VIP’s from around the world travelled to the beautiful city of Dubai to be part of the official opening of the world qualification for the 2022 World Games and to compete for the prestigious World Muaythai Council belts. The event was sanctioned by the UAE Muaythai Federation under the Presidency of His Excellency Abdullah Al Neyadi and Director Tareq Al Mehairi. So many VIPS such as the IOC Vice President, the GAISF Vice President, the Chairman of the Dubai Sports Council and so many more came together to support the athletes which came from 20 countries and from all parts of the globe.

The opening bout saw Aslamjan Ortikov from Uzbekistan face Joshua Ridgwell from the UK. Aslaman from Uzbekistan is an established IFMA fighter, having won many continental title bouts. It was the perfect opening bout showcasing the traditional cultures of muaythai by opening up with the traditional Wai Khru then down to business for 3 rounds, displaying all the eight weapons with Aslamjan taking the win.

The second fight saw Spyro Besiri from Greece vs Ibraham Bilal, the local fighter from UAE which showcased once again the amazing talent of all IFMA athletes and also the fairness of the technical officials. Both fighters went toe to toe for 3 amazing rounds and a split decision went to the athlete from Greece separating them by one single point but once again showcasing fairplay.

The third fight of the evening saw Abdulvosid Buranov from Russia take on Akram Hamidi from France, 2 of the muaythai powerhouses in Europe. Russia won the last Kings Cup event in Thailand and with France been one of the most dominant countries it was amazing bout of 2 outstanding athletes. It was the French athlete who took the win after one of the most explosive fights of the evening.

The next fight saw Mouhmad Amine Alharar from Morocco facing Mohammed Mardu from the UAE. It was a hot-headed fight where both fighters fought for the pride of their countries. The Moroccan fighter showed unsportsmanlike behavior and was disqualified in the third round by the referee, bringing the first important victory for UAE on this important night.

The next fight saw Craig Coakley from Ireland vs Deniz Demirkapu from Turkey in another world class performance by these athletes from 2 European nations. After 3 rounds of displaying all 8 muaythai weapons the decision went to the Irish fighter once again showcasing that Ireland is developing into one of the powerhouses in Europe.

The main undercard fight saw two of the world’s best, the multiple IFMA and WMC world champion Dmitry Valent who came with a fantastic coaching team with multiple-time champion Hancharonak in his corner and Carlos Prates from Brazil. This was one of the most outstanding fights of the evening with both fighters showing that they are world class. In the first round Dmitry valent showcased why he is one of the most decorated fighters in the world. In the second round the new generation began to catch up then round 3 was a  very close round with both fighters showcasing why muaythai is one of the most explosive and respected martial arts in the world. In the end it came down to only 1 point with the Brazilian athlete winning a very close split point decision which had the audience divided. Fantastic performance by both athletes.

The title fight of the evening was the WMC Asian title fight between two outstanding athletes, Philip Delarmino from the Philippines, a Sea Games athlete and one of the most decorated Philippine athletes versus Zakaria El Jamari from the UAE who was one of the most outstanding athletes at the last IFMA Asian Championships. Both fighters earned their spot to participate for this prestigious belt. After the traditional Wai Khru both fighters got down to business. With the UAE fighter participating in front of his home crowd he had the support of the audience. The Philippine athlete showcased why the Philippines are one of the Asian powerhouses and after the success of the 2019 Sea Games where the Philippines took as many medals as Thailand it was a fight which had the audience on the edge of their seats. After 5 rounds of world class muaythai, the decision went to the Philippines in a  fantastic fair contest with both athletes showing the highest sportsmanship. The belt was strapped around the Philippine athlete by the President of the UAE Federation, His Excellency Abdullah Al Neyadi who in great sportsmanship congratulated the Philippine athlete first and then offered encouragement toward his own athletes also by the President of United Through Sports, GAISF Vice President and IFMA General Secretary Stephan Fox. A fantastic night of muaythai showcasing that with the right safety requirements opportunities for athletes are there as well as qualifying points for the World Games 2022. IFMA and WMC have managed the pandemic in the best possible way putting the athletes at heart.