Respect Your Elders: A Look Into Kickfighting History with David Leonardo Barcena (Pt. 4)

In the last two or three years kickboxing and muay thai has undergone somewhat of an explosion in the western world. With the introduction of massive organizations like GLORY, Lion Fight, Superkombat, MAX, and Thai Fight, kickfighting is experiencing a surge of popularity that nearly rivals its golden age appeal.

Contrary to what youtube may lead us to be believe, the sport of kickboxing did not begin with K-1. Before the original continent spanning promotion changed the perception of what kickboxing was, certain legendary fighters from around the world helped establish the sport we know today.

David Leonardo Barcena is a longtime student of kickboxing history. A resident of Spain, David is currently in the midst of composing a book on the history of kickboxing. In this weekly segment on Fight Sport Asia, David Leonardo Barcena will give us a glimpse into the heart this sport’s storied and (mostly) unwritten past. We might see fighter highlights, organization highlights, or stories from an era most of us weren’t around to remember.

We sincerely appreciate David granting us his insight into a near forgotten aspect of sports lore, and would like to thank him by encouraging the progress of his new book, set to be released at an undefined date.

Branko Cikatic “The Croatian Tiger”


Branimir Cikatic better known as Branco, The Rock, was born on October 4, 1955 in the beautiful and historic city of Split, along the Adriatic Sea in former Yugoslavia (Croatia currently).
Branco Cikatic has made history as one of the longest and most successful careers of contact sports. Since the beginning of full contact (american Kickboxing, no low kicks), the birth of Muay Thai in Europe and the emergence of macro tournament K-1 in 1993, Branco Cikatic has been a pioneer and champion in all disciplines, a unique case in the history of our young sport.

With an austere but effective style, he had one of the best right crosses on the world circuit, and a lead hand that provided many memorable victories.

During his amateur career, Cikatic was a WAKO European and World Full Contact champion. He repeatedly won the European Title under Pro Full Contact rules, and was ranked as the world’s number 2 PKA in 1983.
Then, soon after, he discovered Muay Thai and Kickboxing in the Chakuriki Dojo, owned by the legendary Thom Harinck in Holland.

After joining Chakuriki, Cikatic began fighting worldwide, from Paris to Melbourne, passing through Las Vegas, Amsterdam, Tokyo and all the great capitals of Kickboxing.

He won world titles in Full Contact, Kickboxing and Thai boxing, and in 1993 caused a massive upset by winning the biggest tournament in the history of the heavyweights, the K-1 Grand Prix, which had been born that year in Japan. Making his victory even more impressive was the fact that Cikatic was over 37 year old at the time. That victory consecrated him as one of the best kickboxers of his age.

Cikatuc won the tournament decisively with three consecutive KO victories against Changpuek Kiatsongrit, Masaaki Satake and Ernesto Hoost in the final.

Professional Career:
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 champion in Full contact (Caen, France)
1982 European champion in Full contact (Berlin)
Amateur Career:
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)

braco cik 04

By: David Leonardo Barcena


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Categories: K-1, Kickboxing


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