Combat sports are an ever-changing landscape of fighters, with new names popping up constantly. All fighters have heart, and all fighters have talent, yet of all the fighters who have stepped up over the years, there are some who stick in our minds, who changed the way we think about the sports we love, and who are truly inspirational to today’s generation of martial artists.
In this new series we wanted to take a moment to appreciate some of the true legends of fighting, looking at some of the most inspirational, most influential, and the most fearsome fighters out there. In the previous post of the series, we looked into Muhammad Ali, the boxer who has likely influenced more boxers than anybody else ever has. For this post, we’re going to look at Andy Hug, considered to be one of the greatest heavyweight kickboxers of all time.
So who was Andy Hug?
Before tragically passing away to leukemia in the year 2000, Andy Hug was a brilliant kickboxer, especially under the K-1 promotion. His legacy remains as a true legend in kickboxing, as well as one of the greatest heavyweights in the history of both sports. At one time, Hug was even the highest paid kickboxer in the world.
Hug originally trained in Karate from the age of 10, eventually going on to compete extensively in full contact karate, winning several major titles. It wasn’t until 1993 that Hug transitioned to the newly created K-1 promotion, which allowed him to compete with fighters from a variety of striking styles. Over the years Hug competed against, and often beat many of the best names in the kickboxing world, accumulating a record of 47 fights with 37 wins (21 of which were by knockout).
Inside the ring, Hug was renowned for his ability to execute numerous kicking techniques rarely seen in high level competition, perfected thanks to his Karate background. Despite fighting as a heavyweight, he was usually smaller than his opponents, standing at 5ft 11 and weighing around 98kg. While he lacked the physical size of his opponents, he made up for it with his athleticism and speed. He stood as a southpaw, and had a range of kicks in his arsenal, including well-practised spinning kicks, however his trademark kick was undoubtedly his powerful axe kick.
Check out this video from The Modern Martial Artist looking at Hug’s devastating Axe kick.
The fights that will never be forgotten
Throughout his K-1 career, Andy Hug fought numerous times against some of the best fighters around, battling with big names such as Peter Aerts, Mirco Crocop, Duke Roufus and even Ernesto Hoost.
During these fights, Andy Hug won one of the K-1 Grand Prix events, reaching the finals of two more. He also went on and eventually became a three time world champion, winning belts under the Universal Kickboxing Federation (UKF), the World Kickboxing Association (WKA), and the World Muay Thai Council (WMTC).
Andy Hug was a consistently great fighter, but our personal favourite fights are the wars with Ernesto Hoost. Hoost is a brilliant fighter, probably deserving of a post on his own. While Hug may have only won one of these fights, all four are incredibly entertaining and well worth tracking down if you can find them.
If you want to see some more from Andy Hug, check out the highlight video below from TripleM Fightchannel.
If you liked this article, let us know. Let us know in the comments below which other inspirational fighters you think deserve to be featured in an article like this.