Rizin FF have announced another bout for their New Year’s Eve show with Bob Sapp and former sumo champion Akebono set to duel for the first time in 12 years.
Super-heavyweight Bob Sapp will end his retirement from combat sports and take to the ring against legendary 500 lb sumo champ, Akebono. The two last fought in a kickboxing bout on New Year’s Eve in 2003 at K-1 Premium Dynamite, with “The Beast” triumphing via knockout in just the third minute of the first round.
Sapp retired from competition in 2014 after claiming he had made enough money to cover hefty medical bills accumulated throughout his career. Initially a fearsome prospect at both MMA and K-1, according to former training partners, the American lost interest in becoming a serious competitor and went into terminal decline, losing 13 of his last 14 kickboxing matches and 15 of his last 18 MMA bouts.
Akebono, following his highly successful sumo career, went on to try his hand at MMA, kickboxing and pro-wrestling. He won only one of his nine K-1 fights and none of his four MMA bouts and has not fought competitively since 2006. Their rematch will certainly not be one for the purists, however, both men are very popular in Japan and it’s a fight that will certainly draw a large domestic audience. There is no confirmation of the ruleset under which the men will be fighting.