One of Europe’s most modern arenas the Krakow Arena, was chosen for the 2014 European Championship final and it was a night to remember for the approximately 10,000 spectators, teams and representatives from the neighbouring European countries.
The evening started off with a welcoming speech by the mayor of Krakow, Mr Jacek Majchrowski, followed by a welcome speech by H.E. Mr Bansarn Bunnag, the Thai ambassador to Warsaw, Poland. Then, a thank you speech by the IFMA General Secretary, Stephan Fox was presented to the city of Krakow, the athletes, the officials, the spectators and the volunteers who all made this event a successful European Championship.
A special plaque of appreciation from IFMA was given to Rafal Szlachta, the Polish Muaythai Federation President, and Mr Szlachta thanked everyone involved, and to the roaring applause of 10,000 people, Krakow really showed hospitality and the spirit of sport. Famous Polish musicians performed, the famous Muaythai live show from Bangkok made a spectacular Muay Boran performance, a Polish orchestra played the traditional Muaythai music.
The final was then televised live on Polish Television, on the internet, and on the World Games channel. The final events featured many exciting bouts; some of the stand-out fights were Mateusz Kopiec from Poland verses Itay Gershon from Israel, a great Muaythai fight, an intense fight with an indescribable atmosphere, and it was Poland in the end that took the fight on unanimous decision. The female final saw Semail Katia from France meeting Anastasiia Sharmonova from Ukraine, with the French ambassador present, a fight to prove the female muaythai has become as popular as male, and it was Ukraine taking the close decision at the end. A further outstanding match was multiple IFMA world champion Andrei Kulebin from Belarus, squaring off against Marcin Lepkowski from Poland, which truly was the fight of the evening with a world-class performance from both fighters and at the end of the fight, a standing ovation was given by the nearly 10,000 spectators and VIPs present and it was Kulebin who won a the close decision.
There was also a professional fight with Oskar Staszczak from Poland verses Jimmy Vienot from France, with the two fighters going to battle and employing the 8-weapon arsenal of muaythai, and to the delight of the entire nation, it was Poland’s own Oskar Staszczak that won the fight. To promote Muay Boran, a fight was held between Rafal Simonides from Poland, who over the years has been one of the most outstanding Polish fighters and is also the face of the Polish “Muaythai Against Drugs” campaign, against Tawatchai Budsadee from Thailand, and it was Safat Simonides who won the fight to finish off a night of fantastic excitement.
IFMA General Secretary Stephan Fox stated in an interview that the European Championship in Poland was truly a success and looking at the junior division, one can say that the sport is safe; but also with the popularity through live TV and internet streaming, the legacy will continue to take Muaythai in Europe to the next level.