The Pitbull down, the Jienotsu next
'Iron' Mike Zambidis progressed to the quarter finals of the K-1 MAX in Tokyo, Japan, after a thrilling extra-round win over Moroccan Chahid "The Pitbull" Oulad El Hadj.
The Greek fighter will meet Japanese hard man Yuichiro 'Jienotsu' Nagashima in the quarter final bout of the K-1 WORLD MAX 2010 -70kg World Championship Tournament in November.
An aggressive Zambidis knocked down his opponent after a blistering opening, but Chahid showed tenacity, rising from his set-backs to fight his way back into the contest.
The match progressed evenly until the third round, with both fighters continuously exchanging massive hits and the Korean fans cheering on the Greek fighter.
With the three round match drawing to a sudden conclusion, an expectant crowd roared in approval after Zambidis' frenetic display.
But the referees had other ideas, instead sending the match into the extra round.
'Iron' Mike's superiority was confirmed in the extra time, as the Greek sent 'The Pitbull' down with a massive blow for the third time in the four rounds.
Saved by the bell, Chahid managed to avoid the KO and Zambidis was an easy winner after the extra round.
His team, including Babis Papadopoulos, his gymnast Alexandros Papadionysiou and his manager Tonia Fouseki, rushed inside the ring to embrace the star after the spectacular victory.
TV presenters, experts and fans alike, were unanimous in their declaration that the fight was one of the best fights in the K-1.
The win gave Zambidis his 143rd success in 160 fights, with 84 KOs.
The Greek Champion, satisfied by his performance and the result, told the press conference after the fight, "I am really glad that I won this strong and very important fight, and lived up to the expectations of the people who believe in me. My training payed off and now my attention is to the next phase with the eight best fighters of the world".
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