K-1 Kickboxing to Hold Inaugural Open Tryouts on July 19 at Muscle Beach in Los Angeles


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K-1 will hold open tryouts for the first time in the kickboxing organization’s near-20-year existence.

Promotion officials announced the news Tuesday, revealing that famous bodybuilding locale Muscle Beach will host the proceeding on July 19. According to a release, fighters selected from the open tryout will have the opportunity to fight in a 2012 K-1 event and the chance to compete for $2 million in prize money.

The winner of K-1’s heavyweight 2012 World Grand Prix will be awarded a $1 million prize, while the competition’s runner-up will earn $300,000. The winner of the promotion’s equivalent lightweight tournament, K-1 MAX, will also receive $300,000. Those wishing to participate in the open tryout may sign up on K-1’s official Facebook page. After registering at Facebook.com/K1GlobalTV.eng, fighters will receive their confirmation via email.

“K-1 would like to invite all talented standup fighters to come to Muscle Beach in L.A. on July 19 and show us what you have and why you belong in the K-1 family,” K-1 CEO Doug Kaplan stated in a release. “K-1 is the gold standard in standup fighting, and we are searching for the best new athletes out there to represent K-1 and possibly become one of kickboxing’s newest icons.”

A handful of K-1 talents have notably competed in mixed martial arts over the years, among them Mirko Filipovic, Mark Hunt and Semmy Schilt. Conversely, several popular MMA fighters have done battle in the K-1 ring over the years, including Quinton Jackson, Gegard Mousasi (Pictured, left), Norifumi Yamamoto and Alistair Overeem, who won the 2010 K-1 World Grand Prix.

Founded in 1993 in Tokyo, K-1 experienced a stretch of sustained popularity overseas before the promotion’s parent company, Fighting and Entertainment Group (FEG), sold the promotion to Japanese real estate firm Barbizon Co., last year. The promotion was sold again this past February to Emcom Entertainment, which established a new, Hong Kong-based company called K-1 Global Holdings. The promotion has held one event in 2012 thus far, a May 27 show in Madrid. Future events are planned to take place in Los Angeles, Miami and Taipei, Taiwan, before December’s 2012 World Grand Prix final in New York.

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