Kickboxing great Remy Bonjasky has announced his return to the ring, but it won't be in K-1. The three time K-1 World Grand Prix champion has signed a multi-fight deal with K-1 rival Glory World Series. From the official statement:
I am really excited about GLORY, really enthusiastic about the people behind it and what they are trying to do for the sport. There are new, fresh minds involved and they are looking to take the sport to a new level, to make it bigger than it already is.
I achieved great things in K-1 and now I think the new challenge is GLORY, I think they can make the sport bigger than K-1 did.
Bonjasky retired after the 2009 K-1 Grand Prix due to a recurring eye injury that was threatening to leave him blind. Since that time, there have been rumors of a possible Bonjasky return, but without a big Heavyweight scene due to the demise of K-1, it looked like the retirement would stick. Now, with both K-1 and Glory back in action, Bonjasky has returned.
It's interesting that he has chosen to sign with Glory instead of his old home at K-1. Glory has managed to put together a very strong Heavyweight roster that surpasses that of the new K-1 as Bonjasky joins Semmy Schilt, Peter Aerts, Errol Zimmerman, Gokhan Saki, Jerome Le Banner, Sergei Kharitonov, and more. Notably missing from the roster are Daniel Ghita and longtime Bonjasky nemesis Badr Hari, both of whom fight for K-1.
No return fight or date is yet announced, though according to LiverKick.com, rumors are circulating that it may be Bonjasky vs. Igor Jurkovic in Japan this summer. That would be particularly notable as Japan has long been the home for K-1 and top level kickboxing, but as of right now, neither K-1 nor Glory has any formal plans to run Japan.
Bonjasky has some detractors due to his defensive style, but frankly, those people are crazy. He's one of the top 5 K-1 Heavyweights of all time, a dynamic and exciting fighter, and one of the greatest striking talents of our era. His return is huge, and I can't wait to see him back in the ring.