‘Giant’ Steps Towards “The Beast”
TACOMA, WA.—Nearly 700 lbs. of human flesh will collide in the cage when 6’11” K-1 kickboxing star and undefeated professional boxer Jan “The Giant” Nortje (25-17) meets former University of Washington football standout and NFL lineman turned martial arts fighting sensation, Bob “The Beast” Sapp (8-2-1), in the main event of the “Strikeforce At The Dome” mixed martial arts event at Washington’s Tacoma Dome on Saturday, February 23rd.
Interestingly enough, the 32-year-old Nortje, who tips the scales at around 330 lbs, is a former training partner of Sapp. Nortje and his former training team were one of the first groups to help Sapp develop combat skills after The Beast entered the world of martial arts fighting in 2002.
“I’m extremely excited,” said Nortje. “I’ve always seen Bob get big opportunities so I think it’s my turn to show what I can do against him.”
Nortje is coming off a second round TKO victory over Dong Wook Kim. The matchup took place before over 17,000 fans at Japan’s Yokohama Arena on K-1’s “World GP 2007 Final” on December 8th.
A native of South Africa, Nortje relocated last year to Las Vegas, Nevada where he has been aggressively training with K-1 superstar and world kickboxing champion, Ray “Sugarfoot” Sefo. “It’s been a great experience so far. Ray is so knowledgeable in all areas of fighting,” Nortje said.
“Strikeforce At The Dome” is being presented by bodogFIGHT. Tickets for the event, priced at $150, $75 and $35, are on sale at all Ticketmaster locations (253-627-TIXS), the Tacoma Dome box office, Ticketmaster.com, and the official Strikeforce website, www.strikeforceusa.net.
Former UFC Heavyweight Champion and K-1 North America king, Maurice “Big Mo” Smith (73-20-4), will battle fellow legend and six-time world kickboxing champion, Rick “The Jet” Roufus (57-7), in a featured heavyweight contest during “Strikeforce At The Dome,” which will feature 10 world-class, professional mixed martial arts bouts.
Doors at Tacoma Dome will open for the event at 7 PM PST and the first fight will begin at 8 PM PST. The event is being promoted by Strikeforce in conjunction with Brian Halquist Productions.
About Tacoma Dome:
The Tacoma Dome is one of the largest wood domed structures in the world. It is owned and operated by the City of Tacoma’s Public Assembly Facilities Department. The Tacoma Dome hosts over one million guests annually. The Tacoma Dome Arena and its attached Exhibition Hall host over 300 days of events every year including WIAA high school sports, major concerts, family shows, and several tradeshows.
Strikeforce is a world-class mixed martial arts cage fight promotion which, on Friday, March 10, 2006, made history with its “Shamrock vs. Gracie” event, the first sanctioned mixed martial arts fight card in California state history. The star-studded extravaganza, which pitted legendary champion Frank Shamrock against Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Cesar Gracie at San Jose’s HP Pavilion, played host to a sold-out, record crowd of 18,265. Since 1995, Strikeforce has been the exclusive provider of martial arts programming for ESPN and, after 12 years of success as a leading, world championship kickboxing promotion, the company unveiled its mixed martial arts series with “Shamrock vs. Gracie.” Since then, it has produced the first SHOWTIME PPV mixed martial arts event in history with its world championship “Shamrock vs. Baroni” card on June 22nd of this year followed by the first-ever mixed martial arts event at the world-famous Playboy Mansion on September 29th.
About Brian Halquist Productions:
Brian Halquist Productions is the Northwest premiere fight promotion company creator of the famed “Battle at the Boat” boxing series now in its 12th year and nearly 100 fights at the Emerald Queen Casino. In the past year Brian Halquist Promotions has promoted events for ESPN, ShowTime and HBO and was recently featured on Showtime’s historic boxing event in St Lucia. BHP fighters included Undefeated David Torres, Undefeated Heavyweight Eric Fields and Native American Prospect Roger Cantrell. Brian Halquist Productions has been promoting fights and concerts for over 20 years in the Pacific Northwest.