Japanese pro wrestling star Antonio Inoki vs. 6’7″ karate black belt

Sunday, March 05, 2017

In this old school bout from all the way back in 1980 we see karate legend Willie Williams ‘fight’ Japanese pro wrestling superstar Antonio Inoki in a mixed rules bout for the ‘World Heavyweight Martial Arts Championship.’

Now this bout is well-known to be a worked match, meaning it is more of a showpiece with the ending pre-determined but some of those shots look they may have actually connected.

For those that don’t know, Willie Williams was a pretty legit karate practitioner and was a big dude too. He stands 6’7″ tall and weighed around 230lbs. That is a long rangy dude with skills to boot.

Antonio Inoki was no small man either and stands 6’3″ tall and weighed well over 200 lbs as well. Inoki is still a big star in Japan and is famous worldwide for taking part in one of the first ever mixed rules bouts against the greatest fighter of all time, Muhammad Ali.

This bout against Williams, though like previously mentioned is a well-known work, also has its place in the history books as it is seen as a precursor to modern day MMA and strangely enough was even voted as the best pro fighting match in Japan in all of the 20th century.

In 1979, Willie Williams took part in the Karate World Championships. Around 160 fighters from all over the world were at the start of the open weight class. Williams was able to battle his way through the semifinals, where he was defeated by Keizo Mikabe. He made his second appearance at Karate World Championships in 1984. This time Willie Williams made it to the last 32.

In 1980, Williams fought Japan’s top pro-wrestling star Antonio Inoki for the World Heavyweight Martial Arts Championship in Tokyo. The bout ended in a draw after both competitors repeatedly fell out of the ring. Although the match was worked, it is seen as a precursor to modern mixed martial art. William’s fight against Inoki was voted as the top professional fighting match in Japan in the 20th century in 2003 by professional Japanese fight analysts. [Source: Wiki]

Next: Top 10 most crippling & scariest knockout GIFs in combat sports history