K-1 Japan has been lighting the world on fire with their tournaments and events highlighting mostly fighters at and under 70kg, to the point where a huge chunk of the best fighters under 70kg are all under the K-1 Japan banner. Now K-1 Japan is looking to return to the K-1 roots by kickstarting their heavyweight division with a heavyweight grand prix on November 23rd.
While the names might not be fully-inspired, it’s a start for them and will set the tone for future heavyweight fights and events. With K-1 running heavyweight fights more regularly they’ll also attract more heavyweight talent on name value alone, with many fighters dreaming of one day competing in K-1 who had given up on that dream seeing it as a viable option.
The tournament itself has been announced, with a few recognizable names in the mix. Most of the fighters have been competing under the K-1 Japan family of events of KRUSH, K-1 Japan and KHAOS, including qualifiers for this tournament. The early favorite would have to be Ibrahim El Bouni who mostly competes at 95kg but has some solid wins (and is ranked by us thanks to a win over Fabio Kwasi at heavyweight). Another name to look out for is Roel Mannaart, the son of legendary Andre Mannaart. Roel has been developing really well in Europe and is very technical with his hands, showing a lot of promise.
K-1 World Grand Prix in Japan Heavyweight Grand Prix
Final 8: Makoto Uehara vs. Pacome Assi
Final 8: K-JEE vs. Antonio Plazibat
Final 8: Masahiro Iwashita vs. Roel Mannaart
Final 8: Koichi Pettas vs. Ibrahim El Bouni