Leko Replaces Injured Feitosa; Lighty Fills Las Vegas K-1 Tournament Void
April 25, 2006; New York, NY….Three-time K-1 tournament champion, Stefan “Blitz” Leko (50-13-1 (1 No Contest) (29 KO’s) will replace an injured Glaube Feitosa in K-1 Superfight action opposite Ruslan Karaev (163-10 (126 KO’s) while American Scott Lighty (25-8-2 (5 KO’s) will take Leko’s place in the eight-man, single elimination “Mayhem At Mirage II” tournament at Las Vegas, Nevada’s Mirage Hotel and Casino on Saturday.
The lineup shift for the annual spring K-1 affair comes after Feitosa sustained a broken toe during training camp.
The 31-year-old Leko brings to the table a history of success in Las Vegas K-1 competition. During the first-ever summer tournament there on August, 11, 2001, the German kickboxing stylist stopped three straight opponents, including three-time K-1 “World Grand Prix” champion, Peter Aerts, whom he sent to the canvas with a hard right hand in the championship round of the event. Considered one of the most dramatic moments in K-1 USA history, Leko’s knockout of Aerts also made waves in the mainstream sports world as footage of it was used in ESPN’s annual, year-end highlight video that recaptures the year’s most memorable moments in sports.
On May 2, 2003, Leko returned to Las Vegas where he faced “The Great Kusatsu” of Japan during a Superfight contest. In the second round of the bout scheduled for five rounds, the German smothered his tenacious opponent, scoring three knockdowns before being awarded a technical knockout victory.
Leko is expected to have his hands full with the 22-year-old Karaev, also a kickboxing stylist, who shocked the martial arts fight world by seizing the inaugural “Mayhem At Mirage” tournament championship last August as a 17 to 2 underdog. En route to the winner’s circle, Karaev displayed phenomenal speed and a vicious spinning back kick, one that earned him two knockdowns during the event, including a stoppage of France’s Freddy Kemayo.
Originally slated to square off in a tournament “reserve” bout, Lighty will make the second start of his career in the main draw of a K-1 tournament. During his debut last August, the 27-year-old Muay Thai fighter reached the championship round of the “Mayhem At Mirage” playoff where he lost a unanimous judges decision to Karaev.Lighty will face two-time world kickboxing champion and undefeated professional boxer, Dewey “The Black Kobra” Cooper (42-8-2 (26 KO’s), in the quarterfinal round of the event.
The K-1 “Mayhem At Mirage II” card will also be highlighted by the Las Vegas debut of reigning K-1 “World Grand Prix” champion, Semmy Schilt (36-15-2 (17 KO’s), who will lock horns with four-time K-1 Japan Grand Prix tournament victor, Musashi (43-21-5 (1 No Contest) (12 KO’s), in a Superfight.
During the quarterfinal round of the event’s eight man, single-elimination tournament, a grudge rematch will ensue between 2003 K-1 USA tournament champion, Carter Williams (37-12 (24 KO’s), and Japan’s Yusuke Fujimoto (18-10 (9 KO’s). The tournament will also see as the return of knockout artist “Big Daddy” Gary Goodridge (43-24 (31 KO’s) and Chalid “Die Faust” (12-4 (1 KO).
Tickets for “Mayhem At Mirage II” are on sale and can be purchased both online on K-1 USA’s official website, www.k-1usa.net, or at the Mirage Hotel and Casino box office (800-963-9634). Tickets are priced at $50, $100, $200, and $300, respectively.
The Mirage Grand Ballroom doors will open for the event at 5 PM Pacific Standard Time on Saturday. The first preliminary bout will begin at 5:30 PM and the tournament will commence at approximately 7 PM.
K-1 is a martial arts fighting sport that derives its name from its inclusion of a wide array of combat disciplines, including Karate, Kung-Fu, and Kickboxing (“K”), and its intent to determine one champion in one ring (“1”). After being staged for the first time in Japan in 1993 under the direction of founder Master Kazuyoshi Ishii, it later evolved into the country’s most popular sport and achieved popular culture status there as its athletes turned into larger-than-life celebrities.