Branko Cikatić (Croatia)
Martial Arts Legend
Branko "The Croatian Tiger" Cikatić (born October 3, 1954) is a Croatian former heavyweight kickboxer, the first Croatian born fighter to achieve international success. He was the first K-1 World Grand Prix tournament champion held on April 30, 1993 in Japan.
Biography and career
Cikatić began his martial arts training at the age of 12 when he took up Taekwondo, and later Shotokan Karate at 16. He eventually earned a black belt in both of these disciplines, as well as a blue belt in Judo. When he was 18 years old, he took up boxing before switching to kickboxing.
He surprised the martial arts world by storming the 1993 K-1 Grand Prix tournament, knocking out all three of his opponents in one evening, including Ernesto Hoost in the final match. To date, Cikatić is the oldest winner of the K-1 Grand Prix at 38 years and 208 days.
He extended his athletic resume to include mixed martial arts in 1998, fighting in the Pride Fighting Championships. His PRIDE debut was fought against Ralph White under K-1 rules format. Cikatić lost via disqualification after kicking the head of the downed White. Cikatić returned at Pride 2, fighting under MMA rules and facing Mark Kerr. He was again disqualified after holding the ring ropes when Kerr attempted a takedown, refusing to let go when directed by the referee, running away through the ring ropes, and delivering several illegal elbows to the back of Kerr's head. His next fight at Pride 7 ended in a submission loss to Maurice Smith by forearm choke.
Towards the end of his sports career, Cikatić tried his hand at acting, playing a villain in a 1997 B-movie Skyscraper, starring Anna Nicole Smith.
- 1998 World Champion WMTA (Zagreb)
- 1995 K-1 Grand Prix 3rd Place (Tokyo)
- 1993 K-1 World Grand Prix Champion (Tokyo)
- 1991 World champion in Thai boxing 86 kg (Berlin)
- 1990 World Champion IKBF in kick-boxing 86 kg
- 1989 WKA in kick-boxing 86 kg
- 1987 World champion in Thai boxing 82.5 kg (Amsterdam)
- 1986 European champion in Thai boxing (Paris)
- 1985 European champion in Thai boxing (Amsterdam)
- 1983 European Championships in Caen (Full-Contact)
- 1982 European Championships in Berlin (Full-Contact)
- 1981 W.A.K.O. European Championships in Dublin -79 kg (Full-Contact)
- 1981 W.K.K.A. World Championships in Miami 79 kg (Full-Contact)
- 1980 W.A.K.O. European Championships in London -79 kg (Full-Contact)
- 1979 W.A.K.O. European Championships in Milan -79 kg (Full-Contact)