Biography and career
Badr Hari began practicing kickboxing at the age of seven, under the guidance of former World Champion Mousid Akamrane. As a teenager he trained under Mohammed Ait Hassou at the Sitan Gym. When the Sitan Gym moved to Rotterdam, Badr Hari joined the famous Chakuriki Gym ran by Thom Harinck. Under Harinck, Hari developed into one of the greatest kickboxing talents of the Netherlands.
Under Harnick’s coaching, Badr Hari suffered few losses. In 2003 he replaced Melvin Manhoef with only a few days notice, to fight Alexey Ignashov. Badr Hari, outweighed by more than 18 kg, lost the fight by knockout, but gained a lot of respect for stepping up to such an opponent under those circumstances.
In January 2005, Badr Hari left Chakuriki and joined Simon Rutz’s It’s Showtime team. After a few months’ training at Mejiro Gym he returned to Harinck’s, but left again a couple of weeks later. Since then Badr Hari has been coached by Mike Passenier, who also trains Joerie Mes, Bjorn Bregy and Melvin Manhoef.
Road to K-1
Badr Hari’s road to fame began with a pair of matches against Stefan Leko in 2005. It took place at the It’s Showtime 8 event, on June 12, 2005. Badr Hari, who was generally known for his big mouth and slow ring entrance started some trash talk between them before the fight and abused Leko on the night which took a while to settle down. The ring entrance took longer then the actual fight, where Badr Hari was knocked out by Leko’s ‘trademark’ spinning back kick. Leko looked to be spitting on Hari while he was down.
On November 19, 2005, Hari got his chance for revenge. He entered the K-1 World Grand Prix 2005 as a reserve fighter against Stefan Leko. Hari didn’t seem to have lost his confidence and knocked Leko out by a spinning back high kick to the jaw. After all the bad blood between both fighters, Hari helped his opponent up and escorted the dazed German to the corner.
K-1 New Zealand 2006
In 2006 Badr Hari was scheduled to participate in the K-1 World GP 2006 in The Netherlands on May 13, 2006, but fought in the K-1 World GP 2006 in New Zealand instead as a last minute replacement. His opponent in the first round was Australian Peter “The Chief” Graham. Hari once again showed his bad boy reputation by abusing Graham and starting a street fight at the press conference. In the actual fight Hari was knocked out by Graham’s trademark “Rolling Thunder”. The heel hit Hari hard on the head and knocked him out cold. Graham’s kick broke Hari’s jaw in multiple places and sidelined Hari for a several months.
Return to K-1
Hari returned to the ring at the K-1 World GP 2006 Final Elimination in Osaka, Japan against Ruslan Karaev. Karaev hurt Badr with a straight right that left Hari slouching over in the corner, then Karaev delivered a kick to Hari’s face when it looked as though Hari was already lying on the canvas. Hari was counted out by the referee but immediately he and his corner protested, saying the kick was a foul. When the referee did not respond, Hari left in anger and trashed his changing room.
Despite been knockout, Hari was once again picked as a reserve fighter in the K-1 Grand Prix 2006 Finals against Paul Slowinski. He won the fight by unanimous decision.
Hari then fought Nicholas Pettas at Dynamite and broke Pettas’s left arm in the second round with his powerful round kicks.
Hari got his revenge against Karaev onK-1 World GP 2007 in Yokohama. Karaev and Hari’s matchup was one of two bouts to qualify for the first K-1 Heavyweight Title Match, scheduled on April 28, 2007 in Hawaii. Hari was knocked down in the second round and was just able to make it to his feet when Karaev intended to finish the fight with a swinging punch which Hari ducked, and landed a right cross to score a KO.
K-1 Heavyweight champion
On April 28, at K-1 World GP 2007 in Hawaii, Badr Hari and Yusuke Fujimoto fought for the newly introduced Heavyweight belt. Hari won the fight in 56 seconds with a kick to the chin. With the knockout Hari became the world’s first ever K-1 Heavyweight champion.
Hari got his chance for revenge against Graham in Hong Kong where he dropped Graham with a body punch and won by unanimous decision.
On September 29, 2007 at the K-1 World GP 2007 Final Elimination, Badr Hari beat the K-1 World GP 2007 in Las Vegas tournament champion, Doug Viney, by a second round KO and qualified for his first K-1 World GP Final, held on December 8 in Yokohama, Japan. His winning streak came to an end with a decision loss to Remy Bonjasky, during quarter final.
All of Hari’s wins in 2008 were by knockouts, by beating Ray Sefo in Yokohama, Glaube Feitosa (whom he defended his heavyweight title) in Fukuoka and Domagoj Ostojic in Hawaii. On his next fight in Seoul he qualified for the K-1 World GP 2008 Final by TKO win over the Korean giant Hong Man Choi.
In the quarterfinals on December 6, Hari defeated three time K-1 World champion Peter Aerts by TKO in the second round. Then in semis he knocked out Errol Zimmerman and headed to his first K-1 Final against Remy Bonjasky. After suffering a knockdown in the first, Hari was disqualified in the second round for unsportsmanlike conduct by stomping and punching an already downed Bonjasky. First the referee Nobuaki Kakuda issued a yellow card and one point deduction. Meanwhile Hari proceeded to Bonjasky’s corner shouting, and quarreled with his opponent’s trainer Ivan Hippolyte who then also approached Hari aggressively, but the officials prevented any further physical contact between them. 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.
In later interviews Badr claimed Bonjasky was acting, and that “Remy’s corner was screaming at him to stay down”.
After the event Badr was not suspended for his actions, but K-1 has however stripped him of his heavyweight title and his fee for participation in the tournament.
While there were many rumours of his and his opponent’s participation, it was finally announced that Badr would face MMA Heavyweight Alistair Overeem in a K-1 rules match on K-1’s NYE extravaganza. Hari lost the fight by a left hook KO in the first round within 2 minutes. Part of the fight agreement is that both Badr and Overeem would also fight each other in an MMA match for FEG’s DREAM promotion sometime in 2009. In an interview with Dutch tv station SBS 6 Badr Hari is seen avoiding this match and few people are still believing Hari’s word to enter the contest against Alistair Overeem.
Hari’s first fight in 2009 was against Frederic Sinistra who was not well known at this point and won again by 1st round knockout with his trademark right hand.
In May Hari fought Semmy Schilt in a long-awaited bout for the newly introduced It’s Showtime World Heavyweight title. Hari came out very aggressively and knocked Schilt down twice in the first round. The fight was stopped after the second knockdown and Hari took the heavyweight title in 42 seconds.
At the K-1 World Grand Prix 2009 Final 16 Hari again used his trademark right cross to score a first round knockout over Zabit Samedov.
At the selection for the K-1 World Grand Prix 2009 Final Hari chose to fight Ruslan Karaev for the third time. At the event Hari used his leg kicks and cross punch to score a total of 4 knockdowns to earn TKO wins over Karaev and Alistair Overeem in a rematch, to make it to the World Grand Prix Final for the second year against Semmy Schilt. In their rematch Hari lost by TKO after been knocked down 3 times in the first round.