Muaythai was one of the most talked about sports at the World Games 2022 in Birmingham. The Boutwell Auditorium was filled every competition day and the final saw athletes from all 5 continents competing for the medals.
Team USA performed above all expectations having 5 in the final followed by Ukraine, Thailand, Morocco, Australia, and many others.
The event had full gender equality and in IFMA tradition the event started with the female 48kg division final fight between Anastasiia Kulinich from Ukraine and Regan Gowing from Canada and was a perfect crowd pleaser with Ukraine taking the point decision and claiming gold, Regan Gowing from Canada taking silver and Janet Garcia Borbon from the USA claiming bronze.
The 51KG female division final saw the current IFMA world champion Monika Chochlikova from Slovakia taking on Meriem El Moubarik from Morocco, the African champion and what a fight it was. Monika once again showed why she is the number 1 in her division taking the win via points. Gabriela Kuzawinska from Poland won against Rebecca Hodl from Austria claiming the Bronze medal.
In the female 54kg division the current IFMA world champion Sveva Melillo from Italy competed against Ashley Thiner from the USA. This fight received a standing ovation. Sveva from Italy showed alot of heart and determination against the giant, Thiner from USA. Sveva meticulously took the fight by one point and both athletes received the respect form the audience. Laura Burgos from Mexico beat Yolanda Schmidt from Australia in another very close contest winning the bronze medal.
The 57 Kg division female was with no doubt the contest of the day. Current IFMA athlete of the year Iman Barlow took on the IFMA U23 world champion Tierra Brandt from the United States of America. This contest shows the importance of IFMA’s youth development work and how the USA has been one of the leading countries working over the last 4 years for their youth to make the transition to world class. This contest over 3 rounds showed world class muaythai, technique, strength and conditioning and in the end it was Great Britain taking the contest on the closest of margins showing that there are no biased home decisions and the spirit of fair play and judging existed throughout the entire event. Tierra made the US and herself proud and we are all looking forward to watching her career evolve and unfold. Former world champion Patricia Axling from Sweden beat Ching Yee Tsang from Hong Kong for the bronze medal.
In the 60 KG division it was former world champion Nili Block from Israel and silver medalist of the 2017 World Games against Charlsey Maner from the USA. It was an extremely close match between the two athletes but it was Charlsey improving from contest to contest and who put in the performance of a lifetime to beat Nili Block bringing the first gold medal of the World Games to the United States with a standing ovation from the entire stadium. Ajsa Adel Sandorfi from Hungary won the bronze medal.
In the 63.5KG division it was the final between the Arafura Oceania champion Zoe Putorak against the European champion Nora Cornolle from France This was a highly anticipated contest and Zoe put in a stunning performance with her famous high kick claiming the gold medal. The bronze medal went to Erin Clayton from the USA beating the motherland of the sport, Thailand.
In the 57kg division, it was the Sea Games champion Nguyen Tran Duy Nhat from Vietnam against former world champion Almaz Sarsembekov from Kazakhstan. This was another world class performance by both athletes with Vietnam winning the gold medal by one single point and the bronze medal went to Vladyslav Mykytas from Ukraine.
In the 63.5kg division it was the fight of the superstars, two multiple champions Igor Liubchenko facing Thailand’s Weerasak Tharakhajad and what a contest it was. In the end, it was the former World Games Champion, Liubchenko who took home gold for Team Ukraine, making him the reigning champion of The World Games for a second year. From the UAE the Asian champion Nouredine Samir took on the Pan American champion Joseph Mueller claiming the bronze medal.
In the 67kg division, the final saw current world champion and Thai superstar, Anueng Khatthamarasri Thailand take on the African champion Rachid Hamza from Morocco. Hamza beat the Asian champion in the semi finals and Anueng beat the European champion on the other side of the bracket in the semi-finals so all was set for a great final match in which Thailand won the first gold medal for the motherland and Norbert Speth from Hungary winning the bronze medal.
In the 71KG division it was once again Thailand vs Ukraine with the current world champion from Thailand taking on the European champion from Ukraine in a great performance. In the end it was Thailand who won their second gold, Ukraine silver and Jordan Weiland from the USA claiming bronze.
The 81KG division was the hope of the United States to win their second gold medal. Aaron Ortiz’s semi-final fight was a rematch of the year eliminating the world champion, Ilyas Habibali before facing Diogo Calado from Portugal in the final. It was three rounds of muaythai at world class level to see Aaron Ortiz winning in a stunning performance, the second gold medal for the USA. Respect must go to Diogo and world champion Ilyass from the UAE for winning the bronze medal.
The 91KG division was the final match of the event and representing the USA was Matt Baker who eliminated the former world champion and European champion against the current world champion from Ukraine. In the fight of the heavy weights it was Ukraine taking the decision much to the respect of the audience and Lukasz Radosv from Poland took the bronze medal.
Congratulations to all that participated in this event and see you at the next World Games 2025 in Chengdu, China!