K-1 legend Mike Bernardo (1969-2012) has passed away according to reports. This is a huge blow to the kickboxing community as Bernardo was one of the premiere heavyweights in the golden days of K-1. More details to come.
Mike was a staple of the K-1 roster in the 90s and a huge commodity in Japan. The South African was a World Grand Prix finalist, and had wins over notable names such as Peter Aerts, Mirko Cro Cop, Andy Hug, Francisco Filho & Branco Cikatic. Bernardo also had a successful boxing career, drawing with famed LA based trainer Justin Fortune and beating Tyson victim Peter McNeeley. If you ever have the time I suggest watching the documentary “This is Mike Bernardo” to get a good look into the man and the early days of K-1. Watch below to relive one of Bernardo’s epic knockout wins in a famed rivalry with the then undisputed king of the division Peter Aerts.
Mike was the first fighter to effectively incorporate boxing at a high level in the K-1 circuit, and paved the way for many after him. A true loss to the kickboxing community.
R.I.P. to a kickboxing pioneer and great man.