The Dutch seem to be kinda competent at some things, and kickboxing seems to be one of those things. In fact, some big bop kickboxing schools like for example Chakurike, Mejiro and Vos Gym are in Holland. Big, bad, Peter Aerts and big, bald, Ernesto Hoost come from Holland as well. So it comes as little surprise that the winner of the K-1 World Max (2002) would be Dutch.
The first match I saw with Kraus was at the 2002 K-1 world max verses New Zealander Shane Chapman. In it I thought that the shark toothed Chapman used his reach well and kept Kraus from doing much damage meanwhile inflicting bunches of his own (Kraus' eyes were all bruised up). But somehow, at a unicorn's whim, Kraus was given the decision. (I wonder about this every time I watch this fight.) Within the same tournament, his next fight was against Masato, which he won by decision because of a knock down in there somewhere. Kraus is the only fighter I've seen defeat Masato (one tough cookie with raisins) so he gets some props for that. At the end of that match, Kraus' eyes were very puffy. In the final fight he defeated Kao-Lan Kao-Vi-Chit in the most ultimate anticlimactic match ever that lasted a matter of seconds.
Up to that point Kraus didn't impress me much. Okay so he won the K-1 world Max and even knocked down Masato, but I just saw him as some boxer. He probably used as many kicks in the entire tournament as you could count on two hands. Most of his work was with punches; the left hook, right cross combo especially. Kinda limited I figured.
Kraus then fought Masato again in October of that same year and that was when he did his impressing. In that match Kraus attempts and even connects with some pretty fancy kicks on Masato (he tries and ax kick; nearly hits with a spin kick and a very beautiful spin through roundhouse; and even connects with a turn back kick). That match ended in a draw, but after that, I didn't see Kraus as just some boxer but as a boy who's got some skills. He's also a younging, just 21 or 22. (Those silly over achievers.)
Back to Beach