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 Tuchscherer, Gegard Mousasi, Melvin Manhoef, Alistair Overeem, Fedor Emelianenko, Josh 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 is Part 3: The Grand Finale. As you know the K1 World Grand Prix is a grueling night, three fights but win those three fights and your in kickboxing immortality. With Ernesto Hoost decisioning Stefan Leko, our favorite iron jawed puncher is scheduled to get his chance for revenge. Alas as fate would have it, Hoost would be injured as would be alternate fighter Mike Bernardo. This meant Stefan Leko had a second chance at glory, but to get to the finals required facing the famous buttstomping guard passer (see photo).
This is it, the underdog has made it to the finals. Would he complete the cinderella run or be the 2011/2010 Butler Bulldogs. Lets get a little backround:
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 won the rematch by knocking out Le Banner in the second round and advanced himself onto the semi-finals facing Stefan Leko. Hunt knocked down Leko two times in the first round and went on to win the fight by unanimous decision. The stage was set for the final battle against Brazilian Kyokushin karate champion Francisco Filho.
And with that we have one of the most unlikelyest of Combat Sport champions. I leave you with a highlight compilation of the rest of Hunt's career, played to a "questionable" soundtrack to say the least.
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