Georgian Fighter Giga Chikadze Returns to the Ring at Glory 27

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Giga Chikadze 2In the United States, boxing was the king of combat sports for nearly 100 years. In the 1970s-and-80s, with the rise of Kung Fu and Karate, Kickboxing started to make headway but faded out of favor with an audience that thought using your feet was a cheap way to fight. It also didn’t help that in the late 1980s, ESPN would air the fights at 2 a.m.

In November of 1993, with the birth of the UFC, boxing had a new rival in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and as other promotions surfaced in MMA, Kickboxing continued to flourish in Europe and Asia with K-1 and It’s Showtime. As the ground game of MMA alienated casual fans who did not understand, Judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or Wrestling, the stand up fighters began to gain popularity and through the interest in Muay Thai, Kickboxing and even more traditional Karate, strikers became more noticeable.

Thanks to that notice, GLORY has become one of the most popular organizations the world of striking has seen in the United States and on February 26, 2016, Georgian Giga Chikadze (34-4-0 in Kickboxing, 1-1 in GLORY) will return to the organization in an attempt to avenge his loss to Uzbek fighter Anvar Boynazarov (79-20-2 in Kickboxing, 1-1 in GLORY). You can watch the fight in its entirety here:

“In Georgia, my life is totally different from this life. I’m from the capital and people love me there; here I’m no one and had to start with zero. I’m doing this for the second time,” said Chikadze who is working to build his name here in the United States.

Chikadze began training in Kyokoshin Karate at the age of four; his father who was a judoka for the Soviet Olympic team had a friend who began training Chikadze. It wasn’t until he turned 8 years old that Chikadze moved onto Goju Ryu Karate training with Paata Chelidze who had trained under Morio Higaonna in Europe, a relative of one of the founders of Goju Ryu and founded Naha-te Karate.

For those that don’t know, Goju Ryu was founded by Chōjun Miyagi, the inspiration for the character in the 1984 film, The Karate Kid. As he grew older and the desire to compete consumed him, Chikadze left the Republic of Georgia and moved to the Netherlands to train with  and developed a distinctly Dutch style of Kickboxing.

Chikadze sheepishly admits to earning his black belt at 14 years old and a spot on the Georgian national team, fighting adults in their late-teens to early-20s. It was a year later at that he was asked to be in a Kickboxing bout and with no experience in the sport accepted the challenge of a European Champion in the 125 lb flyweight division, knocking him out with a low kick in the first round.

The draw to Kickboxing was strong for the then 15-year-old who enjoyed being seen on television for his efforts and began training in the sport at home in Georgia, but continued to fight in Karate as well in the European and World Cups.

Giga Chikadze“After being in the European and World Cups, I was sitting at home and looking at the fights of Badr Hari in Euro Sport. I decided to send them my CV. I made little movies I put on YouTube and sent to Golden Glory, which was one of the biggest gyms at the time with Alistair Overeem and Semmy Schilt…I went for three weeks as a tourist and after one week, they gave me a fight because a guy from their gym was injured. I won the fight against the guy from the United States,” said Chikadze about his trial by fire into the world of Dutch Kickboxing.

It was after that victory, promoter and head trainer, Cor Hemmers arranged for Chikadze and his wife to receive visas to enter the Netherlands and three months later began training full time at Golden Glory.

“My style is a lot of things now together. Right now I am now training with Master Rafael (Cordeiro) and his style is different Muay Thai is different than Dutch Kickboxing and my style of Karate and Dutch Kickboxing is totally different. Now I’m trying to combine all together. My problem always was I had a lot of techniques and when I was fighting with a guy, I would try to win on his style,” said Chikadze on the evolution of his stand up game.

Chikadze existance is not all about fighting. He earned a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration and used the instagram monikher @knockoutcancer after his mother had suffered  and died from cancer in 2012. Chikadze was financially supporting his mother through his fighting and the tee-shirt sales of the Knockout Cancer charity that is being run by his sister and father in Georgia. The hopes is to expand the foundation into the United States and the rest of the world. His current gym Kings MMA is more than willing to help in that process.

The fight between Chikadze and Boynazarov  will air live Friday, February 26, 2016 on ESPN 3 and the replay will air on ESPN 2.

You can find Giga Chikadze via social media at:

Instagram: @knockoutcancer
Twitter: @giga_chikadze
Facebook: Giga Chikadze

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