April 2, 2006; New York, NY….Their first encounter ended abruptly with a dramatic knockout. Last year’s rematch simply ended with blood spill. This time around, 2003 K-1 USA tournament champion Carter Williams (37-12 (24 KO’s) and Japan’s Yusuke Fujimoto (18-10 (9 KO’s) are both promising an explosive ending to their personal grudge that will enter a third chapter during the opening tournament round of Saturday, April 29th’s K-1 “Mayhem At Mirage II” extravaganza at Las Vegas, Nevada’s Mirage Hotel and Casino.
On May 2, 2003, a ferocious Williams stopped Fujimoto in the second round of their matchup with a crushing right hook to the head en route to being crowned tournament champion at the Mirage.
A different scenario unfolded during the pair’s rematch at Las Vegas’s Bellagio Hotel and Casino on April 30th of last year when a much-improved Fujimoto put pressure on Williams early in their quarterfinal round contest. In a brash effort to fight his way out of trouble, Williams countered Fujimoto’s offensive with a series of punches before grabbing and pulling down the Japanese Karate stylist’s head into a Williams knee, a technique considered illegal in the state of Nevada. (Note: Knee strikes are permitted, but a fighter may not use his hands to pull his opponent’s head down in order to set up the knee strike.)
The shot left Fujimoto’s nose broken and badly bloodied, forcing a stoppage of the bout and his withdrawal from the tournament. K-1’s “survivor rule” allowed Williams to advance to the semifinal round where he was defeated at the hands of eventual tournament victor, Glaube Feitosa.
Based on comments he recently made to the media, Fujimoto apparently still has a bitter taste in his mouth from the manner in which the bout unfolded last year and is keen on getting payback.
“I (intend) not only to win the fight against Carter, but also (to) break his nose,” said the typically outspoken Fujimoto at a press conference held in Japan on March 29th. The 30-year-old Fujimoto is preparing for the event at the Seido Kaikan Karate training center in Osaka, Japan. “Carter is just a step for me to achieve my goal, which is becoming the Las Vegas champion.”
Since the spectacular run he made in Sin City three years ago as a 17 to 1 underdog, Williams has struggled to reclaim the glory that accompanies one to the winner’s circle of a K-1 tournament. To his credit, though, he recently acquired the assistance of “Dr. Knee” Ganyao Fairtex and Jongsanan Fairtex, two of the top Muay Thai trainers in The United States.
A former troubled teen, Williams was discovered at age 19 by AAA Kickboxing Academy owner and head trainer, Gene Fields, who steered the youngster away from the streets and into the gym. Under Fields, Williams later earned his black belt in Tae Kwon Do.
The K-1 “Mayhem At Mirage II” card will also be highlighted by a Superfight showdown between 2005’s two Las Vegas K-1 tournament winners, Glaube Feitosa (63-15-1 (59 KO’s) and Ruslan Karaev (159-8 (125 KOs) as well as the return of Stefan Leko (24-12 (14 KO’s), who will face American Dewey “The Black Kobra” Cooper (42-8-2 (26 KO’s) in the tournament’s quarterfinal round. The names of the event’s remaining four tournament participants will be announced shortly as will additional Superfight matchups.
Tickets for “Mayhem At Mirage II” are officially 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 April 29th. 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.