Finals day at the IFMA World Cup in Kazan, with 11 spots for The World Games 2017 up for grabs across male and female places.
After a long and exciting day we had eight new athletes to add to the IFMA roster for The World Games as three of the gold medal winners previously qualified during other championships.
In the female division Juliette Lacroix from France had a tough battle against Turkmenistan’s Yanyl Kavisova at 54kgs. Kasiova used strong combinations of body-kicks and high kicks, following with a big left hand, but Lacroix really worked the centre of the ring and gained points in the grapple. In the end she claimed the win on points, and a place for France at The World Games.
The other two qualifying rounds for women were at 51kgs and 60kgs. Russia’s Galina Popova took gold at 51kgs against Poland’s Gabriela Kuzawinska– cementing her position at The World Games having already qualified when she became European Champion last month.
And Israel’s Nili Block took gold in a very tight battle against France’s Anaelle Angerville at 60kgs. Block was ahead on points through her strong grappling skills – the clinch being an essential component of the art of muaythai. Block took the win on points, consolidating her position having qualified as World Champion at the tournament in May.
In the male division seven of eight possible spots went to new athletes.
First up were Russia’s Aslanbek Zikreev taking on Clement Adrover from France at 54kgs. Zikreev really worked the long-range teep-kick right through the fight, holding the centre of the ring mainly. Adrover fought back using strong punch combinations, but Russia took the gold – and a place at The Games for Zikreev.
At 57kgs Ishan Galieyev of Kazakhstan was against Ukraine’s Trishyn Konstiantyn. This started fast with both throwing punches and elbows, Konstiantyn throwing a spinning back elbow with great accuracy. Galieyev fighting back with high kicks, and body-punches – but not doing enough in the end. Konstiantyn taking gold and a place at The World Games.
The spot for 63.5kgs went also to Ukraine to Igor Liuechenko who has previously qualified – again just making sure he joked afterwards! He had to really fight for this battle though with Russia’s Pavel Valteran pushing him all the way.
The fourth World Games battle was between Ukraine’s Serhii Kuliba and Russia’s Aleksei Ulianov at 67kgs. Ulianov worked strongly on the left, using high-kicks followed by low leg-kicks and body-punches. But in the end Kuliba took the win on points pulling off a great left-body hook followed by right hand to take control of the centre of the ring and stay there. So Kuliba joins his teammates at The World Games.
The Ukraine head coach had a busy day as he was back ringside again for the 71kgs division when Vasyl Sorokin took on Rustem Akzhanov from Kazakhstan. Again this was a very tight fight, with Sorokin taking gold with the help of very accurate long knees. So that made Number Four for Ukraine heading to The World Games.
The 75kgs spot was between Portugal’s Diogo Calado and Russia’s Ivan Grigorev. The Russian athlete really pushed the pace from the first bell, using long-range right hands and sharp push-kicks. Calado fought back with body-hooks, but lost in the end to his stronger opponent. So Grigorev takes his place as a World Games athlete.
Bout 13 was also a qualifier at 81kgs between Poland’s Rafal Korczak and Russia’s Surik Magakian. The Russian athlete took the spot having used a strong combination of long teep-kicks and inside knees against Korczack’s powerful right hand.
And the 15th fight of the day was the final qualifier from this IFMA World Cup in Kazan. Russia’s Arslan Iallyev took on Uzbekistan’s Islomjon Marufov at 91kgs. This was a great fight with the crowd more than happy they stayed right to the end. Iallyev took the win, joining his male and female team-mates to round out Russia’s team for The World Games.
IFMA is proud to name all of these athletes on our roster for Wroclaw next year, and we look forward to seeing them all compete against their peers chosen from other contests around the world last year and earlier this year.