Nicholas Pettas

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Nicholas Pettas
Nicholas Pettas Profile Pic.JPG
Pettas at K-1 Turkey 07
Born (1973-01-23) January 23, 1973 (age 47)
Mykonos, Greece
Other namesThe Blue-Eyed Samurai
NationalityGreece Greek
Height1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Weight98 kg (216 lb; 15.4 st)
StyleKyokushin Karate[1]
Fighting out ofTokyo, Japan
TeamTeam Spirit AE
RankBlack belt in Kyokushin
Years active1991–2008
Kickboxing record
By knockout8
By knockout8
Other information
OccupationMartial arts instructor, dojo owner, actor
Notable studentsKoichi Watanabe

Nicholas Pettas (born January 23, 1973, in Mykonos) is a Greek karateka, former heavyweight kickboxer and actor, who fought out of Team Spirit AE in Tokyo, Japan. Pettas mainly competed in the promotion K-1 between 1998 and 2007, and was the winner of the K-1 Japan Grand Prix 2001.[2]

Although an undersized heavyweight, Pettas is known for his powerful low kicks and holds notable victories over Yusuke Fujimoto, Nobu Hayashi, Musashi, Gökhan Saki and Peter Varga.

Early life and karate career[edit]

Pettas was born in Mykonos, Greece. Following the death of his father, he moved to Denmark with his mother.

After being beaten up in a street fight when he was fourteen, he decided to join a karate school to learn to defend himself. Not knowing which styles there were, he was introduced to Kyokushin by Michael Mattheson, a friend of his brother Tony. He found himself a new following and needed no more schooling, and so at the age of eighteen decided to leave high school in order to save up money to go to Japan and study with Masutatsu Oyama, the founder of Kyokushin. After getting permission to join the uchi-deshi program, a live-in training of 1000 days, he moved to Japan from Denmark at the age of eighteen. At the age of twenty-one, he completed the vigorous training course to become the second non-Japanese ever to finalize the program (the first being Judd Reid). He was last uchi-deshi of Master Oyama, who died soon after Pettas' graduation.[3]

After his graduation of the programme, he competed in several tournaments and achieved many significant titles and honours such as reaching the title in European Karate Championships and placing 5th and 3rd place in the World Championships, respectively in 1995 and 1997.[4]

Kickboxing career[edit]

Early career (1998–2002)[edit]

Following his successful career in full contact karate, Pettas joined K-1, a Japan-based kickboxing organization. He made his debut against Stefan Leko at K-1 Dream '98 on July 18, 1998, in Nagoya, Japan. Leko was able to dominate Pettas with his superior boxing skills, and knocked him out in the second round.[5]

After a decision loss to Ryuta Noji in March 1999, Pettas returned to K-1 to compete in the eight-man tournament at the K-1 World Grand Prix 2000 in Nagoya on July 30, 2000. He stopped fellow karateka Ricky Nickolson with a low kick in the quarter-finals before going on to face Jérôme Le Banner in the semis. The end of the fight was somewhat bizarre. Le Banner knocked Pettas down twice, forcing the referee to stop the match. Upon the second knockdown, Pettas returned to his feet sharply and prepared to punch Le Banner only to stop. Le Banner then replied by striking Pettas with a right hook, knocking him unconscious.[6]

Following this, he lost a unanimous decision to Michael McDonald in a superfight at the K-1 World Grand Prix 2000 in Fukuoka on October 9, 2000.[7] He bounced back, however, by using low kicks to KO Peter Varga at K-1 Gladiators 2001 on March 17, 2001.[8]

The peak of Pettas' career came on August 19, 2001, when he won the K-1 Andy Memorial 2001 Japan GP Final at the Tokyo Dome. He finished Yusuke Fujimoto and Nobu Hayashi with his now-famous low kicks in the quarters and semis, respectively, before advancing to the final to take on Musashi. After three rounds the bout was called a draw and went into an extra round to decide the winner, after which Pettas prevailed with a unanimous decision victory.[9][10]

This tournament win qualified him for the 2001 K-1 World Grand Prix, the annual gathering of the best heavyweight kickboxers in the world for a one-night tournament. At the K-1 World Grand Prix 2001 Final in Tokyo on December 8, 2001, he was eliminated at the first stage by Alexey Ignashov. Ignashov, the much larger fighter, dominate Pettas before knocking him out with a knee strike in round two.[11]

He returned to the ring on April 21, 2002, against Peter Aerts at K-1 Burning 2002 in Hiroshima, and was knocked out with a knee once again.[12] Then, on June 2, 2002, he fought Sergei Gur at K-1 Survival 2002 in Toyama. During the second round, Pettas hit Gur with a right low kick. Gur checked the kick, breaking Pettas' shin bone. This injury kept Pettas out of competition for 3 years and 4 months.[13]

Return from injury and later career (2005–2008)[edit]

He finally returned to the ring on October 8, 2005, against a young Gökhan Saki at Bushido Europe: Rotterdam Rumble in Rotterdam, Netherlands. He defeated Saki via technical knockout when his corner stopped the fight in the second round.[14]

In late 2006, Pettas knocked out two low-level opponents and earned a return to K-1. Badr Hari greeted him in his second debut at the annual New Year's Eve martial arts event, K-1 PREMIUM 2006 Dynamite!!, on December 31, 2006. Hari won the fight as Pettas was unable to continue after obtaining a broken arm in the second round.[15]

He then rematched Peter Aerts in a superfight at the K-1 World Grand Prix 2007 in Hong Kong on August 5, 2007. Aerts got the better once again, knocking Pettas out with a spectacular high kick in round two.[16]

After losing his past five fights in K-1, Pettas finally broke this streak with a sensational KO victory over South Korean giant Kim Young-hyun at K-1 PREMIUM 2007 Dynamite!! on December 31, 2007. Pettas wore down Kim, who stood thirteen inches taller than him, with low kicks before dispatching him with punches forty-one seconds into round two.[17]

His last fight came on August 9, 2008, when he was eliminated in the quarter-finals of the K-1 World Grand Prix 2008 in Hawaii by Rick Cheek, severing a muscle in his thigh made him pull out and Rick Cheek was awarded the winner by TKO due to referee stoppage.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Pettas currently lives in Tokyo, Japan.[19] He is also an actor, appearing in Japanese cinema and television. Perhaps his best known role is alongside Kimura Takuya in the TV drama Change. From 2008 to 2009, the NHK World show Samurai Spirit was created and produced to fit his personality and the show has won several international prizes for best sports educational shows and best sports documentary. He is currently co-presenter of the NHK World television show Imagine-nation, with Chiaki Horan.[20] He is currently a Reebok Ambassador and Trainer. With his current success he plans on opening a second Reebok CrossFit in Roppongi.



  • European Heavyweight Champion (1995)
  • 6th World Open Karate Tournament 5th Place (1995) (lost to Francisco Filho)
  • 1st World Weight Category Championships 3rd Place (1997) (lost to Glaube Feitosa)
  • 7th World Open Karate Tournament 5th Place (1999) (lost to Aleksandr Pitchkounov)
  • 10th Shin Karate World Championships Champion (2000)



  • House of Smack Down (2003)
  • Road 88 (2003)
  • Sibirian Express 5 (2004)
  • Oh! My Zombie Mermaid (2004)
  • Wrestling Inferno (2005)
  • The Winds of God, Kamikaze (2005)
  • LoveDeath (2006)
  • Puzzle (2008)
  • Change (2008)
  • Fumō Chitai (2009)

Kickboxing record[edit]

Kickboxing record

Legend:   Win   Loss   Draw/No contest

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Pettas Profile". Archived from the original on May 13, 2008. Retrieved July 27, 2008.
  2. ^ Monty DiPietro. "Nicholas Pettas Wins K-1 Japan GP". K-1. Archived from the original on October 6, 2008. Retrieved July 27, 2008.
  3. ^ Nick Pettas Biography
  4. ^ Archived January 28, 2013, at titles at Kyokushin4life
  5. ^ "K-1 Dream '98 Results". K-1 Official Website.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "K-1 World Grand Prix 2000 in Nagoya Results". - Your Source for Everything K-1.
  7. ^ "K-1 World Grand Prix 2000 in Fukuoka Results". - Your Source for Everything K-1.
  8. ^ "K-1 Gladiators 2001 Results". - Your Source for Everything K-1.
  9. ^ Monty DiPietro. "World GP 2001 Final". Retrieved July 27, 2008.
  10. ^ "Nicholas Pettas Wins Japan GP". Archived from the original on April 26, 2012. Retrieved December 2, 2011.
  11. ^ "K-1 World Grand Prix 2001 Final Results". K-1 Official Website. Archived from the original on February 26, 2011.
  12. ^ "K-1 Burning 2002 Results". - Your Source for Everything K-1.
  13. ^ "K-1 Survival 2002 Results". - Your Source for Everything K-1.
  14. ^ Rotterdam Rumble Weigh-In and Press Conference
  15. ^ Monty DiPietro. "Schilt Wins Again, Akiyama Beats Sakuraba at Dynamite '06". Retrieved July 27, 2008.
  16. ^ "Fujimoto Defends K-1 Asia GP Title in Hong Kong". K-1 grand Prix Website. Archived from the original on October 11, 2007. Retrieved August 22, 2007.
  17. ^ Monty DiPietro. "Sakuraba Still Dynamite!!". Retrieved July 27, 2008.
  18. ^ DiPietro, Monty. "Saki Crowned K-1 USA GP Champ in Hawaii". K-1 Grand Prix Website. Archived from the original on August 8, 2009. Retrieved August 10, 2008.
  19. ^ Nick Pettas interview
  20. ^ "imagine-nation". NHK. Archived from the original on June 15, 2013. Retrieved May 5, 2013.

External links[edit]