Las Vegas, NV (July 15, 2007) – Undefeated knockout artist, “Savage” Rick Cheek, (19-0 (17 KO’s) (1 No Contest), and fellow United States representatives and Muay Thai stars Patrick Barry (14-3-1 (8 KO’s) and Esh’Chadar “The Dispossessor” Brown Ton (6-1 (3 KO’s) will each battle to become the next K-1 North America tournament champion during the “2007 K-1 World GP In Las Vegas” eight-man, single-elimination playoff at Las Vegas, Nevada’s Bellagio on Saturday, August 11th.
Barry is slated to face Sweden’s Rickard Nordstrand (16-6 (3 KO’s) in the tournament’s quarterfinal round while, in the same bracket of the draw, Brown Ton is scheduled to square off with 23-year-old speed demon, Zabit Samedov (50-5 (26 KO’s), of Belarus.
Cheek’s opponent has yet to be named. The other quarterfinal round matchup in Cheek’s bracket will see Russia’s Alexandre Pitchkounov (6-1-1 (3 KO’s) take on Japanese Karate stylist, Tsuyoshi Nakasako (18-24-1 (5 KO’s).
“I’m in this game to see where I belong in the world and this event is a great way to test myself,” said Cheek, a 29-year-old former heavyweight boxing champion of both The United States Airforce and Armed Forces. Cheek resides in Rohnert Park, California and is a protégé of distinguished trainer, Billy Olson. “I want to be able to prove that Americans can fight in K-1 as well as The Dutch or anyone else.”
While his service with The United States military makes him an attractive candidate to represent his country in an alternative form of war that is martial arts prize fighting, it is Cheek’s sheer dominance of North America’s heavyweight kickboxing ranks that make him a dangerous threat to his competition in next month’s tournament. To date, only two of his 19 professional opponents have been able to take Cheek the distance of a bout.
Two years ago, Cheek, who stands 6 feet 4 inches tall and is chiseled at 270 pounds, made a lasting impression on K-1 executives by obliterating Mike Sheppard in two rounds during a K-1 North America tournament reserve matchup at Las Vegas’s Mirage.
Cheek’s absence from both Las Vegas K-1 cards last year was due to a torn ACL and MCL he sustained in the squared circle last February. He has since fully recovered and returned to action, stopping all three opponents that he has faced. Only one of the three was able to survive a full round of battle with Cheek. “I spent a lot of time building (my knee) back up and it’s probably my better knee now,” he commented.
The most experienced in K-1 competition of the trio, the 28-year-old Barry, a two-time San Shou rules kickboxing champion who took up Muay Thai five years ago, recently made a career-defining transition when he was taken under the wing of none other than K-1’s all-time greatest competitor, “Mr. Perfect” Ernesto Hoost. Barry, a native of New Orleans, Louisiana, is holding his training camp for next month’s K-1 event in Holland, Hoost’s homeland and the number one producer of K-1 super heavyweight champions.
The relationship Barry has forged with Hoost has already paid dividends. During the quarterfinal round of a K-1 World Grand Prix tournament in Honolulu, Hawaii on April 28th, Barry stopped two-time K-1 tournament champion and fearsome brawler, “Big Daddy” Gary Goodridge with a left kick to the head in round one of their matchup.
In the semifinal round of the Honolulu affair, however, Barry ran into trouble when he met Pitchkounov, whom he had lost a decision to in a tournament reserve contest in Las Vegas last April. Once again, Pitchkounov flustered Barry for three rounds before walking away with a judges’ decision victory.
Brown Ton, a 30-year-old resident of Dallas, Texas with origins in Miami, Florida, is perhaps America’s best kept secret. The 6’2”, 225 pound protégé of Muay Thai legend Saekson Janjira made history in December when he became the first American ever to compete in the annual “S-1 Super 8 World Championship” Muay Thai tournament event staged in Bangkok, Thailand as part of the celebration of the Thai king’s birthday. Before a staggering, standing room only crowd of over 100,000, Brown Ton defeated two opponents before placing as runner-up in the super heavyweight, single-elimination tournament.
The son of a Catholic Church minister, Brown Ton has been devoted to his religion since his early years, traveling far and wide with his father on religious missions. He sees his fighting career as a means of spreading his religious messages and, thus, bestowed upon himself his nickname. “I am “The Dispossessor,” he said, “because I fight to dispossess for the glory of the Lord.
Tickets for “K-1 World Grand Prix 2007 in Las Vegas,” priced at $300, $200, $100, and $50, are on sale at Bellagio’s box office (888-488-7111). In addition to the eight-man tournament, the event will feature a pair of Superfights. Two-time K-1 tournament champion and fearsome knockout artist, “Mighty Mo” Siligia, will square off with last April’s K-1 North America tournament victor, Chalid “Die Faust” Arrab in one of the featured fights.
Bellagio Ballroom doors will open for “K-1 World Grand Prix 2007 in Las Vegas” at 5 PM Pacific Standard Time on Saturday, August 11th and the card’s first preliminary bout will begin at 5:30 PM. The eight-man tournament will commence at 7 PM.
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