K-1 Fighter Profile: Mark Hunt
Nickname: Super Samoan
Nationality: New Zealander
Date of birth: May 23, 1974
Place of birth: South Auckland, New Zealand
Fighting out of: Minto, NSW, Australia
Height: 5 ft 10 in
Weight: 275 lb
Years active: 12 (1995-present)
By knockout: 13
By knockout: 2
By knockout: 3
By submission: 4
Mark "Super Samoan" Hunt is a New Zealand born Samoan kickboxer and mixed martial artist, currently living and fighting out of Sydney, Australia. Hunt is known for his raw strength, KO power and having one the toughest chins in the world. As a kickboxer he shocked the world on December 8, 2001 by winning the K-1 World Grand Prix 2001 Final.
Mark Hunt was born into a large, tight knit Samoan family in a tough suburb of South Auckland, New Zealand. He was a troubled kid and had no intentions to be a professional fighter, until one late night altercation outside a nightclub in Auckland changed the course of his life. The brawl didn’t last long, Hunt knocked out his adversary. One of the bouncers at the door was so impressed by the young man’s knockout power and invited him to Sam Marster's Gym to take up formal training. A couple of weeks later in 1995 in Otahuhu, New Zealand, Hunt was in the ring on his professional debut and knocked out his opponent Gary Hart in the second round. Mark got a six-pack of beers as payment and the bouncer became his first muay thai coach. Later that year Mark moved to Sydney, Australia to train with Alex Tui. Few years later he settled in Liverpool Kickboxing Gym under fellow Samoan instructor Hape Nganoroa.
In the beginning of his career, Hunt was used by the promoters as a stepping stone for their up and coming fighters, taking up fights at short notice, until Tarik Solak promoted K-1 Oceania tournament in February 2000. With a record of (15-4, 3KO) Hunt entered his first K-1 tournament as a heavy underdog.
He won the K-1 Oceania title by knocking out "The Coconut Crusher" Aumitagi in quarter finals, Rony Sefo in semis and Phil ***an in the finals. After this impressive performance he was invited to Japan for K-1 qualifications. He lost his first international fight by unanimous decision against Jérôme Le Banner.
In 2001, Hunt returned to K-1 by winning the K-1 Oceania tournament for the second consecutive year. After that he took part of K-1 World GP 2001 in Melbourne, where he beat Japanese boxer Hiromi Amada, before suffering a close unanimous decision loss to reigning champion Ernesto Hoost. However, because of his exciting fighting style Hunt was granted a wildcard spot in the repercharge tournament for the K-1 World GP 2001 Finals, when Mirko Filipović had to pull out due to injury. He was drawn against Ray Sefo, who won the bout by outpointing Hunt. After the fight however, Sefo suffered an eye injury and was not able to continue, allowing Hunt to proceed in his place. Hunt then TKO'd Adam Watt to earn his place in the K-1 World Grand Prix Finals at the Tokyo Dome.
During the matchmaking for the K-1 Finals, Hunt surprised the crowd by choosing Jérôme Le Banner, whom he had just lost in the previous year, as his quarterfinal opponent. Hunt won the rematch by knocking out Le Banner in the second round and advanced himself onto the semi-finals facing Stefan Leko. Hunt knocked down Leko two times in the first round and went on to win the fight by unanimous decision. The stage was set for the final battle against Brazilian Kyokushin karate champion Francisco Filho. In the final Hunt defeated Filho by unanimous decision to become the K-1 World Grand Prix 2001 champion.
In 2002, Hunt went to Paris to fight Le Banner again for the third time what turned out to be one of the biggest battles in K-1 history. Le Banner, fighting in front of his hometown audience, knocked down Hunt in the second round but was in turn knocked down himself a few seconds later. In the final moments of the round, Hunt was knocked down for the second time again by the powerful Frenchman. In between rounds the towel was thrown in as Hunt could not continue.
On December 17, 2002, Mark Hunt returned to defend his K-1 World Grand Prix title. In quarter finals, entering the third round and behind on all scorecards, Mark was able to connect with a right cross that knocked out Stefan Leko and advanced him to the semi-finals against his career long nemesis Jerome Le Banner. Despite knocking down the Frenchman at the end of the third round, Hunt lost the fight by decision. It would to be his last K-1 World Grand Prix appearance.
Hunt's mixed martial arts career saw him fight in events in Japan's PRIDE Fighting Championships. His first MMA fight was a submission loss to Hidehiko Yoshida, an Olympic gold medalist in judo. In his second fight, he defeated American wrestler Daniel Bobish by TKO. Hunt stepped in as a late replacement for Sakuraba, and won a split decision against an outweighed PRIDE middleweight (205 lb) champion Wanderlei Silva. Silva, renowned for his brutal punching and Muay Thai clinch game, was neutralized by the hard-hitting Samoan and knocked down several times in the fight. At the PRIDE Shockwave 2005 event, Hunt surprisingly defeated Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipović via a dubious split decision, after his earlier loss to him in K-1. At PRIDE 31: Unbreakable, Hunt defeated Japanese boxer Yosuke Nishijima in the third round with a powerful one-two punch.
Hunt's next fight was in the opening round of PRIDE's 2006 Open-Weight Grand Prix (PRIDE Total Elimination Absolute) on May 5, 2006. His opponent was Japan's Tsuyoshi Kohsaka, who he defeated by TKO in the second round. He then faced American catch-wrestler Josh Barnett at PRIDE Critical Countdown Absolute in the second round of the tournament. Hunt was immediately taken down by Barnett and ultimately lost to a kimura submission roughly two and a half minutes into the first round.
Most recently Hunt lost to PRIDE heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko at PRIDE Shockwave 2006. Hunt controlled Emelianenko most of the fight and even effectively countered an armbar early in the bout. Hunt's greatest chance of winning came when he was able to put Emelianenko in an americana. Unfortunately for Hunt, Emelianenko was able to fight through it and submit Hunt with a kimura.
In April 2008, FEG announced Hunt's return to K-1 and nominated him as the challenger of K-1 Super Heavyweight title held by Semmy Schilt. The match was held on April 13, 2008, in Yokohama, Japan at the K-1 World GP 2008 in Yokohama. Hunt lost the fight at the end of the first round by spinning back kick to the body.
2001 K-1 World Grand Prix champion
2001 K-1 World Grand Prix in Fukuoka champion
2001 K-1 Oceania Grand Prix in Melbourne champion
2000 K-1 Oceania Grand Prix champion
1999 WKBF Australian Super Heavyweight champion
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