Meet Badr Hari: The Bad Boy of Kickboxing

A Detailed Look at Badr Hari and His Career

Introduction

Badr Hari is one of the most controversial Kickboxers, surrounded by rumors, speculations and often in the line of fire when it comes to criticism courtesy of fans, fighters, the press etc.

Hari has a long rap sheet of arrests – even facing a manslaughter  charge back in 2012.

On Tuesday the Supreme Court sentenced kickboxer Badr Hari to two years in prison, 10 months conditionally suspended. The Dutch kickboxer was found guilty of various assaults, including that of now deceased businessman Koen Everink at Sensation White in Amsterdam in 2012. After Hari’s time in custody is subtracted from the sentence, he still has to spend about 6 months in jail, NU.nl reports.

Born and raised in Holland by Moroccan parents, Hari was sent to the local Kickboxing gym at the age of 7 – his father wanted him to learn how to defend himself.

There have been several reports on Hari hanging out with football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, and speculations on whether the two were in an actual relationship. News.com.au also had an article about it with some pictures of Ronaldo and Hari together – pictures posted by Hari himself on SoMe.

Badr Hari carrying Cristiano Ronaldo
‘Just married’ … Cristiano Ronaldo and friend Badr Hari pretend to get hitched. Picture: Instagram.

 

Hari became famous worldwide, when he was a regular fighter on the Japanese K-1 circuit.
As of right now he is ranked #8 in the world in the Heavyweight division by Glory Kickboxing.

Badr "Bad Boy" Hari profile picture
Badr “Bad Boy” Hari. Photo credit: fightlive.cz.

How It All Started

Hari was born and raised in Amsterdam in the Netherlands. He is of Berber descent and his parents are Moroccans from the Houara tribe, who relocated to the Netherlands before Hari was born. When Hari was seven years old, he began practicing kickboxing under the guidance of former world champion Mousid Akamrane.
Later in his life, as a teenager, he began training at the renowned Sitan Gym, with owner and trainer Mohammed Aït Hassou. Unfortunately for Hari, the Sitan Gym moved to Rotterdam, so Hari joined the gym known for producing some of the toughest fighters in the world, the famous Chakuriki Gym.

Hari was always representing the Netherlands when he fought in his early career, but when he lost a fight to the German K-1 fighter Stefan “Blitz” Leko in 2005, he switched over to representing Morocco. The fight against Leko was the first time his parents attended one of his fights, and Hari asked to address the Dutch audience after the fight. Nobody understood what Hari was saying, and people proceeded to boo him. Sources close to Hari says that he reacted strongly to the outbursts of the crowd – he thought that people were extremely ungrateful. This is when he decided to start representing Morocco when fighting. Hari also decided to stop working with the world class trainer Thom Harinck at Chakuriki, and started to train at Mike’s Gym under the guidance of Mike Passenier.

Hari with Harinck in front of Chakuriki Gym
Hari with legendary trainer Thom Harinck. Photo courtesy of volkskrant.nl.

Kickboxing Career

The Early Days

When Hari was seven years old, his father told him to take up Kickboxing, so he could defend himself from the bullies in the neighborhood. It was obvious from day one, that Hari was a natural talent, so he already started to fight regularly as a Junior at the age of 11.
As a teenager Hari started to work with Harinck, and due to Harinck being a world class trainer and having a solid, global network, Hari started to become famous.

When he was 18 years old, he had amassed 50 amateur fights, and he turned to professional fighting. One year later he was fighting none other than Alexey “The Scorpion” Ignashov at the Johan Cruijf Arena – the biggest football stadium in the Netherlands.
Hari took the fight on short notice and obviously lost. Be he gained a lot of respect from the fight community and his opponent Ignashov.

Hari decided to leave Thom Harinck in early 2005, after losing the fight against Stefan “Blitz” Leko – he joined the Simon Rutz’s It’s Showtime team, where he trained at the legendary Mejiro Gym for a few months, before he re-joined Harinck at Chakuriki. The re-union only lasted a couple of weeks though, and Hari was now the new student of Mike Passenier of Mike’s Gym.

The Road To K-1

Hari got famous from fighting Leko twice in 2005. The first fight took place at an It’s Showtime event in June 2005, where Hari started his bad boy demeanor.
Two things can be said about the fight: Firstly Hari’s entrance to the ring took far longer than the actual fight, and secondly he was knocked out cold by Leko’s trademark spinning back kick.

In November 2005 Hari got his chance of revenge. He entered the K-1 World Grand Prix 2005 tournament as a reserve fighter against Leko, making his K-1 World Grand Prix debut. Hari was only 20 years old.
Hari knocked out Leko by a spinning back high kick to the jaw at 1:30 in the second round, and showed great sportsmanship after the KO, as he helped Leko up and escorted the dazed German to the corner.

 

K-1 New Zealand 2006

Hari was scheduled to participate at the K-1 World Grand Prix 2006 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands on May 13th. But he was offered a last minutte fight at the K-1 World Grand Prix 2006 in Auckland, New Zealand. His opponent in the first fight was the Australian Peter “The Chief” Graham.
I met Graham when I was at the K-1 World Grand Prix 2001 Final in Tokyo, Japan. “The Chief” was an Uchi-deshi at the Kyokushin Honbu Dojo – ie. Graham was living 24/7 and training at the headquarter of Kyokushin (karate). Graham was a friendly, down to earth guy, who always seemed to be in a good mood, and just loved living the life of an “Inside student” at Kyokushin.
But Hari would once again show his bad side, and at the press conference he abused and attacked Graham verbally, resulting in the two having a fist fight right in front of the global press and the attending fans!
When it was fight time, Graham was probably mad at Hari, but he kept his cool, stayed focus, and knocked Hari out cold with his trademark “Rolling Thunder” kick. The heel of Graham landed flush on the jaw of Hari.
Graham’s kick broke Hari’s jaw in multiple places and sidelined Hari for twelve months.

Graham puts Hari to sleep with his signature Rolling Thunder kick
Graham puts Hari to sleep with his signature Rolling Thunder kick. Photo courtesy of livekickboxing.blogspot.com.

 

Return to K-1

Hari had established him self as a world class fighter, but also as a sort of problem child. Somebody who might be suffering from a mental disorder. Nevertheless he had arrived on the K-1 circuit!
His return after the jaw injuries was at the K-1 World Grand Prix 2006 Final Elimination in Osaka, Japan. Hari fought Ruslan Karaev, and he was hurt bad with a straight right, that left Hari slouching over in the corner. But then Karaev delivered a kick to Hari’s face, and the referee started to count – Hari didn’t make the count. Hari and his corner protested immediately, claiming that the kick was a foul, since Hari was »downed«.
The referee ignored the protests, as any professional referee should, but then Hari and his corner crew proceeded to cause a right commotion in the ring. They refused to leave but were eventual escorted out to the backstage are by K-1 officials, where Hari, who left the ring extremely angry, proceeded to completely trash his changing room.
The Bad Boy would get a re-match six months later.

Even though he was knocked out cold, Hari was once again picked as a reserve fighter for the K-1 Grand Prix 2006 Finals against the Polish Paul Slowinski, who lived and trained in Australia.
Hari won the fight by unanimous decision.
Later that year, on New Year’s Eve, Hari fought the Danish Karateka Nicholas Pettas, who used to live and train at the Kyokushin main school together with Peter Graham. This was at the K-1 Premium 2006 Dynamite!! event: Hari broke Pettas’s left shoulder in the second round with a right high kick.

At the K-1 World GP 2007 in Yokohama, Japan, Hari would fight Karaev again.
Karaev and Hari’s match up was one of two bouts to qualify for the first K-1 heavyweight title fight, scheduled on April 28th 2007 in Hawaii.
Hari was knocked down in the second round. He barely made the count, but made it back to his feet just as Karaev was trying to finish the fight with a wild, swinging punch. Hari ducked the punch, and landed a right cross to score a fight ending KO.

 

K-1 Heavyweight Champion

In 2007 the K-1 organization introduced championship belts and titles.
Hari would fight the Japanese Yusuke Fujimoto on April the 28th at the K-1 World GP 2007 in Hawaii for the newly introduced Heavyweight title (and belt).
It was a sad mismatch which Hari won in 56 seconds with a kick to the chin of Fujimoto.
Hari was crowned the first ever K-1 Heavyweight Champion of the world.

The grim loss to the Ozzie Graham was still lurking in the back of Hari’s head. He got his chance at revenge in Hong Kong at the K-1 World Grand Prix 2007 event.
Hari dropped Graham with a fight ending body shot – Graham never really recovered from the shot, and Hari won the fight by unanimous decision.
After the fight, Hari and Graham hugged each other, as most fighters do when the battle is over, but at the post-fight press conference, they started to taunt each other again..

Later that year Hari beat the K-1 World GP 2007 in Las Vegas tournament champion, Doug Viney, by a second-round KO. This was at the K-1 World GP 2007 Final Elimination. The win qualified Hari for his first ever K-1 World Grand Prix Final, which took place on December 8th in Yokohama, Japan.
But Hari faced none other than “The Flying Dutchman” Remy Bonjasky, and his winning streak came to an end with a decision loss in the quarter final (first fight) of the tournament.

 

The 2008 Season

Hari had a great 2008. All of his wins came by way of knockout: Ray Sefo, Glaube Feitosa (world title defense), Domagoj Ostojic, and Hong Man Choi, securing his place at the K-1 World Grand Prix 2008 Final.

At the K-1 World Grand Prix 2008 Final on December 6th, Hari defeated three times K-1 World champion Peter “The Dutch Lumberjack” Aerts by TKO in the second round.
Hari had never made it this far in a World Grand Prix Final tournament!
In the semi final he knocked out Errol Zimmerman and advanced to his first ever K-1 Final against Remy Bonjasky. After suffering a knockdown in the first, Hari was disqualified in the second round for unsportsmanlike conduct by having stomped and punched an already downed Bonjasky! I remember doing live commentary on Eurosport, and I was honestly lost for words. Hari’s behavior had a tremendous impact on the general, non hardcore fans globally, making it look like Kickboxers, and maybe even all combat sports athletes, were a bunch of evil psychos with no self control whatsoever.

The referee Nobuaki Kakuda issued a yellow card and a one point deduction for the atrocities, but Hari proceeded to Bonjasky’s corner shouting, and quarreled with his opponent’s trainer, legendary, retired professional Muay Thai fighter and Kickboxer Ivan Hippolyte. Hippolyte obviously didn’t back down, so he approached Hari aggressively, but the officials prevented any further physical contact between the two.

Badr Hari stomps a downed Remy Bonjasky at K-1
Referee N. Kakuda pushes Hari away right after he stomped a downed Bonjasky.

 

After the five-minute recovery time elapsed, the doctor reported Bonjasky was seeing double and could not continue. Hari was issued a red card and Bonjasky was declared the K-1 World GP 2008 champion.

Hari would later claim in several interviews, that Bonjasky was just acting, and that the corner of Bonjasky was screaming for him to stay down. It did look like Bonjasky was overreacting: a fighter of that caliber can endure a tremendous amount of pain, so it did seem a bit suspicious, that Bonjasky was unable to fight just because he was stomped halfheartedly with the ball of the foot.
At the K-1 World Grand Prix 2009 press conference in Yokohama, Japan, Alistair Overeem attended along with Bonjasky. Overeem showed his funny side, but maybe also his sympathy for Hari, whom he used to train alongside, by handing Bonjasky a statue which looked exactly like the Oscar statues, implying that Bonjasky was in fact acting.

The global press and numerous Japanese media sources naturally assumed that K-1 would suspend Hari indefinitely. This did not happen though, and Hari was instead handed the most severe punishment in the history of K-1, by stripping him of his heavyweight title, his runner-up title in the tournament, his prize money from the tournament and the full amount of his fee for participation in the tournament.

It had become a regular thing for the K-1 Group to promote a New Years Eve show and 2008 was no exception. The Dynamite 2008 event in Saitama, Japan was surrounded by rumors and speculations. Particularly about who Badr was to face in his single fight at the event.
When the opponent was finally announced, the Kickboxing world was surprised that Hari would face the MMA Heavyweight fighter Alistair Overeem in a K-1 rules fight.
But the surprise didn’t stop there: “The Demolition Man” knocked Hari out with a left hook at 2:02 in the first round! After the fight Hari told the press, that he would stick to stand-up fighting rules, so that he would, never have to fight Overeem under MMA rules, AND that he was done fighting on the Dynamite events.

 

The 2009 Season

In 2009 the Dutch promotion It’s Showtime introduced world titles and belts, and Hari fought the 212 cm (6ft 11in) tall Semmy Schilt for the Heavyweight title.
Hari started out extremely aggressively and knocked Schilt down twice in the first round. The fight was stopped after the second knockdown and Hari was crowned the It’s Showtime Heavyweight Champion of the world – the fight lasted 45 seconds.
Simon Rutz, the CEO of It’s Showtime, has publicly stated that this is his favorite fight in the history of It’s Showtime.

At the K-1 World Grand Prix 2009 Final 16 in September, Hari scored a first round knockout with his infamous body shot against Zabit Samedov.

When selection time for the K-1 World Grand Prix 2009 Final arrived, Hari chose to fight Ruslan Karaev for the third time.
Hari made quick work of the first two opponents in the tournament with first-round knockouts over Ruslan Karaev and Alistair Overeem.

Hari knocks down Overeem
Hari knocks down Overeem. Photo: FEG.

 

In the final of the K-1 World Grand Prix 2009 Final Hari lost against Semmy Schilt via KO: he was knocked down three times in the first round!

 

The 2010 Season

Hari’s first fight that year was at the It’s Showtime 2010 Prague (the Czech Republic) event. He defended his It’s Showtime title against Mourad Bouzidithe by knockout in the second round.
Later that year Hari defeated Alexey “The Scorpion” Ignashov at the K-1 World Grand Prix 2010 in Yokohama, Japan: the fight went to the judge’s score cards – Hari’s first non-knockout win in three years.

In May Hari’s It’s Showtime title was on the line again. This time against his former Chakuriki team mate Hesdy Gerges at the Amsterdam Arena on May 29th.
At the press conference leading up to the event, Hari claimed that his opponent was originally going to be Remy Bonjasky, but that Bonjasky had refused to fight Hari. Hari’s take on it was, that Bonjasky was afraid to lose.
Other opinions are that Bonjasky didn’t want to partake in the circus acts of Hari, and that he didn’t want to be a part of incidents which was extremely bad for the sport and everybody involved.

Hari dominated most of the first round, hitting Gerges several times and putting him on the ropes. Gerges surprised everyone on the night for taking the punishment and showing a tremendous fighter’s heart. In the second round, Hari knocked down Gerges, and when Gerges was standing up again, Badr Hari kicked him in the face.
Badr was disqualified and did not congratulate Gerges or speak to anybody in the ring after Gerges was announced the winner. Instead, training partner Melvin Manhoef apologized to the fans on behalf of Hari. Manhoef was booed by the crowd, and Gerges became the new “Its Showtime” Heavyweight champion.

Hari with a body shot on Hesdy Gerges
Hari with his powerful body shot on Gerges.

 

The 2011 Season

After the Gerges fight, Hari took a year off from kickboxing: he stated that it was his own choice.
He then made his return to the ring at It’s Showtime 2011 Lyon, France against French Kickboxer, Gregory Tony. Rather than using the catwalk for his entrance he decided to walk through the crowd, and the fight was actually delayed because of Hari being unable to get to the ring without security keeping the crowd away.
The plan was for Hari to have a warm-up fight and get some rounds in the tank, but it was a one sided affair, with Hari scoring three quick knockdowns, and eventually winning the fight via TKO.

At this time, Hari’s biggest desire was to face Gerges again – to get his belt back. But the It’s Showtime management had other plans, so Hari would fight Romanian Daniel Ghita in September instead. At the time Ghita was a top five ranked Kickboxer, and earlier that year, he had lost a decision against Gerges. Many felt Ghita had been robbed, and thus a lot of fans and people within the sport saw him as a tough opponent for Hari.

But the fight never happened: Hari stated that he would fight at the K-1 World Grand Prix 2011 in October and December, and then face Gökhan Saki in the Netherlands on January 28th 2012, AND that this would be his final fight. However the K-1 World Grand Prix never took place, as Founder and CEO of the K-1 organization, Kazuyoshi Ishii was arrested on suspicion of tax fraud – Mr. Ishii was later sentenced and imprisoned, and K-1 lost all the big sponsors and partners, and never returned to it’s original status as the premiere, best marketed, best paying promotion with the most fans globally!

 

The 2012 Season

On January 28th, Hari fought Gökhan Saki at the It’s Showtime Leeuwarden event, and won convincingly by scoring three knockdowns in the first round, leaving the referee no choice but to call off the fight, and announce Hari as the winner by TKO.

Hari knocks down Saki three times
Hari knocks down Saki three times

 

The new K-1 Global President announced in April 2012 that Hari would make his comeback in K-1 on May 27th.
Hari fought Anderson “Braddock” Silva in Madrid, Spain, and won the fight via unanimous decision.

Hari was then scheduled to fight at the K-1 Final Elimination in October in Asia, and the K-1 World Grand Prix Final in New York in December. However Hari wasn’t able to fight at any of the events, due to ongoing criminal investigations of him regarding two separate incidents of serious assault.
Hari was eventually imprisoned!

 

The 2013 Season

Upon his release from prison, Hari was scheduled to fight at the K-1 World Grand Prix 2012 Final in Zagreb, Croatia on March 15th, due to the withdrawal of Ben Edwards.
This was Hari’s chance of vengeance: a fight against Zabit Samedov in the quarter-finals.
Hari scored a knockdown early in the first round, and forced a standing eight count in round three, after which he simply jogged away from Samedov for the rest of the fight while the Azerbaijani taunted him. Hari won the fight by unanimous decision but injured his foot in the fight, and was forced to withdraw from the tournament.

A third fight with Zabit Samedov took place at the Legend Fighting Show in Moscow, Russia on May 25th. After being dropped late in round one, Hari was floored again with a left hook in the second round. Although he seemed unshaken, he stayed on his knees and did not beat the count.

Hari had his rubber match with Alexey Ignashov at Legend Fighting Show 2 in Moscow on November 9th, winning a unanimous decision in a rather lackluster fight.

 

The 2014 Season

Hari won a four-man tournament at GFC Series 1 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on May 29th, having his rubber match with two former foes; he knocked out Stefan Leko in the semi-final and scored a TKO over Peter Graham in the final.
Hari reportedly earned 1,000,000 Emirati Dirham (USD 272,294.08) for the tournament win.

Hari then announced on social media on July 6th, that he intended to withdraw from Kickboxing in order to focus on personal development. However the following day he denied having made that statement (even though it was a personal Facebook status update).

Ironically Hari denied to fight Patrice Quarteron at GFC Series 2 in Dubai, UAE on October 16th, saying Quarteron behaved unsportsmanlike. Hari would then fight an unknown Lithuanian fighter.

 

2016 – present

Hari is once again at a new gym with a new trainer: the SB Gym with  founder and Trainer Said el Badaoui.

He made his Glory Kickboxing debut against the reigning Heavyweight World Champion Rico Verhoeven at Glory 36: Collision on December 10th. Hari looked sharp during the first round, and some people even think that he won that round – he even opened a cut on the nose of the Champ.
But Verhoeven turned up the pressure in round 2, and landed a knee which broke Hari’s arm.
The Champion was awarded a TKO victory due to Hari being unable to fight with a broken arm.

Rico Verhoeven High Kicks Badr Hari
The reigning champion Verhoeven High kicks Hari.

 

On March 3rd 2018, Hari fought Gerges again. Hari won the fight by unanimous decision, but a year after the fight it was revealed that both fighters had used sports supplements that contained prohibited substances; as a result, both fighters were suspended.
Hari failed a drug test prior to Glory 51: Rotterdam, and was issued with a 19-month suspension after tests on samples provided indicated a violation of Netherlands rules regarding prohibited substances for competitive athletes. Gerges, who faced Hari at the event, was also issued with an official reprimand.

Hari challenged Rico Verhoeven for the Glory Heavyweight Championship in his first post-suspension fight. The bout took place at Glory  Collision 2: Arnhem on December 21st 2019. In the sold-out GelreDome, in front of 30,000 fans, Verhoeven won the fight by a third-round technical knockout. Hari once again found early success, knocking Verhoeven down in both the first and third rounds. Early on in the third round however, Hari suffered a broken ankle from a missed kick, once again rendering him unable to continue fighting.

On December 19th 2020, Hari fought the #2 ranked Glory heavyweight contender, Benjamin Adegbuyi in a Glory Heavyweight Championship Eliminator fight at Glory 76. The fight was originally planned to take place on June 20th, but was postponed multiple times due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On September 13th, Glory announced the event would take place on November 7th, but once again Glory Kickboxing had to postpone the event again.
When the fight finally happened, December 12th, Hari lost due to a heavy kick by Adegbuyi which actually broke Hari’s nose in two places.

On May 31st 2021 it was announced, that Hari would fight the #8 ranked Glory Kickboxing Heavyweight contender Arkadiusz Wrzosek. The fight was scheduled as the main event of the evening on Glory 78: Arnhem, September 4th 2021.
Hari had a good start and managed to knock Wrzosek down three times with body shots. But in the middle of round two Wrzosek landed a head kick which knocked Hari out cold.
Hari had now lost five fights in a row.

Glory Kickboxing booked a re-match on March 19th 2022, but the fight was stopped after the second round and declared a ›No Contest‹ due to the supporters of Hari causing a riot in the arena.

 

Championships and accomplishments

  • 2002 WPKL Dutch Muay Thai champion
  • 2002 The Eight Tournament champion (Muay Thai)
  • 2003 M-1 Heavyweight Tournament runner-up (Muay Thai)
  • 2007 K-1 Heavyweight champion
  • 2008 K-1 Heavyweight champion
  • 2008 K-1 World Grand Prix runner-up
  • 2009 K-1 World Grand Prix runner-up
  • 2009 It’s Showtime Heavyweight champion
  • 2010 It’s Showtime Heavyweight champion
  • 2014 Fight Series 1 Heavyweight Tournament champion

 

The Final Chapter

Hari is currently scheduled to face Alistair “The Demolition Man” Overeem at the Glory Collision 4 event on Saturday October 8th 2022, at the GelreDome in Arnhem, The Netherlands. FIGHT SPORTS will be bringing you an exclusive interview with Overeem before the event.

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