Andreas "Andy" Hug (September 7, 1964 – August 24, 2000) was a Swiss karateka and kickboxer who competed in the heavyweight division. Considered to be one of the greatest heavyweight kickboxers of all time, along with Peter Aerts, Remy Bonjasky, Ernesto Hoost and Semmy Schilt, Hug was renowned for his ability to execute numerous kicking techniques rarely seen in high level competition and although he was usually smaller than his opponents, standing at 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in) and weighing around 98.0 kg (216.1 lb; 15.43 st) in his prime, he made up for his lack of size with his tremendous athleticism and speed. A southpaw, his trademark kicks included the axe kick and the "Hug Tornado", a low spinning heel kick targeting his opponents' thighs.
Hug began playing association football competitively at the age of six and went on to represent the Switzerland national under-16 football team. However, his home situation also made him a target for bullying and at eleven years old, he started practising Kyokushinkai karate at Wohlen karate school under Werner Schenker despite strong opposition from his grandfather initially. His grandmother saw the boy's passion for the art and eventually convinced the grandfather to relent. By thirteen, he began to show promise as a karateka by winning numerous beginners' karate tournaments and his grandparents eventually forced him to decide between perusing football and karate, since they were no longer in a position to pay for both. He chose karate and at fifteen won the 1979 Swiss Oyama Cup, a national Kyokushin competition. Although full contact karate tournaments carried with them a minimum age of twenty, he showed so much potential as one of the country's biggest prospects that the Swiss Karate Federation allowed the teenaged prodigy to compete nonetheless.
Having become a popular fighter in Japan due to his technical diversity, spectacular aesthetics, tactics and strength, Andy Hug made the switch from Kyokushinkaikan to Seidokaikan in 1992, completing the step from being an amateur to becoming a professional fighter and star in Japan. After winning the 1992 Seidokaikan Karate World Cup, beating Taiei Kin in the final, and finishing as runner-up to Masaaki Satake in the 1993 edition, Hug then transitioned to K-1 kickboxing, scoring a first round knockout of Ryuji Murakami in his professional debut at K-1 Andy's Glove in November 1993. After a breakout win over K-1 Grand Prix '93 Champion Branko Cikati? in March 1994, Hug entered the K-1 Grand Prix '94 a month later as one of the tournament favourites but was upset by Patrick Smith via first round stoppage in the quarter-finals. Undeterred, Hug continued to improve his skills for the kickboxing ring and rebounded by winning the UKF World Super Heavyweight Championship in December 1994 when he knocked out Rob van Esdonk. He suffered another setback at the K-1 Grand Prix '95 Qualifying Round when he was stopped by Mike Bernardo but he would have his revenge the following year at the K-1 Grand Prix '96 when he won the tournament by finishing Bernardo with the "Hug Tornado" in the final. He continued to be one of K-1's top contenders in the following years, reaching the final of the K-1 World Grand Prix twice more (in 1997 and 1998) and becoming a three-time world champion by taking the WMTC and WKA titles under Muay Thai rules.
He was diagnosed with acute leukemia on August 17, 2000. On August 23, he fell into a coma and his illness was made public. Twenty-two hours later, Hug died following breathing difficulties due to multiple organ failure. He was thirty-five years old
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