Karate start-up league to hold 10 events worldwide next year

By Rory Carroll LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Karate Combat, a full contact karate league, will hold 10 events across four continents next year as part of a campaign to bring the ancient martial art into the mainstream, it said on Friday. The New York-based league will hold its first fight of the year on Jan. 24 in Los Angeles, where Spain's Igor de Castaneda will face the Dominican Republic's Jorge Perez in a battle of two of the upstart league's rising stars. Both scored first round knockouts in their most recent fights. Bouts will follow in Kyoto, Shanghai, Rio de Janeiro, New York City, Miami, Paris, Italy and Latvia with the fighters vying for the Golden Belt. "We're excited to expand Karate Combat in its second season with a more defined and expansive structure," said Michael DePietro, CEO of Karate Combat. Karate Combat fuses the venerable combat sport with video game-like elements, such as allowing spectators to view a fighter's vital signs in real time during a contest. "Our mix of intense, full contact action and respect for traditional martial arts virtues is resonating far and wide," DePietro said. (Reporting by Rory Carroll; Editing by Ken Ferris)