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Fight Archives: B.J. Penn submits Takanori Gomi in action-packed three-rounder

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Before the alcoholic misadventures and political aspirations, there was “The Prodigy” at the top of his game.

B.J. Penn prepares to face Takanori Gomi at K-1: Rumble on the Rock 4 in 2003.
B.J. Penn prepares to face Takanori Gomi at K-1: Rumble on the Rock 4 in 2003.

After 18 years in the face-punching business, former UFC champion B.J. Penn has decided to dip his toes into politics.

On Monday, the 42-year-old declared his plans to run for Hawaii’s gubernatorial seat in 2022. And depending on where you are in the spectrum of things, you were either shocked, dismayed, delighted, or left unsurprised upon hearing the announcement.

As someone who detests anything political, I prefer to remember “The Prodigy” for who he was. And in an attempt to overshadow this piece of news, I chose to look back on one of his earlier performances. This one was during his first K-1 appearance in 2003 against the one and only “Fireball Kid,” Takanori Gomi.

Now, remember, this was a 25-year-old Penn who had only been competing professionally for two years. He was matched up against an already-established veteran, who at the time, held a 14-1 record.

But based on how the first minutes of action unfolded, it was the Hawaiian who appeared to be the more experienced fighter. He was mixing things up fluidly. And as a grappler by nature, he was efficient with the use of his weapons.

Gomi, of course, isn’t known to go down that easy. Penn was urged to leave his foot on the gas pedal as the two fought at a consistent, action-packed pace.

The fight goes back to the mat in round three, but this time, Penn made sure to lock in a dominant position. He establishes back mount, lands a few unnoticed blows to the back of Gomi’s head, and finally gets the rear-naked choke finish.

Governor Penn, November 2022” may or may not become a reality. And if you also prefer to remember the man at the top of his game, here you go.