Akio Mori (born 1972) was a Seidokaikan karate practitioner and world cup competitor when he was invited by the K-1 organization to switch to kickboxing. After a thunderous debut and successful first year that saw him compete in the World Grand Prix, he began an uphill battle to truly establish himself among the greatest heavyweights.
Taking his ring name from the legendary swordsman, Musashi defied the division’s norm by adopting a highly technical fighting style which focused on punching acumen as much as kicking. He first gained a foothold by winning the WAKO World Heavyweight Muay Thai Championship, then emerged victorious in four regional qualifying tournaments. He reached the peak of his success in 2003 and 2004, when he beat several of the company’s most respected fighters to make it to the finals of the World Grand Prix. He is one of only nine kickboxers to compete in the finals more than once.
Musashi retired in 2009 without having won kickboxing’s greatest prize, though he had long since become one of the most successful and recognizable Japanese heavyweights of all time. At the time of this posting, he manages his own promotional company in Japan.
This video contains footage of his fights against An Hu, Peter Aerts, Nobuaki Kakuda, Josh Dempsey, Kaoklai Kaennorsing, Rick Roufus, Kirkwood Walker, Greg Vojtieck, Randy Kim, Glaube Feitosa, Bernard Ackah, Remy Bonjasky, Mirko Filipovic, Jerome Le Banner, Nobu Hayashi, Rickard Nordstrand, Masaaki Satake, Ray Sefo, David Dancrade, Tatsufumi Tomihira, Montanha Silva, and Kit Lykins.
Artist: Alexander Nakarada
Video link: https://youtu.be/wcS2wD32GPQ
Photo by Oliver Sperling, The Ax Forum