Cyril Abidi Looking to Revive Age-Old Rivalry with Jerome Le Banner

In the age of the professional sport of kickboxing there isn’t a whole lot of bad blood anymore. Sure, Badr Hari can turn things up when he wants to, but that feeling of pure hatred still isn’t quite there, especially when Rico Verhoeven and him embrace after an odd fight. Badr Hari is a businessman now and his brand — as tainted as it is — is still Badr Hari.

There’s not much pure hatred left. That’s why when one retired fighter saw that K-1 legend Jerome Le Banner was looking to step back into the ring against somewhat rival Patrice Quarteron he saw not only a chance for revenge, but a chance for redemption for a career that was ended too soon. That man is Cyril Abidi. According to a source close to Abidi, the Frenchman is back in the gym training and looking to make a return to the ring, if the conditions are right. What conditions are those, exactly? He’s looking to get a rematch against fellow Frenchman Jerome Le Banner after their 2005 knockdown, drag-out war that led to the infamous JLB hematoma.

There’s a lot of backstory to this fight, all the way back in 2003 after Abidi’s corner threw in the towel against Alexey Ignashov in Paris, with Jerome Le Banner having harsh words for Abidi directly after the fight and a brawl ensuing. To say that there was bad blood is an understatement, so when K-1 returned to France it felt textbook to pit the two men against each other, as well as making it a rare five-round fight due to their dispute.

What ensued was a five-round battle of attrition that saw the heavy-handed Le Banner hurting Abidi, but Abidi never relenting. Abidi, visibly limping after a motorcycle accident, wasn’t 100%, nor was he for the rest of his brief career. Yet, Abidi stayed in the fight and a clash of heads led to Le Banner’s legendary hematoma.

The referee was forced to stop the fight in the fifth round, but both men had been through a brutal battle. Abidi would only fight three more times after this fight, while Le Banner would fight for ten more years, accruing world titles along the way. But with JLB having a new manager and eyeing a return to the ring, the time seems right for Cyril Abidi to return as well and for these two men to finally settle the score in the ring with a healthy Abidi.