We draw nearer and nearer to May 14th's It's Showtime Lyon event, featuring Badr Hari's return bout. The question that we've been slowly answering over the past few weeks is why exactly should we be excited about the return of Badr Hari and where did he go?
Badr Hari had a disappointing 2008, and 2009 was primed to be the year that he finally won a K-1 World Grand Prix title, and as we looked at in our last installment, he made it to the finals again only to be stopped in short order by Semmy Schilt, the now four-time K-1 World Grand Prix Champion. For Badr Hari, this was crushing, as he had worked all year at being "good" and focusing on fighting, finishing out the year at 5 - 1.
The question for 2010 was; now what? Badr Hari had shown self control, skill and power throughout 2010, but it still wasn't enough to get two wins over Semmy Schilt. He came so very, very close to being on top of the kickboxing world, but at the last minute choked. So now it looked like for Badr Hari he must go through another year's worth of trials to give it another shot. His year started off with a bout against solid up-and-comer Mourad Bouzidi for It's Showtime in Prague, Badr was looking for blood.
Bouzidi was able to hold on for the bell in the first round, but was clearly wobbled and ready to go down like a sack of bricks before the ref stepped in. The last combination of a left hook to the jaw and a right to the body was just missing the right hook follow up to put him down on the canvas. The second round starts with an all-out assault on Bouzidi, where a left finally puts him down. Bouzidi gets up only to get put back down a mere minute later by a barrage of lefts and rights. Bouzidi somehow staggers to his feet again to come back for more. Badr finally composes himself a bit and starts throwing more calculated shots until with 10 seconds left in the round he slips in a right uppercut that sends Bouzidi down for good.
What should be noted is the calm, controlled agression of Badr Hari that we saw in 2010 was gone, this Badr Hari was throwing wild flurries again and was being super agressive, caution-to-the-wind style.
What happens next led to his one year layoff, which we'll touch upon tomorrow.