Badr Hari kickboxer of the 2019
Badr Hari throws spinning back kick in his rematch with Rico Verhoeven | Pic: Supplied/GLORY

Although this idea might sound ridiculous here is the thing. Kickboxing Planet is quite big, but in the same time it indeed appears very small when compared to other combat sports such as boxing or mixed martial arts. The reason why millions of eyes precisely catch the action of the latter two is, perhaps, the simplicity, characters involved and media coverage.

Both disciplines are quite easy to understand for general public. In simple words, boxing is hands (punches) only. MMA allows everything (there are rules of course).

When there is an interesting character – there is a story. When there is media – there is an interesting story-telling.

Numerous publications have recently released their own “Fighter of the Year”. Jorge Masvidal, for example, was named “The 2019 UFC Comeback Fighter of the Year” by Forbes.

So, who is the hero of kickboxing world, if there is one?

From the top of the head, we all most definitely name Giorgio Petrosyan, right? Kickboxing vet from Italy is the winner of ONE Championship featherweight World Grand Prix. Yet, an overturned decision of his first bout against Phetmorakot Petchyindee Academy left a bit of sour taste.

The fighter who most obviously deserves a call is Alex Pereira. The Brazilian champion fought three times in 2019. He twice successfully defended his middleweight title, as well as earned the interim belt in the light heavyweight class. All of the bouts he won by knockout (video of the recent KO here).

So where does Badr Hari stand in all this, since he only fought once in 2019, which was his first outing in more than a year and a half, neither he won the fight?

Well, Badr Hari is certainly character in and outside the ring. If you’ve followed kickboxing of this passing decade you know the story. As a result, the appearance of K-1 legend inside the squared circle gathered 3.5 million live viewers across the world.

Hari indeed hasn’t fought since March 2018, which is a very long time out of competition for an athlete, and can be crucial. Nevertheless, “The Golden Boy” was on edge of dethroning “The King of Kickboxing” Rico Verhoeven, being ahead on the scorecards, with two knockdowns recorded earlier in the fight (prior dropping due to leg injury).

Badr Hari unlikely wants a medal for trying. Though, one can say thanks to his return kickboxing became popular again, at least for some time?