TOKYO, February 1, 2008 -- The K-1 World Max '08 season kicks off tomorrow with the World Max Japan Tournament. Set at the historic Nippon Budokan, the event features an eight-man elimination tournament fought under K-1 Max Rules (70kg/152lbs weight class; 3min. x 3R Ex.1R). There will also be a couple of Superfights and a trio of K-1 World Youth showcase bouts. Participating fighters (minus those who had to be in school) met the media today at the Happo-En Hotel in central Tokyo.
The attrition tournament will determine Japan's official representative at this year's World Max Final. All fighters appeared relaxed and in excellent condition, and pledged to do their best.
In the first matchup it will be Nigerian-Japanese kickboxer Andy Ologun vs karate stylist Yuya Yamamoto. The second bout sees Keiji Ozaki, a taekwondo fighter, stepping in against muay thai stylist Yasuhiro Kido.
Starting the second bracket will be a couple of boxers, go-to guy Tatsuji and tough customer Hiroyuki Maeda -- who, at 36 years of age is the tournament veteran. Last up, it's Ryuji, who brings a record of 23 wins and 4 losses to his fight with kickboxer Hayato.
Winners in their first-fights will square off in a pair of semifinal bouts, with the two victors facing off in the final.
In Superfights, it will be two-time World Max Champion Buakaw Por Pramuk of Thailand taking on two-time and defending Max Japan Champion Yoshihiro Sato; and dynamic Ukrainian muay thai fighter Artur Kyshenko stepping in against meat and potatoes kickboxer Shingo Garyu of Japan.
The event also provides a peek at some up-and-coming K-1 talent, in the U-18 K-1 World Youth Competition. Three matches will be contested under K-1 Rules, with a 60kg/132lb contract and a Japan vs Holland theme: Japanese wunderkind Hiroya will take on Robby Hageman; Shota Shimada will tango with Roy Tan; and Kizaemon Saiga will go up against Bappie "Baby Face" Tetteroo. The Japanese side are being managed by Team Dragon President Kensaku Maeda; while the legendary Andre Mannaart stands at the helm of the Dutch effort.
The K-1 World Max Japan starts at 2:30 on Saturday Feb 2 at the Budokan in central Tokyo. The event will be broadcast live in Japan on the TBS network. Delay-broadcasts will bring the action to a total of 135 countries -- for scheduling information contact local providers. Visit the K-1 Official Website (www.k-1.co.jp/k-1gp) for official results and comprehensive coverage of this and all K-1 events.