Peter Aerts is launching a new kickboxing promotion in Japan. It is called Legend and will be the latest in a long line of organizations pledging to bring back the glory days of the sport.
Kickboxing legends Mirko Crocop, Ray Sefo, and Jerome LeBanner will reportedly be supporting Aerts’ new promotion. It is not clear in what capacity as all three are either inactive or have officially retired.
LeBanner did have a bout booked in October but it fell through. He is 50 but does not appear to have called time on his career quite yet whereas Sefo and Crocop are definitely retired.
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All three men fought on K-1 cards during the promotion’s glory days. None of them enjoyed quite as much success in Japan as Aerts who was the best heavyweight kickboxer on the planet in the 1990s.
Aerts won the 1994 K-1 World Grand Prix. The Yoyogi National stadium in Tokyo was reportedly packed to capacity for the event with the Dutchman beating three fighters in a single night.
The following year Aerts did it again. This time a crowd of close to 14,000 was reportedly in attendance to see him beat LeBanner in the final of the 1995 K-1 World Grand Prix.
Three years later Aerts won the 1998 K-1 World Grand Prix. This event was on a totally different scale with over 60,000 fans at the Tokyo Dome to witness the Dutchman beating Andy Hug in the final.
K-1 World GP '98 Final
Peter Aerts🇳🇱 vs Andy Hug🇨🇭 pic.twitter.com/WXDi0PPRZj
— Cerebral Vigilante (@Delisketo) April 25, 2023
Aerts appears to have launched a new promotion in Japan that will rival K-1. The kickboxing fight cards he made his name on are still happening albeit under completely different ownership.
Last weekend K-1 Rebirth 2 took place at the Edion Arena in Osaka. There weren’t too many fighters of Aert’s stature on the card which focused on the lower weight classes.
The original K-1 Rebirth event was held in Yokohama in September and featured an openweight Grand Prix. So Aerts is clearly not the only promoter looking to bring kickboxing’s glory days back to Japan.
He clearly has the support of some kickboxing legends. It will be interesting to see who is fighting on the inaugural Legend card but there are sure to be some famous former fighters in the crowd.