LATE NIGHT FIGHTS 13: Cinderella Has an Iron Jaw Part 2: Welcome to the K1 World Grand Prix 2001

Bloody Elbow is the premier MMA community, and it is because every single user brings something to the table whether in the form of humerous banter or expert knowledge in a one of the martial arts. Being a huge fight fan, i believe this is my contribution to the BE community. LATE NIGHT FIGHTS as a series was created in order to highlight great classics and those fights that are often cited but rarely seen as well as the past, present and future legends of MMA in their early non UFC or non MMA bouts. - KJJ

Mark Hunt was born into a large, tight knit Samoan family in a tough suburb of South Auckland, New Zealand. He was a troubled kid and had no intentions to be a professional fighter, until one late night altercation outside a nightclub in Auckland changed the course of his life. The brawl did not last long, Hunt knocked out his adversary. One of the bouncers at the door was so impressed by the young man’s knockout power and invited him to Sam Marster's Gym to take up formal training. A couple of weeks later in 1995 in Otahuhu, New Zealand, Hunt was in the ring on his Kickboxing debut and knocked out his opponent Gary Hart in the second round. Mark got a six-pack of beers as payment and the bouncer became his first muay thai coach. Later that year Mark moved to Sydney, Australia to train with Alex Tui. Few years later he settled in Liverpool Kickboxing Gym under fellow Samoan instructor Hape Nganoroa.

Mark Hunt is a bad dude. One look at the fighters he has faced over the years and you realize Mark is no can crusher. This list includes: Semmy Schilt, Gary Goodridge, Jerome Le Banner x3, Stefan Leko x2, Franciso Filho, Mike Bernardo, Adam Watt, Ray Sefo, Peter Graham x2, Hiromi Amada, Chris TuchschererGegard MousasiMelvin ManhoefAlistair OvereemFedor EmelianenkoJosh Barnett, Tsuyoshi Kohsaka, Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic x2, Wanderlei Silva, Dan Bobish, Hidehiko Yoshida, Rony Sefo. Hunt has faced big power punchers, lethal kickers, top flight catch wrestlers, Muay Thai technicians, World Champon Kuyoshin Karateka's, Revered Judo Masters, Pro Boxers,  International Sambo Champion and HW Goat Fedor, and a bevy of Former, Present, and Future K1,Strikeforce, Its Showtime!, PRIDE, World Boxing Organization and UFC title fighters and Champions. Follow me through this three part series detailing one of the biggest Cinderella storys of Combat Sports history. The hard headed native of South Auckland, New Zealand moves from beating up bouncers to the biggest kickboxing and MMA stage in the world.

Tonight we look at Part 2: Mark gets a second chance in K1 WGP qualifying when Ray Sefo gets injured. Also we have the Quarterfinals of the 2001 World Grand Prix where a rivalry is brewing between The Super Samoan and The Fighting Frenchman! Lets Get Some Backround!

In 2001, Hunt returned to K-1 by winning the K-1 Oceania tournament for the second consecutive year. After that he took part of K-1 World GP 2001 in Melbourne, where he beat Japanese boxer Hiromi Amada, before suffering a close unanimous decision loss to reigning champion Ernesto Hoost. However, because of his exciting fighting style Hunt was granted a wildcard spot in the repercharge tournament for the K-1 World GP 2001 Finals, when Mirko Filipović had to pull out due to injury. He was drawn against Ray Sefo, who won the bout by outpointing Hunt. After the fight however, Sefo suffered an eye injury and was not able to continue, allowing Hunt to proceed in his place.

Adam Watt on the otherhand has a plethora of combat sports experience. His most high profile fight was fighting Johnny Nelson for Nelsons W.B.O. boxing title. Watt was a Top 20 boxer and an accomplished kickboxer. Here we see him against UFC 1 competiter Gerard Gordeau. Watt wins by Spinning Backfist / High Kick combo. (video is only 15 seconds long, give it a look!) 

This fight was in October 1993, just two months before Gordeau would kick Telia Tuli's teeth cross row and advance to the finals of UFC 1 against Royce Gracie. On to the fight. The Boxer Adam Watt vs Kickboxer Mark Hunt.


Mark Hunt 22-9

NW: Rony Sefo, Peter Graham, Hiromi Amada

NL: Ray Sefo, Peter Graham, Ernesto Hoost, Jerome Le Banner


Adam Watt 48-13 (kickboxing,boxing combined)

NW: Andrew Peck, Mike Bernardo, Peter Graham, Gerard Gordeau, Tosca Petridas

NL: Johnny Nelson, Wayne Brathwaite, Jerome Le Banner, Ray Sefo, Ernesto Hoost, Peter Aerts


Mark Hunt vs Adam Watt - Knock Out (via k1fightclub)



Hunt then TKO'd Adam Watt to earn his place in the K-1 World Grand Prix Finals at the Tokyo Dome.

During the matchmaking for the K-1 Finals, Hunt surprised the crowd by choosing Jérôme Le Banner, whom he had just lost in the previous year, as his quarterfinal opponent.


Hunt v Le Banner was a fierce rivalry, they would meet 4 times over the span of the 00's. Le Banner was known as the best fighter in K1 history to never win the title, would this be his year? Lets go to the fight, starting with round 2.


Mark Hunt 23-9

NW: Rony Sefo, Peter Graham, Hiromi Amada, Adam Watt

NL: Ray Sefo, Peter Graham, Ernesto Hoost, Jerome Le Banner


Jerome Le Banner 58-8-1

NW: Stefan Leko, Adam Watt, Ebenezer Braga, Ernesto Hoost, Mark Hunt, Jan Nortje, Francisco Filho, Peter Aerts, Matt Skelton, Rick Roufus, Sam Greco,Mike Bernardo, Maurice Smith (yeah thats a big ass list)

NL: Mirko Filipovic, Andy Hug, Peter Aerts, Ray sefo, Ernesto Hoost

ND: Mike Bernardo



So with Hunt defeating Le Banner this is how the semi finals should play out:


Because all i could find were trunicated videos for the other 2 fights, we have as a bonus, in full, Mark's fight against Chris Tuchscherer at UFC 127. The Brock Lesnar trained fighter versus the Iron Jawed Auckland Native. Here we Go!

Round 1
A huge left from Hunt, but he misses. Tuchscherer immediately drops levels for a takedown, but he has nothing. A shot from Tuchscherer sends Hunt backwards, but he drops Tuchscherer with a huge right. Hunt allows him to stand up. Another big hook from Hunt. Hunt is teeing off with lefts and rights and there's a big cut on Tuchscherer. Doctor is looking at it but lets it go. Tuchscherer gets a single-leg takedown and moves to side control. Hunt escapes a kimura and eats a few elbows from Tuchscherer, who is bleeding heavily. 10-9 Hunt. 

Round 2
An overhand left misses for Hunt. The former K-1 kickboxing champion lands short right uppercut. Tuchscherer smiles. Hunt misses with big uppercut as forces Tuchscherer to retreat. Hunt then connects on a jab, short-right uppercut combo for the knockout win at the 1:41 mark. 


Join us next time as we wrap up the series with Marks run to the K1 World Title match, and kickboxing immortality .


Other Recent LNF Installments:

LNF 12: Vitor Belfort's boxing debut, Spider Silva Muay Thai Match

LNF 11: Cinderella has an Iron Jaw - Mark Hunts climb to K1 History - Part 1: "The Most Exciting Fight in K1 History"

LNF 10: The one where Forrest Griffin gets his left arm broken and gets the KO with the right one, Taps Chael Sonnen

Upcoming LNF:

LNF 14: Frankie Edgar vs Tyson Griffin

LNF 15: BJ Penn vs Takanori Gomi

LNF 16:  Cinderella has an Iron Jaw - Mark Hunt's climb to K-1 History - Part 3: The Man, The Kiwi, The Champion

LNF 17: Lyoto Machida vs Sam Hoger

\The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Bloody Elbow readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloody Elbow editors or staff.

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