Today the championships moved into a higher gear with a number of champions hoping to defend their titles jumping the ropes and taking centre stage. And outside the first Harley Davidson motorbikes arrived in the compound for the 115 year anniversary celebrations.
Sport Director Charissa Tynan said today’s bouts were a testament to the efforts made by all European federations to develop the sport of muaythai. She especially praised the efforts made by federations to increase their female teams every year.
With just three rounds to score points in an amateur muaythai contest, every bout is action-packed from the start. There is no time for feeling out your opponent, instead every second in each round counts.
And we saw a very good example today of how important it is never to give up in muaythai. A close bout saw Sweden’s Marcus Sundin Liljedorff and Maksim Prokofev (Russia) battle almost to a draw, with Sweden taking the win on split-points decision. The first two rounds were scored 10 to Maksim and 9 to Marcus but Round 3 was 10 to Marcus and 8 to Russia. This meant a tie of 28-28 and the decision made by the Jury in a further vote.
A unusual situation, and quite a dramatic pause as everyone in the arena waited for the final count. Scores are displayed round by round on the giant screens in the stadium, and online so every tense second can be followed. You can see the round breakdown here on ifmalive.
Ali Dogan, who won the gold medal in Mexico earlier this year, took a step closer to a European gold in a tough bout against Ukrainean athlete Serhii Syntiuk. Ali won with power and skill in the clinch and grapple in the 81kg battle.
Two of Belarus’ top athletes, both former world champions stepped through to the next round – Vital Hurkou (75kg) and Dmitry Valent (81kg) winning by a point against Germany’s Umarjon Davlatov.
In the women’s division world champion Nili Block moved on towards defending her European title. Tomorrow she faces Gia Winberg (Finland). Both athletes medalled at The World Games 2017 in this division so it will be a top-class bout.
Maria Lobo (Portugal) also a defending European champion moved onto the next round as did Natalia Diachkova (57kgs) from Russia and Valeriya Drozdova – both well-known to the medal podiums.
Bouts start at 14:00 tomorrow and can be watched on the IFMA Youtube channel.
Find out about the Harley Davidson 115 celebrations.