The pressure of bouncing back from a loss in front of your home crowd may be tough for some, but after going toe-to-toe with Mirko Cro Cop, kickboxing just hasn’t been as stressful.
After building up his kickboxing career in Oklahoma, Randy Blake found himself in the ISKA finals, and after bringing home ISKA gold, Blake began testing himself in deeper waters. But before he could take a second to enjoy the view, he was shoved in the deep end.
“I would actually stay up in high school watching ISKA films or the K-1 footage and you’d see highlights of Rick Roufus, Michael McDonald, Ernesto Hoost and Mirko Cro Cop just laying people out,” Blake said. “I was a fan and Cro Cop laid a lot of dudes out. It’s amazing to watch a man kick a dude in the face and lay them out. For me to get that opportunity to fight him was really exciting.”
Blake took more excitement than nerves into the fight. Knowingly put into the bout as a sacrificial lamb, it all went according to plan, for the most part. While Cro Cop couldn’t land the shot Blake, along with everybody else, was used to seeing him land, he was besting the green challenger until the final round.
“We got in a clinch and he threw me on the ground and acted like he was going to uppercut me and I just got up and blasted him as hard as I could,” Blake explained. “I dropped him, and he got an eight count. It was a great experience and to me that fight solidified my place in the fight world.”
Blake would ultimately lose a majority decision, but the “sacrificial lamb’s” Japanese debut and K-1 debut was the closest thing to a successful outing he could have hoped for. He was no longer a guy who kickboxed - he was a kickboxer.
Blake has had successful stints in K-1, as well as Glory Kickboxing, and still in his prime he’s back in Tulsa, back at XFN, and fighting in a highly anticipated rematch with Rob “The Destroyer” Morrow.
While temptation may be high sometimes, Blake lets his current performances make an impression on people, as opposed to re-living his Cro Cop memories to every new face.
One thing he does carry with him in his memory of that bout is a desensitization to intimidation.
“I’ve always had that extra confidence,” Blake said. “Not that I’m going to take away from those other guys, but when you get in there with Cro Cop and go the distance and you can actually say you dropped him, that’s something I’ll always take into all of my fights.”
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