Andy Hug

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Andy Hug
Andy hug photo.jpg
Historical photo of Andy Hug
Born Andreas Hug
(1964-09-07)September 7, 1964
Zurich, Switzerland
Died August 24, 2000(2000-08-24) (aged 35)
Bunkyo, Tokyo, Japan
Other names The Blue-Eyed Samurai
Iron Man (Tetsujin in Japanese)
Mr. K-1
Typhoon
Nationality Switzerland Swiss
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Weight 97.7 kg (215 lb; 15.39 st)
Division Heavyweight
Style Kickboxing, Kyokushin Karate
Stance Southpaw
Fighting out of Lucerne, Switzerland
Team Team Andy Hug
Dojo Kamakura
Hiranaka Boxing School Gym
Rank      5th degree black belt in Kyokushin
Years active 1977-2000
Kickboxing record
Total 47
Wins 37
By knockout 21
Losses 9
By knockout 6
Draws 1
Other information
Spouse Ilona Hug
Children Seya Hug
Notable students Xhavit Bajrami
Björn Bregy
Great Kusatsu
Petar Majstorović
Michael McDonald
Andy Hug
Medal record
Competitor for   Switzerland
Men's Kyokushin
4 Countries Team Tournament
Gold 1981
British Open
Bronze London 1986 Heavyweight
Dutch Open
Bronze Weert 1981 Middleweight
European Championships
Gold Barcelona 1985 Heavyweight
Bronze Katowice 1987 Heavyweight
Gold Budapest 1989 Heavyweight
Silver Budapest 1989 Heavyweight
Ibusz Oyama Cup
Gold Budapest 1982 Middleweight
Gold Budapest 1985 Heavyweight
Sursee Cup
Gold Sursee 1988 Open
Swiss Championships
Gold 1982 Middleweight
Gold 1984 Heavyweight
Gold 1985 Heavyweight
Swiss Open
Gold 1985 Open
Swiss Oyama Cup
Gold 1979
Gold 1981
World Open
Silver Tokyo 1987 Open
Men's Seido
World Cup
Gold Osaka 1992 Open
Silver Osaka 1993 Open

Andreas "Andy" Hug (September 7, 1964 – August 24, 2000) was a Swiss karateka and kickboxer who competed in the heavyweight division. Considered to be one of the greatest heavyweight kickboxers of all time, along with Peter Aerts, Remy Bonjasky, Ernesto Hoost and Semmy Schilt,[1][2][3] Hug was renowned for his ability to execute numerous kicking techniques rarely seen in high level competition and although he was usually smaller than his opponents, standing at 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in) and weighing around 98.0 kg (216.1 lb; 15.43 st) in his prime, he made up for his lack of size with his tremendous athleticism and speed. A southpaw, his trademark kicks included the axe kick and the "Hug Tornado", a low spinning heel kick targeting his opponents' thighs.[4][5]

Raised in Wohlen, Aargau, Hug was a keen footballer in his youth but gave up the sport to pursue Kyokushin karate which he began practicing at ten years old. Beginning his full contact karate career in the 80 kg/176 lb middleweight division, he rose to prominence in the late 1970s and early 1980s by winning numerous regional tournaments around Europe and made the transition to heavyweight in 1984. That same year, he competed in the Kyokushin World Open, knockdown karate's most prestigious competition, for the first time and made it to the fourth round where he was eliminated by Shokei Matsui. Returning to Europe, he won his first major title in the form of the 3rd European Championships in 1985 before entering World Open again in 1987. He became the first non-Japanese fighter to make it to the final of the competition but again lost to Shokei Matsui. Another European Championships win would follow in 1989 and he fought in his third and final World Open in 1991, losing a controversial bout to Francisco Filho in the third round.

Having become a popular fighter in Japan due to his technical diversity, spectacular aesthetics, tactics and strength, Andy Hug made the switch from Kyokushinkaikan to Seidokaikan in 1992, completing the step from being an amateur to becoming a professional fighter and star in Japan. After winning the 1992 Seidokaikan Karate World Cup, beating Taiei Kin in the final, and finishing as runner-up to Masaaki Satake in the 1993 edition, Hug then transitioned to K-1 kickboxing, scoring a first round knockout of Ryuji Murakami in his professional debut at K-1 Andy's Glove in November 1993. After a breakout win over K-1 Grand Prix '93 Champion Branko Cikatić in March 1994, Hug entered the K-1 Grand Prix '94 a month later as one of the tournament favourites but was upset by Patrick Smith via first round stoppage in the quarter-finals. Undeterred, Hug continued to improve his skills for the kickboxing ring and rebounded by winning the UKF World Super Heavyweight Championship in December 1994 when he knocked out Rob van Esdonk. He suffered another setback at the K-1 Grand Prix '95 Qualifying Round when he was stopped by Mike Bernardo but he would have his revenge the following year at the K-1 Grand Prix '96 when he won the tournament by finishing Bernardo with the "Hug Tornado" in the final. He continued to be one of K-1's top contenders in the following years, reaching the final of the K-1 World Grand Prix twice more (in 1997 and 1998) and becoming a three-time world champion by taking the WMTC and WKA titles under Muay Thai rules.

He was diagnosed with acute leukemia on August 17, 2000. On August 23, he fell into a coma and his illness was made public. Twenty-two hours later, Hug died following breathing difficulties due to multiple organ failure. He was thirty-five years old.[6]

Early life[edit]

Andreas Hug was born in Zurich, Switzerland on September 7, 1964. His father, Arthur, was a French Foreign Legionnaire who died in Thailand under mysterious circumstances without ever seeing his son, and his mother, Madelaine Hug-Baumann, was forced to pursue gainful employment. Unable to care for Andy, she immediately put him up for adoption and he spent the first three years of his life in an orphanage until his care was taken over by his grandparents along with his brother, Charly, and sister, Fabienne. His grandmother, Fridy, and grandfather, Herrmann Baumann, a bricklayer, raised them in Wohlen in the Canton of Aargau.[7]

Hug began playing association football competitively at the age of six and went on to represent the Switzerland national under-16 football team. However, his home situation also made him a target for bullying and at ten years old, he started practising Kyokushinkai karate at Wohlen karate school under Werner Schenker despite strong opposition from his grandfather initially. His grandmother saw the boy's passion for the art and eventually convinced the grandfather to relent. By thirteen, he began to show promise as a karateka by winning numerous beginners' karate tournaments and his grandparents eventually forced him to decide between perusing football and karate, since they were no longer in a position to pay for both. He chose karate and at fifteen won the 1979 Swiss Oyama Cup, a national Kyokushin competition. Although full contact karate tournaments carried with them a minimum age of twenty, he showed so much potential as one of the country's biggest prospects that the Swiss Karate Federation allowed the teenaged prodigy to compete nonetheless.[8]

Following his breakout performance in the Oyama Cup, Hug earned himself a place on the Swiss national Kyokushin team and then became the co-founder of a dojo in Bremgarten aged seventeen.[9] He completed his butchery apprenticeship in 1984 and took a job in Wohlen's main wholesale butchery. However, his need for time off work regularly to compete in tournaments and occasional injuries which hindered his work performance meant that a shadow was cast over his working relationship and he was released from his contract by mutual agreement in 1986.[10]

Career[edit]

Kyokushin career (1977–1991)[edit]

After winning a number of beginners' karate competitions, Andy Hug was selected to represent the Wohlen Karate School during the National Team Championships in November 1977. His breakthrough performance came at the Swiss national Oyama Cup in 1979 at the age of fifteen when he defeated several opponents much older than himself to take the tournament crown. In 1981, Hug had an upsurge in competition as he was part of the Swiss team that defeated the Dutch in the finals to win the 4 Countries Team Tournament and recorded his first international success by taking a bronze medal at the 5th Dutch Kyokushin Championships in the 80 kg/176 lb middleweight division in Weert, Netherlands as he lost out to Koen Scharrenberg in the semi-finals. He also won the Swiss Oyama Cup for a second time that year, beating Heinz Muntweiler in the final, before further establishing himself as the country's top Kyokushin fighter by winning the 1982 Swiss Championships at middleweight. After reaching the round of sixteen in both the 2nd European Championships and the 6th Dutch Open, being eliminated by Jean-Pierre Louisset and Kenneth Felter respectively, Hug closed out the year by being crowned champion at the 1st Ibusz Oyama Cup in Budapest, Hungary where he defeated Mark Niedziokka in the final.

Hug again made it to the last sixteen at the 7th Dutch Open in 1983 and in 1984, he moved up to the heavyweight class with instant success, winning the Swiss nationals. In January 1984, he competed in the 3rd edition of the Kyokushin World Open, knockdown karate's most prestigious competition held once every four years. Andy was able to battle his way through and reached the final sixteen but lost to Shokei Matsui on points. 1985 was another successful year for Hug as he won the Ibusz Oyama Cup for the second time and the Swiss nationals for the third time before taking his most notable prize to date when he outpointed Klaus Rex in the final to win the 3rd edition of the European Championships in Barcelona, Spain in December of that year.

At the 11th British Open in London, England in 1986, he was eliminated at the semi-final round by Michael Thompson. They would then rematch at the same stage of the 4th European Kyokushin Championships in Katowice, Poland in May 1987 with the Englishman again coming out on top and forcing Hug to relinquish his title as European champion. Andy Hug returned to the World Open in November 1987 and made history by becoming the first gaijin to reach the final of the tournament, booking his place with a judges' decision win over Akira Masuda in the semis. There, he again faced Shokei Matsui and lost to his Japanese foe by decision once again.

With his status as an elite Kyokushin fighter secured, Hug began to compete more sparingly over the next few years. He won the 1st Sursee Cup in 1988, defeating Kenji Midori in the final, and became a two-time European champion in 1989 when he beat Michael Thompson to win the 5th European Championships in Budapest.

After an uneventful year in 1990, Andy Hug returned to the spotlight in '91 when he reached the final of the 6th European Championships in Budapest only to lose to Michael Thompson once more. The 5th World Championships also took place that year at the Budokan in Tokyo, Japan. In his third fight, Andy came up against Francisco Filho. At the end of the round, as the bell rang, Filho landed a mawashi geri on the side of Hug's head which left him unconscious the floor. Despite protest from the Swiss camp, it was later confirmed that Filho's kick had indeed struck after the bell rang, but he had started his move before the time was up and Filho was declared the winner.

Switch to Seido and entry into K-1 (1992–1993)[edit]

Having been fighting in Japan with success for a number of years, Hug became extremely popular in the country. The fans were impressed by his technical diversity, spectacular aesthetics, tactics and strength. In 1992, he made the switch from Kyokushinkaikan to Seidokaikan, completing the step from being an amateur to becoming a professional fighter and star in Japan. He debuted as a Seido karate fighter on July 30, 1992, defeating Toshiyuki Yanagisawa on points at the Seidokaikan Kakutogi Olympics II. He then competed in and won the 1992 Seidokaikan Karate World Cup on October 2, 1992, overcoming Taiei Kin in the final. On April 30, 1993, Hug fought in K-1 for the first time, albeit under Seidokaikan rules, in a rematch with Nobuaki Kakuda at the K-1 Grand Prix '93. The pair previously met at the second round of the 1992 Seido World Cup with Hug winning by ippon and the Swiss repeated his performance by stopping Kakuda with a knee strike from the Thai clinch in round two.[11]

Facing another of his previous opponents from the '92 Seido World Cup, he beat Minoru Fujita by decision at K-1 Sanctuary III on June 25, 1993. Undefeated as a Seido fighter, Hug entered the K-1 Illusion 1993 Karate World Cup on October 2, 1993, defeating Yoshinori Arata, Changpuek Kiatsongrit and Toshiyuki Atokawa on his way to the final where he met Masaaki Satake. After four overtime rounds, the bout went to sudden death where Hug lost in a tameshiwari contest.

Following the tournament, Hug began his transition from full contact karate to kickboxing and, already a part of K-1's roster, made his debut against Ryuji Murakami at K-1 Andy's Glove on November 15, 1993. He won by first round knockout, dropping Murakami with a body kick early before finishing him off with a right hook soon after. In a non-tournament attraction at the K-2 Grand Prix '93 on December 19, 1993, Hug faced Eric Albert and hurt the Frenchman seconds after the opening bell when he rushed out and landed his trademark axe kick on his face. After a prolonged beating and a spinning back kick knockdown, Hug was able to put Albert away with a series of punches late in round two. In just his third outing in the kickboxing ring, he took a considerable step up in class as he faced off with the reigning K-1 World Grand Prix champion Branko Cikatić at K-1 Challenge on March 3, 1994. Struggling early due to his lack of boxing prowess, Hug received a standing eight count from referee Genshu Igari in round one after being rocked by an uppercut from Cikatić. Hug, however, came in to his own as the fight went on, utilizing his kicking game to better effect and boxing from the inside, even forcing a count of his own on the Croatian before winning a unanimous decision after five rounds.

Struggles at the World Grand Prix (1994–1995)[edit]

With the win over Branko Cikatić, Andy Hug proved himself to be competent kickboxer and was entered into his first K-1 World Grand Prix, fighting at the K-1 Grand Prix '94 on April 30, 1994 where he faced Patrick Smith in the quarter-finals. The match-up was disastrous for Hug who struggled with Smith's aggression and punch-heavy style, suffering three knockdowns in nineteen seconds and losing by technical knockout. Not only did Hug have novice boxing defence during this time, he also had problems with his gumshield as his molars didn't clamp down on it properly and he was instead pinching it with his incisors. In time, however, the K-1 doctors discovered the dental problems and fitted him with a mouthpiece that would provide standard protection.[12] The rematch between Andy Hug and Pat Smith took place at K-1 Revenge on September 18, 1994 and the American again opened with an axe kick just as he done in the first fight. This time, however, Hug countered with the "Hug Tornado", sweeping Smith to the canvas. As the fight went on, Hug weathered Smith's aggressive start and completed his revenge when he knocked him unconscious with a knee at the 0:56 mark of round one. In a kickboxing match at the 1994 Seidokaikan Karate World Cup on October 2, 1994, he scored a third round liver kick knockout of Duke Roufus before closing out the year by winning the UKF World Super Heavyweight Championship with a spectacular fourth round KO win against Rob van Esdonk at K-1 Legend on December 10, 1994.

On March 3, 1995, Hug entered the 1995 Grand Prix at the round of sixteen qualifier where his rivalry with Mike Bernardo began. Both fighters traded heavy shots with Bernardo seemingly getting the better until Hug dropped him with a high kick towards the end of the first round. The South African boxer continued to pile on the pressure, however, and in the third, knocked Hug down with a left hook shortly followed by a standing eight count. Finally, he forced Hug into a corner and delivered a relentless beating on the Swiss karateka until referee Nobuaki Kakuda finally stopped the bout after a prolonged barrage of unanswered punches. Hug had a quick turnaround, as he was back in the ring on May 4, 1995, scoring a forty-five second knockout over Peter Kramer in a K-1 World Grand Prix 1995 non-tournament affair. On June 10, 1995, Hug made the first defence of his UKF title against Dennis Lane at K-1 Fight Night in Zurich, the first K-1 event held in Switzerland. In a rather one-sided fight, Andy Hug knocked Lane down twice in the first two rounds before the American quit on his stool.

Hug would then lose in his next two outings, firstly to Ernesto Hoost by majority decision at the K-3 Grand Prix '95 on July 16, 1995 and then Mike Bernardo by KO in a rematch at K-1 Revenge II on September 3, 1995. The fight was even going into the latter stages of round two when Bernardo landed a right hook which sent Hug to the canvas. He was able to make it back to his feet but was clearly on wobbly legs and the referee in charge, Genshu Igari, stopped him from taking any more damage than was necessary.

Sitting on a less-than-spectacular 8-4 record and having lost in his previous two matches, Hug was struggling with depression and felt at odds with the sport, questioning whether or not he had it in him to continue at the elite level.[13] He persisted, however, after a rejuvenating unanimous decision win over Jérôme Le Banner at K-1 Hercules on December 9, 1995 and went into the 1996 campaign in good form.

Winning the K-1 World Grand Prix Championship (1996)[edit]

Kicking off the most successful year of his career, Andy Hug demolished an overmatched Bart Vale at the K-1 Grand Prix '96 Opening Battle on March 3, 1996 to qualify for the K-1 Grand Prix '96 which was held two months later on May 6. After making short work of Duane van der Merwe with a KO inside forty seconds at the tournament's quarter-final stage, awaiting Hug was Ernesto Hoost in the semis and the pair had an epic battle considered to be one of the greatest matches in K-1's history. A back-and-forth fight in which Hoost delivered punishing low kicks throughout and both fighters traded heavily in the clinch, the judges ruled it a split draw after the regulation three rounds and so it went to an extension round to decide the winner only for it again to be scored a majority draw. Finally, after five grueling rounds, Hug was ruled the victor by split decision. In the final, he went up against Mike Bernardo, the South African power puncher who had knocked him out twice previously. It was not to be three-in-a-row for Bernardo, however, as a combination of fatigue and Hug's low kicks began to wear him down in the second round. Bernardo went down from a roundhouse kick to his left thigh but got back to his feet only for Hug to deliver one of the most spectacular stoppages of the 1990s, landing the "Hug Tornado" on Bernardo's already-injured left leg to put him away and clinch the coveted K-1 World Grand Prix Championship.[14]

Hug returned to Zurich to face Muay Thai stylist Sadau Kiatsongrit in his second and last defence of the UKF super heavyweight title at K-1 Fight Night II on June 2, 1996, dispatching the Thai with a right hook at the end of round two after flooring him moments earlier. At September 1's K-1 Revenge '96, Hug fought the first of his own six Muay Thai matches, challenging Stan Longinidis for his WMTC World Super Heavyweight (+95 kg/209 lb) Championship. They exchanged heavy strikes in a close first round but Hug then went out and severely outgunned Longinidis in the second, knocking his Australian opponent down with a high kick before viciously finishing the job with a left cross after he beat the count.

At K-1 Star Wars '96 on October 18, 1996, Andy Hug beat Masaaki Satake by unanimous decision in a rather lackluster rematch of the 1993 Seidokaikan World Cup final to win his third title in the span on five months, the WKA World Super Heavyweight (+95 kg/209 lb) Muay Thai strap.[15][16] He finished out the year a perfect 8-0 with another unanimous decision win, this time over fellow karateka Musashi at K-1 Hercules '96 on December 8, 1996.

Twice consecutive Grand Prix runner-up (1997–1998)[edit]

Andy Hug's eight fight win streak was brought to an end by then-two-time K-1 Grand Prix champion Peter Aerts in the first of their four meetings at K-1 Kings '97 on March 16, 1997. Soundly beaten inside the opening stanza, he was hurt by Aerts' right hand a number of times before being put away with a combination of an uppercut and a knee. He then fought to a five round split draw with Sam Greco at K-1 Braves '97 on April 29, 1997 before having his fourth and final battle with Mike Bernardo in his first WKA world super heavyweight title defence on June 7, 1997 at K-1 Fight Night '97 in Zurich. Bernardo registered a knockdown of Hug with a powerful left hook at the end of round two but it was not enough as Hug took the unanimous decision in the only fight of their 2-2 series to go the distance.[17][18]

On July 20, 1997 at K-1 Dream '97, Andy Hug met Francisco Filho in a rematch almost six years in the making; Filho had KO'd Hug at the third round of the 5th Kyokushin World Open back in 1991. The fight started tense and cagey, with little to no action for the majority of round one until Filho, making his debut under kickboxing rules, landed the decisive strike, a perfectly timed counter right hook, which sent Hug crashing to the canvas in a state of unconsciousness at the 2:37 mark.

With a record of 1-2-1 that year, he entered the Grand Prix in relatively poor form but qualified for the final eight nonetheless with a win over Pierre Guénette at K-1 Grand Prix '97 1st Round on September 7, 1997, putting away the Canadian taekwondo exponent with three knockdowns inside the first round. The round of eight went down on November 9 and saw the rubber match between Andy Hug and Masaaki Satake in the quarter-finals go just fifteen seconds as the Swiss dispatched his Japanese foe with a high kick. In the semis, Hug drew Peter Aerts and avenged his loss to the Dutchman eight months prior with a unanimous judges' decision victory. Having fought his way through to the final, he then lost to Ernesto Hoost by unanimous decision in the third of their four matches.[19]

He rebounded with a unanimous decision victory over Curtis Schuster on April 9, 1998 at K-1 Kings '98 and then had his third meeting with Peter Aerts in Zurich on June 6, 1998 at K-1 Fight Night '98. With his WKA World Super Heavyweight Muay Thai Championship on the line, Hug outfought Aerts over the five rounds to take a unanimous decision and make the second defence of his belt. On August 7, 1998 at the K-1 USA Grand Prix '98, K-1's first venture into the United States and Las Vegas, he dismantled Mike LaBree inside the first round, forcing him into a corner before stopping him with a flurry of punches immediately followed by a thudding low kick.

The 1998 Grand Prix began on September 27 with the round of sixteen at the K-1 World Grand Prix '98 Opening Round where Hug faced off with Mark Russell, one of the few opponents in his career who he had a size advantage over. He scored a knockdown over England's Russell in the latter part of round one and finished the job in two with a second consecutive leg kick stoppage. In a tune-up fight ahead of the Grand Prix finals, Hug KO'd Masaaki Miyamoto with a spinning backfist moments after dropping him with the same technique at K-1 Japan '98 Kamikaze on October 28, 1998.

At the K-1 Grand Prix '98 Final Round on December 13, 1998, he TKO'd Ray Sefo in the second round of their quarter-final match, knocking the New Zealander down twice with aggressive boxing combinations and forcing referee Nobuaki Kakuda to stop the fight,[20] before securing a majority decision against Sam Greco in the semis, a rematch of their draw a year earlier. There was also some controversy in the fight as both men continued to fight after the bell rung at the end of round two, with Greco knocking Hug to the canvas with a right hand. The tournament final saw Andy Hug draw Peter Aerts once again and in their fourth and final match against one another, Aerts emerged victorious via head kick knockout in the first round.[19]

Later career and coaching (1999–2000)[edit]

1999 was the most successful year for K-1 since its inception. Record numbers of spectators were recorded for all tournaments. Around this time, Hug also turned his hand to training other competitors at his facility in Lucerne, Switzerland, bringing through the next generation of Swiss heavyweights in Xhavit Bajrami, Björn Bregy and Petar Majstorović as well as foreign talent such as Great Kusatsu and Michael McDonald.

He began 1999 in devastating fashion, knocking out Tsuyoshi Nakasako with a second round spinning heel kick at K-1 Rising Sun '99 on February 3[21] and scoring a second TKO over Ray Sefo in their rematch at K-1 Revenge '99 on April 25 when the New Zealander's corner pulled their fighter out at the end of round four due to damage sustained. During that fourth round, Sefo was down for over four minutes and was seen by ringside physicians after sustaining a low blow before suffering two knockdowns, one from a low kick and the other a barrage of unanswered strikes.[22] Hug then registered back-to-back unanimous decision victories over Stefan Leko, in his third defence of the WKA strap at K-1 Fight Night '99 on June 5, and Maurice Smith, at K-1 Spirits '99 on August 22. Continuing his winning streak into the 1999 K-1 World Grand Prix, he floored Hiromi Amada twice with low kicks then finished him with a spinning heel kick in round one at the K-1 World Grand Prix '99 Opening Round on October 5. In the quarter-finals of the K-1 Grand Prix '99 Final Round, which was held on December 5, Hug met Ernesto Hoost for the fourth and last time. As early as the first round, Hug exacerbated a pre-existing groin injury. This handicap was so severe that it forced him to abandon a large part of his arsenal in his kicking game, and he dropped a unanimous decision.

Hug went 4-0 in 2000, the year of his death. He took a majority decision in his rematch with Musashi at K-1 Burning 2000 on March 19 and a unanimous decision against Glaube Feitosa after a back-and-forth war at K-1 The Millennium on April 23. In his Swiss retirement fight (his last fight in Switzerland) as well as his fourth and last WKA title defence, Hug defeated Mirko Cro Cop at K-1 Fight Night 2000 on June 3. Cro Cop put him under pressure with his boxing at numerous times, but Hug stayed active with his kicks and did enough to take the unanimous decision.

In what would prove to be his final match, Andy Hug scored a quick knockout over Nobu Hayashi at K-1 Spirits 2000 on July 7, 2000, sending his Japanese opponent to the canvas twice inside the first round. He was planning a retirement match and a move into acting in the near future at the time of his passing.[23]

Personal life[edit]

Andy met his wife Ilona Hug (born July 4, 1964 in Lucerne) in summer 1987 while she was working as a fitness trainer and model[24] and the couple married in Inwil on August 28, 1993.[25] Their son, Seya, was born at Lucerne's Klinik Saint Anna on November 19, 1994.[26] Around 1996, it became a struggle for Andy to see his family regularly due to his commitments in Japan and he encouraged Ilona to fulfill her desire to study art and design. Ilona and Seya moved to the United States where she attended the Santa Monica College of Design, Art and Architecture for two years before returning to Switzerland upon completion of her studies.[27] Andy and Ilona divorced in July 2000.[28]

During the late 1990s, Hug was frequently rumored to be romantically involved with model and actress Norika Fujiwara in the Japanese media.[29][30]

Death and legacy[edit]

Having divorced his wife Ilona the month before, Andy Hug was in Switzerland in early August 2000 when he suffered more than thirty-nine attacks of high fever and heavy nosebleeding. He visited a hospital for medical tests and examination but doctors found no sign of illness. Despite the advice of the doctors and his manager Rene Ernst, Hug travelled to Japan on August 14 to train ahead of his planned participation in the K-1 World Grand Prix 2000 in Fukuoka. On August 15, his Swiss personal physician found a swollen tumor on the left side of Hug’s neck and declared it malignant. He was rushed to the Nippon Medical School hospital in Bunkyo, Tokyo on August 19 after suffering more feverish attacks. The doctors diagnosed leukemia and began chemotherapy immediately. They also warned Hug that due to heart and circulation problems he had suffered for a while, the chemotherapy treatment might in fact adversely affect his condition. The doctors’ warnings proved true when, after starting chemotherapy, Hug suffered hemorrhaging of the brain and inflammation of the lungs (pneumonia) combined with extreme fever. His body showed all the signs of acute leukemia: purple spots, digestion pipe bleeding, eyeball bleeding, urinary tract bleeding and genitals bleeding.

On the morning of August 21, Seidokaikan and K-1 founder Kazuyoshi Ishii visited Hug at the hospital and Hug told him that if he should die soon, he would like to die in Japan. Andy was reportedly in good condition on August 22, watching television, eating without help and speaking to Ilona on the telephone. That day, he also released the following statement:

His condition worsened on August 23 as he had difficulty breathing in the morning and by afternoon had fallen into a coma and was placed on a life support system. While in the coma, his heart stopped three times but the doctors were able to regain his pulse. When his heart stopped a fourth time on August 24, the doctors decided against reviving him and let him pass away. He was pronounced dead at 4:21 pm on August 24, 2000, two weeks short of his thirty-sixth birthday.[32]

Reporting of Hug's death was broadcast live on Japanese news channels Fuji Television, Japan News Network, NHK World and TV Asahi. Peter Aerts, who was at the Nippon Medical School hospital having treatment on his lower back at the time, broke down crying for over two hours when told of Hug's passing. When interviewed, he dedicated his performance in the forthcoming K-1 World Grand Prix 2000 Final to Hug. An hour-long press conference attended by the five doctors who treated Hug, Kazuyoshi Ishii and Francisco Filho was also held at 8:45 pm that night.[33]

Hug's funeral was held on August 27 in Kyoto where his body was cremated and his ashes deposited in the cemetery of the Hoshuin temple. Eight hundred guests including Kazuyoshi Ishii, Hajime Kazumi, Akira Masuda, Shokei Matsui, Kenji Midori and Swiss President Adolf Ogi attended while more than twelve thousand mourners gathered outside. K-1 fighters Francisco Filho, Nobuaki Kakuda and Nicholas Pettas were among the pall-bearers.[34]

His legacy remains as a true legend in kickboxing and knockdown karate, as well as one of the greatest heavyweights in the history of both sports. Hug was the highest paid kickboxer in the world at one point and his matches in his native Switzerland, where he posted a perfect 6-0 record, drew a larger television audience than the tennis matches of Martina Hingis and the games of the Swiss national football team. In addition to his in-ring accomplishments, he was also known for his articulation, humility and strong work ethic.[33]

Championships and awards[edit]

Karate record[edit]

Kyokushin record
Seido record

Legend:       Win       Loss       Draw/No contest       Notes

Kickboxing record[edit]

Kickboxing record

Legend:       Win       Loss       Draw/No contest       Notes

External links[edit]

References[edit]