Over 100 applicants have registered for the two-day open fighter tryouts that K-1 is offering at Las Vegas, Nevada’s Bellagio next Friday, August 11th and Saturday, August 12th, the day of its “Battle at Bellagio” fight card.
Open to all fighters in all weight classes, the two-day trial period will serve as a means of recruiting new blood, not only for K-1’s stand-up fighting circuit, but also for its mixed martial arts roster.
“The response has been tremendous from both mixed martial artists and kickboxers,” said Sven Bean, K-1 North America’s Director of Fighter Development. Since martial arts fighting’s premiere organization began holding its open trials on an annual basis in 2003, Bean has been responsible for coordinating and overseeing all tryout activities. “This could be the best tryout yet and, there are still some spots open, so I strongly encourage any fighter who thinks they have what it takes to take advantage of this opportunity.”
“It’s the opportunity of a lifetime for anyone looking to do this for a living and make a name for themselves in the sport,” said 25-year-old Patrick Barry, a graduate of the first open tryout in K-1 history, held at the Bellagio in August 2004. Barry, a powerful heavyweight Muay Thai striker, has since seen action in K-1 events staged in both Japan and Las Vegas, including April 29th’s “Mayhem At Mirage II” affair, where he battled Russia’s Alexandre Pitchkounov in a tournament reserve contest. “The tryouts really helped launch my career with K-1. Before that, I was just kind of floating around and looking for a window that would lead to a shot in the big-time. It’s a great feeling now to know that people 18,000 miles away know my name.”
The April card staged at Las Vegas’s Mirage hotel and casino also hosted the debut of another K-1 tryout veteran, Dan Green. In 2005, Green, a former amateur boxer and kickboxer from Utah, was simply a number amongst over 100 contestants vying for a place with the fight promotion.
Tryout participants will partake in various exercises that test a wide array of skills including speed, power, coordination, flexibility, and knowledge of the sport. They will also engage in modified sparring sessions with one another.
In addition to Bean, a group of judges as well as executives from K-1 Japan and K-1 USA will observe the tryouts and make recruiting decisions. Judges of past K-1 open fighter tryouts have included legendary K-1 competitor Sam Greco as well as three-time K-1 tournament champion, Michael McDonald, and 2005 K-1 World Grand Prix Hawaii champion, “Big Daddy” Gary Goodridge.
Those who wish to register for the tryout should contact Bean via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or should fax a request for an official tryout application to 303-400-1756. Candidates will be required to make their own arrangements for travel and stay in Las Vegas during the tryout period.
K-1 will supply all boxing gloves and headgear for the tryouts. Participants will be required to bring their own shorts and protective equipment including a groin protector, a mouthpiece, and shin guards.
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.