Badr Hari, the bad boy of kickboxing who hadn't fought in a year, finally returned to the ring on Saturday and easily beat an overmatched and uninterested opponent, the French boxer Gregory Tony at an It's Showtime event in France.
Hari won by first-round TKO, knocking Tony down three times without ever really hitting him all that hard. Tony looked like he didn't really want to be in the ring with Hari, and the matchup of Hari and Tony seemed like a generally bad idea: Tony isn't in Hari's class as a kickboxer, and Tony was also fighting just a week after he had two boxing matches on the same day, winning one and losing the other. A fight like this wouldn't get sanctioned by an American state athletic commission.
Still, as much of a farce as the fight was, it's still notable that Hari is finally back in the ring and making his living with his fists again. The combination of Hari's various personal problems and the financial struggles of K-1 had his career in serious trouble a few months ago. Now It's Showtime (which has an American TV deal with HDNet) is trying to revitalize the global kickboxing scene, and in Hari it has the sport's most compelling fighter under contract.
Next It's Showtime needs to put Hari in a compelling fight.