Yulibeiny Arena saw an exciting evening of muaythai with many VIPs including SportAccord President Mr. Marius Vizer on hand to witness excellent performances by the elite athletes of muaythai.
The night opened with the 51KG Female division with Oksana Kizhnerova from Russia against Fatima Pinto from Norway. Both girls were in incredible shape and undoubtedly proved that female muaythai could be as and even more exciting than its male counterpart.
Pinto won the first round with strong grappling techniques and solid kicks. In the 2nd round Kizhnerova changed her game plan and took the fight to the mid-range winning her the round. It all came down to the final round in which both girls were kick for kick, punch for punch and knee for knee, but it was Pinto who took the 1 point decision, crushing the dreams of the home country, but Kizhnerova left the ring with her head held high as it was a fantastic performance by both athletes.
In the 2nd 51KG semi final it was Kristan Armstrong (AUS) against Thailand’s Indoor Asian Martial Art Games champion Ruchira Wongsriwo.
Wongsriwo was in superb form and went on the attack from the strike of the bell with strong kick and punch combination putting the Australian on the back foot. Armstrong tried to find her range in the fight, but Wongsriwo managed to keep her away with defiant push kicks, which led her to dominate the 1st round. In the 2nd round Armstrong amped up the aggression taking the fight to Wongsriwo and Wongsriwo went in to the clinch. At mid-2nd round Wongsriwo put an 8 count on Armstrong and clearly took the 2nd round. Armstrong in true Aussie style with a never die attitude came back strong but nevertheless lost the round. In the 3rd round Armstrong was back in the fight but it was too little too late and the decision went to Wongsriwo.
The first semi final in the 54 KG division saw IFMA world champion Ashley Nichols (CAN) against Asian Champion Ratchadaphon Wihantamma (THA). Nichols came out strong in the 1st round surprising the Thai with all 8 weapons, showing beautiful muaythai technique, taking the 1st round. Wihantamma came out in the 2nd round in typical Thai style, having learnt from her 1st round mistakes and adapting to her opponent, winning in the clinch and took the 2nd round. The 3rd round saw both athletes showing the full arsenal of muaythai, moving forward, and had the crowd on their feet and divided as it was too close for the audience to judge. The 5 international neutral judges gave a split point decision to Thailand. This was truly the fight of the night in the female division.
In the second semi final fight of the 54 KG division it was 2010 WCG Champion Milja Heino (FIN) against the current IFMA World Champion Natalia Dyachkova (RUS). Dyachkova was in the form of her life winning every round to the delight of the crowd sending the 2010 champion home in the semi finals.
The 54KG male semi final saw Thailand’s Preecha Wongsa against Ukraine’s Oleksandr Prokuda. The Ukrainian team came out unbeaten through the quarter finals but the Thai champion put on an electrifying performance, taking the first Ukrainian athlete out of the competition.
In the 2nd 54KG male semi final it was Yoon Deokjae (KOR), winner of the Peace Through Sport champion against Russia’s Arslan Bagunov. Russia took the first round home but Yoon won the 2nd after changing his strategy. In a very close 3rd round, Russia took the win on a split point division.
In the 57 KG male division it was Aleksandr Abramov (RUS) against Daniiar Kashkaraev (KYG). Russia won every round and secured his place in the finals.
The second 57KG bout saw Sapmanee Ruthaipan (THA) against Konstiantyn Trishyn (UKR). Ruthaipan put on a strong performance and took the win but all respect to the young Ukrainian who will have a bright future in the sport indeed.
The first semi final of Female 60 KG division saw Anastasiia Sharmonova (UKR) going head to head with Alfiya Ishtryakova (RUS). Sharmonova showed dominance right from the opening bell winning every round and becoming the 2nd Ukrainian with a spot in the finals.
The 2nd semi final was between 7-time IFMA World Champion Valentina Shevchenko (PER) against Pimnipa Tanawatpipat (THA). Shevchenko again proved why she is simply one of the best in the female world of muaythai. Shevchenko showing precision, technique and power landing her a well deserved spot in the finals.
The 1st semi final of the 63.5KG male division was between European champion Igor Liubchenko (UKR) versus Dmitry Varats from(RUS). It was a close fight all the way with the 1st round going to Liubchenko, the second to Varats, but it was Liubchenko that took the decision after the final bell.
The 2nd semi final of the 63.5 KG was against current IFMA World Champion Manop Srirupi (THA) against Asian Indoor Martial Art Games champion Vahid Shahbazi (IRI). Iran has truly become one of the power houses of muaythai. In first round Srirupi with razor sharp kicks pushing Shahbazi back, but Shahbazi countering with punch combinations. Srirupi was stronger in the grapple which won him the 1st round. On a roll Srirupi took the subsequent rounds and secured his place in the finals.
In the 67 KG division, the 1st semi final saw Zhanserik Amirzhanov (KAZ) against Andrei Kulebin (BLR), current IFMA World Champion and muaythai superstar. Kulebin put in a world class performance showing why he is the world champion, dominating all 3 rounds from start to finish gaining his sport in the finals.
The 2nd semi final in 67KG saw Sergii Kuliaba (UKR) against Suphachai Pansuvan (THA). This match was highly anticipated – the European champion against the Asian champion. The match left nothing behind expectations with a stunning display of world class muaythai. Kuliaba took the decision sending another Thai superstar home showing that Europe could just as strong and some times stronger than Asia.
In the 1st 71KG semi final it was Russia’s Zaynalabid Magomedov against Iran’s Minaei Masoud. In another Europe VS Asia bout, it was Europe that once again took the win and it was to the delight of the home crowd that Russia took another spot in the finals.
The 2nd 71KG semi final saw Vital Hurkou (BLR) against Ilya Grad (ISR). Grad was fatigued from his first round victory and it seemed that he could not find his usual form. Hurkou taking yet another spot in the finals for UKR.
In the 75KG division, the first semi final bout was the re-match of the 2012 World Championship in which Konstantin Khuzin (RUS) beat Alex Tobbiasson Harris (SWE). This time Harris wanted to set the record straight at the most prestigious IFMA sporting event. The first round went to Harris and the second to Khuzin. It all came down to the 3rd round, and Harris against all odd and the massive support from the home crowd for Khuzin did enough to book his place in the final, causing an upset for Russian fans.
In the 2nd semi final, it was Vitalii Nikiforv (UKR) against Thiago Texeira (BRA). In the Europe versus South American competition, it was another very close fight only one single point separating them, it was Nikiforov who sent Texeira packing securing yet another spot in the finals for UKR.
The 81KG is a very strong division with the 1st semi final between Dmitry Valent (BLR), the European Champion against Kim Olaf Olsen (AUS). Valent won every round and took another spot for BLR.
In the 2nd semi final it was Russian super star and team captain Artem Levin taking on Kada Boumama (FRA). Levin entered the ring with a standing ovation from the enthusiastic home crowd and bombarded the French man with all 8 weapons (fists, kicks, knees and elbows) showing just why he is the current world champion, taking a clear points decision.
In the fight of the big boys, 91 KG, the first semi final was Emidio Barone (ITA) against Ibrahim Giydirir. Both boys started with heavy kicks and punches and the Turkish fighter received a cut above the eye. As athlete’s safety is priority in muaythai, the doctor stopped the fight and so it was Barone to go through to the finals.
In the final fight of the night it was Artem Vakhitov (RUS) against Thomas Alizier (FRA). Vakhitov who sent the current World Champion packing in the quarter finals, again showed why he is one Russia’s biggest gold medal hopes by causing Alizier’s corner to throw in the towel after the first round.
The highly anticipated finals will take place on the 23rd at 16.00 and we are all looking forward to some electrifying bouts!