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In loving memory of Andy Hug

by Oliver Sperling

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 The same year Andy Hug left the Kyokushin organization, he became World Open Champion in Seido karate, by wining the finale against Taiei Kin on 5-0 judge decision. One year later, in 1993, Andy was again in the finale in the Seido World Cup, by wining on TKO against the famous fighter Nobukai Kakuda in the opening rounds. The finale was a fight against the Japanese champion Masaaki Satake. It was a finale where Andy Hug controlled the fight from start to finish! Andy even hit Satake in the face with his famous axe kick so hard that Satake went down. But fighting against the national hero and champion, Andy was fighting against uneven odds, and he lost the fight and the finale on tameshiwari after three extension rounds. But he won the heart of the Japanese people, and got the nickname: The samurai with blue eyes. 

It was also in 1993 that Andy Hug started his K-1 career. On 5th November 1993, Andy had his debut in the K-1 against Ryuji Murakami, a fight that Andy won by TKO in the first round, after he knocked out Ryuji three times in only 50 seconds. Andy Hug became a superstar from Hokkaido to Okinawa. But it was not only his famous axe-kick, super strength and his sublime technique that made him the people's choice, it was his spirit and warmth that earned him the deep respect of his opponents and the deep love of his fans. 
  In Japan Andy Hug received the title of "Samurai" which is a distinction of great honor. Kancho Ishii, the promoter of the K-1 in Japan tells: "The reason why the people in Japan like Andy so much is because he owns something that the Japanese respects: a big heart, generosity, strength and a will of iron."

Since Andy Hug was a young boy, he was inspired from the "Rocky" movie to train passionately in his quest to become a World Champion. Andy became a champion - many times. Andy did take on the world, working through Kyokushin and Seidokaikan karate. In 1996, Andy Hug's determination netted him the title of the best martial arts fighter in the world. But before he became K-1 champion in 1996, and K-1 finalist in 1997 and 1998, Andy also won the UKF World Super Heavyweight Champion, WMTC World Super Heavyweight Champion, WKA World & European Muay Thai Super & Heavyweight Champion. 

Andy was in Japan when he collapsed, and was taken to the Nippon Medical School Hospital for further tests and medical examination. Andy's personal physician found a swelling tumor on the left side of his neck, and that was when doctors realized he was suffering from Leukemia. Treatment began immediately, including chemotherapy. Andy knew that he was seriously ill, and so he contacted his wife Ilona by phone  to tell her the news about his health and his condition. Andy told Ilona that he would not return to Switzerland, but that he would stay in Japan. Andy said: Japan is my home, and here I will stay and fight the illness. 

 On 21st August at 9 a.m. Kancho Ishii visited Andy Hug at the Nippon Medical School Hospital. According to Kancho Ishii, they talked about the K-1 tournament in Yokohama on the 20th of August, which Andy's friend Francisco Filho won. Andy also told Ishii that if he should die soon, he would like to die in Japan. 

On Thursday, 24th August, at 18:21 - Andy Hug died at the age of  35 years old. According to Japanese TV, Andy's heart stopped three times, but somehow the doctors managed to get his pulse back again. But the fourth time Andy's heart stopped, the doctors no longer tried to bring Andy back to life, and let Andy slip peacefully into death. The fight ended when the doctors stopped. 

There are precious few heroes in this world, and we were privileged to come to know a very special one in our beloved Andy. He was only a few weeks short of his 36th birthday, when he suddenly died. Shihan Andy Hug will be sorely missed by many, not only in the martial arts community. My deepest condolence is offered to Andy Hug's family and friends.


Oliver Sperling.


I would like to thank the best sports photographer in the world, Susumu Nagao for pictures and friendship. Without your great pictures this homepage and tribute to Andy Hug would not be possible.
Please visit Susumu Nagao's  homepage for more Andy Hug pictures

Thanks to Yo Onda from the People-group, Division of the K-magazine, for always taking the time to help and for information. I highly respect your kindness.

All the pictures on this homepage, were sent to me by  friends and Andy Hug fans from around the world, from Canada, Brazil, Holland to Japan. I would like to take the opportunity to thank you all for making this homepage possible!

Special thanks to Susumu Nagao, Yo Onda, Sempai Andrew Ho and Dirk Stal.

This homepage was  made by Oliver Sperling/Denmark.


This is a short version of the article written by Oliver Sperling. For more information and photos of Andy visit