Memories fade. There’s nothing we can do about it.
Although nowadays, modern media devices – and platforms – are now able to keep significant moments in history alive, forever.
So it is with September 4, 1981 and what went down inside the Queen Elizabeth Stadium in the Hong Kong waterside suburb of Wan Chai, famed for its red-light district, then as now, as well as its role as a base for martial arts schools that continue to keep ancient traditions alive.
Rumors in the 24 hours previous had spread about a “Death Match” that was about to go down between the visiting American karate and kickboxing star Benny “The Jet” Urquidez and a relative unknown in the local fighter by the name of Kong Fu Tak.
Over the almost four decades since, the bout has become the stuff of myth and of legend, but there are clips around that at least prove that it really did happen. And that it was brutal.
The fight looks to be a mixture of styles and of rules and Kong gets hit, often and hard, but just keeps coming forward as a massive haematoma swells his face to grotesque proportions. Until, in the fourth, he’s knocked down, and out.
Urquidez was then still in the process of becoming one of the most acclaimed martial artists of all time, with a record of 63-1-1 when he called it quits, along with six world titles, movie appearances and schools, and disciples all over the world.
Less is known — globally — about Kong, but he too went on to an acclaimed career with Hong Kong’s short-lived Full Contact Boxing promotion of the 1980s, and then the wider world of Muay Thai. He turned a career record of 34-3-1 into a chain of gyms across Greater China, and to guiding the lives of generations of students.