In 1976, Flamboyant Japanese professional wrestler Antonio Inoki was challenged by Pakistani wrestler Akram aka “Akki”.
Nearly 50,000 spectators watched the two greats at the historic National Stadium Karachi.
Late Akki was 46-year-old and well past his prime. His managers, the Bholu Brothers, booked the biggest fight in the country’s history against Inoki.
“The fight took place despite a difference in the styles and rules of wrestling between the two sides,” Inoki was quoted by Dawn, adding that the match became so intense that it turned into a battle for survival.
Fans were expecting that their national hero would beat the Japanese great, however, due to the difference of fighting style and lack of knowledge about then modern techniques the result was quite evident.
Akram’s lack of understanding of professional wrestling and the miscommunication between the two competitors, the fight turned from a work into a shoot midway through the match. Pakistani wrestler bit Inoki on his arm, which led to Inoki responding to this unprofessional attitude by poking his adversary in the eye.
In the same interview Inoki termed the bout as fight for survival and revealed that he still have 1976 battle scars on his wrist.
“I still have marks on my wrist that Akki gave me when he wrenched at it with his teeth. I had to poke my fingers in his eyes to get him away.” The Japanese maestro said he was never happy about defeating Akki.
The bout saw an abrupt finish when Inoki locked Iki in the double wrist lock but broke his arm due to Akram refusing to tap out.
In 2012, Inoki wished that had been wanting to visit Akki’s grave for a long time but never got the opportunity to do it earlier.