Fredrik Hjelm/Andy Hug - "Fighter Magazine" - "A Swedish fighter in the K-1?" page 2
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"1987 I started with ITF Tae Kwon Do in Malmo. 1988 I felt that the kickboxers I saw training at FOX gym in Malmo were superior compared to us, who were performing other kinds of martial arts. More impact, more power, considerably higher stamina and quality of the training regime. I started training kickboxing.


1992 I was awarded my black belt and worked as an instructor at FOX gym on and off during about a year, but personal and professional life demanded more time out of me, and I decided to stop training others and concentrate on my own training.


In 1997 I went to Tokyo, to see what that could bring me. I started up my own personal trainer business, kickboxing, at a gym called "Kingdom" which is located in central Tokyo. "Tank" Abbott, among others; train here when he is in Japan to fight.


After a little while, a Swiss fighter by the name of Andy Hug got to hear of me being in Tokyo. He wanted me to come to try out as a K-1 fighter.


Andy is a very tough fighter who started his career with Kyokushin Karate. He competed in full contact Karate for about 15 years before he switched styles to kickboxing.


Andy has among others fought Dolph Lundgren in full contact, which he won. (Note: Later on after this article was published, Dolph Lundgren contacted "Fighter Magazine" and denied that he ever fought Andy Hug. - Neither piece of information has been confirmed.)


Andy's first high level K-1 fight was against Branco Cikatic from Croatia in 1993. Andy also won this unusually bloody fight.


In November 1997, Andy lost a disputed K-1 final against Dutch fighter Ernesto Hoost, but is still a popular fighter much thanks to his spectacular kick techniques. The axe kicks in combination with low, middle and high round kicks are something that has made him close to the Japanese public's hearts. Even though he has to work hard to regain his lost title.


He is so popular now, that Andy Hug dolls are in the making, and also the Andy Hug video game. Andy makes appearances on national TV in Japan on a regular basis in different commercials. Among others, one where he kicks in a door - holding two buckets of noodles!


The amounts of money you can make on commercials, game shows and so on, is enormous. A popular fighter can make as much as a Hollywood movie star when they do commercials in Japan.


I have also appeared in a Japanese action film called "Steel Gun", and also in a K-1 documentary. It was shown on national Japanese TV where I was described as a "very strong fighter from Sweden." I was also portrayed in one of the biggest weekly magazines in Japan.


Already before I got the offer of K-1, I had decided to leave Japan to go to Los Angeles to become a personal trainer. I have had plenty of sleepless nights, though, to make up my mind whether it is going to be K-1 or California. I do have a feeling that the success in the States can be as big as in Japan.


I have the offer to come back to Japan anytime I want. "