the Venice Beach for the tryouts and finally succeeded in his effort to make himself known to the crowd and the judges. Less than a month later, he was called back and successfully signed to fight on the Sept. 8 U.S. Grand Prix Championship fight card in Los Angeles.
“I want to be sure that all the Hopefuls know how much K-1 appreciates each and every person who came together for our Open Tryouts,” said Kaplan. “We look forward to finding opportunities for many more in our series of events planned for next year. My message to everyone is to keep training safely, keep working hard, and please keep in touch through the K-1 Facebook and Twitter update us on the progress of your career.”