Before Branko “the Croatian Tiger” Cicatic won the first K-1 GP there was his fight against Don Wilson!
As a young entrepreneur and fighter, I loved the fighting world and became friends with Thom Harinck the founder and trainer of Chakuriki.
Branko Cicatic and Bas Boon after training in the Peabody hotel in Orlando
I traveled with Thom and team Chakuriki to Miami when I was just 20 (30 years ago) and we stayed in the Peabody Hotel in Orlando. It was in this luxurious hotel I did some sparring sessions with Branko Cicatic in preparation for his fight with Don “the dragon “Wilson. I remember having a bad cold and blowing my nose every 10 minutes. I’m sure the big right hand of Branko that dropped Ernesto Hoost 3x hit my nose and turned my poor smelling organs into this huge bleeding hideous potato.
Thanks Branco for that moker right hand turning my nose in a potato!
The days before this event were torture for Branko as the fight was agreed on approx. 78 kg! Branko was eating his own muscle tissue to reach the desired weight for the fight, he was literally pissing blood!
The day of the fight came and in round 4 Branko landed a vicious low kick which was partly checked by Wilson, the result was that Wilson pulled up his knee and fell to the canvas screaming in pain because of his knee being hurt. I still do not understand why they stopped the fight that long as Branko delivered a perfectly legal kick? The fight continues a few minutes later and Wilson followed a smart game plan. He kept circling Brank which resulted in Branko to gas in round seven ( having to cut weight, dieting for this fight took to much power from his body) , which brought the ko victory to Wilson.
I was invited no so long later after that fight to do a seminar at John Gradin’s gym in Tampa Florida, he saw me winning against this huge heavyweight fighter with Thom Harinck in my corner and witnessed some sparring sessions. it resulted in my first seminar.
Bas Boon and John Gradin ( seminar at USA Karate).
I learned a lot from this trip and I made friends, I stayed friends with Branko Cicatic in the following 30 years and witnessed his success in becoming the first ever K-1 GP winner knocking out Ernesto Hoost in the finals. I started to promote shows with Thom Harinck and Don Wilson became a movie star and we kept in contact, this is what sport is all about, making friends, making a living of something you like to do and traveling the world!
I would not want to have missed this for the world!
(C) Bas Boon www.basboon.com