K-1 WORLD MAX 2012 is taking place next Saturday in Athens, Greece, but there is almost none buzz around the event, not even in Greece. Even though there is some effort through some general sport sites in Greece to advertise the event, I don’t think the result will be as expected.
First of all, there is a serious issue with the ticket prices. The Greek Kick-boxing scene is small. I doubt there are many Greeks out there who know anyone else except Zambidis. Actually, for the average Greek, kickboxing = Zambidis. And in addition to the famous economic crisis in Greece and the cruelly cut incomes of Greek people, the ticket prices are awful. Just take a look at the following diagram.
I’ve been many times to this venue for basketball games and I can assure you: All those at the green section (20 euros - 26$) and most -if not all- at the purple section (40 euros - 52$) ain’t gonna see much. Only those at the yellow section (60 euros - 78$) are going to enjoy the fights. I can’t think of many guys though who are willing to pay 60 euros - 78$ for a kick-boxing event. If we were talking about a big soccer or basketball game, sure. But not for kick-boxing and especially not with this economic situation.
In addition, there seems to be something wrong with the promotion of the event. I can’t understand why, but the PR department of K-1 is not as it should be. In Greece, only the last couple of weeks there is some effort (not what someone would expect though) through some general sport websites to reach broader audiences but I doubt that there is success in that. To make things worse, this is how the greek kick-boxing scene "promoted" (if someone can say that) itself during the past 12 months: Two guys who were fighting at a local promotion’s main event, went to the biggest (and worst) gossip tv show and instead of talking about kick-boxing they talked about... ehm... who wrote what to the other guy’s girlfriend at Facebook. And how many hours does each of them spend online. And who is "more man". But no kick-boxing... And a few months later, the loser of that fight was talking to a number of media about his beloved girlfriend who left him for a Greek MP. These were the two times kickboxing had it’s chance to a broader audience in the past year. If someone who doesn’t know anything about the sport, saw only the aforementioned tv show, he must think that kickboxing is for total retards.
I don’t know how the ticket sales are going, I haven’t heard anyone talking about them. If I had to make a guess, I would say "not good". The "die-hards" in Greece are about 3000. The venue is for 18-20,000 people. And with these prices, I don’t know how the Japanese can expect a full venue. I expect about 8.000 fans at Saturday night, maybe even less. And I have to say, I feel sorry for Iron Mike, because at the biggest fights of his career in Greece, he won’t have the chance to fight inside a venue - "volcano" like the one he fought in at his first fight in Greece at 2005. Just watch the video of the fight and you will understand.
As for the tournament, I think Zambidis will make it to the final. As for his opponent, no one can say for sure. I pick Kyshenko to face Iron Mike at the final, and probably win him.
That’s all from me about the event. I would love to be in Athens for the fights, but 60 euros (78$) for a decent seat + 50 euros (65$) for Serres - Athens - Serres (16 hours all together) is too expensive for me. I’m in "pain" because this is probably my only chance to watch a truly high-level martial arts event in Greece. I sincerely hope that I am 100% percent wrong about the event’s success, but almost everything is too sloppy to be good.
PS. According to LiverKick, K-1 didn’t even bother to inform the world about the full card. This is the full K-1 WORLD MAX card according to the greek media:
Pre - Games:
Evangelos Soubakas vs Boby Ivanof
Giorgos Kounopidis vs Thanasis Karousos
Dionisis Gikas vs Stavros Exakoustidis
Alexandros Chatzichronoglou vs Nikos Kelekis
Reserve fight: Xu Yan vs Abraham Roqueni
Zambidis / McAllister vs Kido / Gorenhart
Kyshenko / Ngimbi vs Souwer / Ristie
SuperFight: Salah Abdelsalam vs Cedric Manhoef
You can watch the event live and free via http://k1.spike.com
The Prelims start at about 6pm (time of Greece) and the main card starts about 9pm (again time of Greece)