Jubiliee (Yubileiyny) Stadium has come alive for what Russia has been awaiting for many years: the IFMA World Championships. The event, which is a test event and qualifier for the 2013 SportAccord World Combat Games, has brought the crème de la crème to Saint Petersburg this year. The best of the best in Muaythai have their eyes on the first 11 spots.
In the Male Division, over 70 fights took place.
The first, incredible upset was when Russia lost in the 60kg division against France, the winner being Desty Beaubrun. Thailand, which sent their best fighters to the competition, won all their first round fights, with Kem (Pakcotakang Surasak) in the 71kg division, putting on a perfect performance against Finland.
Russia made a comeback with strong performances which sent their athletes through in both the 81kg (Artem Levin) and 67kg (Aleksey Ulyanov) divisions.
In the Female Division, which featured 20 fights on the opening day, spectators saw some fantastic performances in the 60kg division from Australia’s Laura Bowman, European Champion Madeleine Vall from Sweden, and current World Champion Valentina Shevchenko (Peru), who silenced the crowd by beating Russia’s home girl.
Russia went through in the 63 kg division with Anastasiya Vasilieva, and Sweden also placed again, Lina Länsberg in 63.5kg and Jennifer Österlin in 67 kg.
Ireland beat Russia in the 75kg division, giving the day’s victory to Denise O’Connell
Russian TV televised 4 hours of the event live in every Russian region. Day 2 promises to be even more exciting.