PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) Led by a Japanese pro wrestler-turned-politician, about 20 mixed martial artists from around the world – including a former NFL lineman – arrived in North Korea on Thursday to put on a series of exhibition matches this weekend.The exhibition will be the first major sports event with marquee foreigners in Pyongyang since former Chicago Bulls star Dennis Rodman and a team of former NBA players put on a basketball game in January that was widely criticized in the United States.Japanese lawmaker Kanji ”Antonio” Inoki says he hopes the event will open a door of sports diplomacy with North Korea.Inoki is a savvy, charismatic showman and one of the only members of Japan’s parliament who supports exchanges of any kind with North Korea. He has visited North Korea nearly 30 times, but was suspended by parliament for a month after making an unauthorized trip to the North last year.The square-jawed, 6-foot-3 Inoki is remembered for fighting Muhammad Ali in Tokyo in 1976. In 1995, he fought American Ric Flair in the ”Collision in Korea,” a two-day event held in Pyongyang’s huge May Day Stadium that drew a reported 380,000 spectators. Ali was among the guest attendees.”World peace… Read full this story
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