You could pick the most popular bouts today based on the volume level in the crowd. And that gives you two women’s bouts both between France and Russia, and one male bout between Turkey and France in the heavyweight division. (video below)
The heavyweight 91+ kg divisions take place at the end of the day, but are always popular with the crowds. Turkey’s team was in full voice, but so was the French home crowd for the bout between Amine Kebir (France) and Erdogan Burga (Turkey). Both athletes favoured the hand-game, taking the centre of the ring from the first bell. However Kebir was scoring higher, and also working with the leg-kicks at speed; he took the win on points.
In the 60kg women division Ekaterina Vinnikova, defending champion faced Nora Cornelle, a popular French athlete. Ekaterina has a strong clinch style and scored most of her points with the knee, while Nora prefers to use her hands – this led to an high-speed exchange of blows right from the bell. The Russian athlete took the win on points.
Her twin sister Svetlana, world and The World Games champion, faced Naoil Tita at 63.5kg. Naoil used her teep (push) kick to devestating effect, but struggled in the clinch, and Svetlana piled on the pressure in the second and third rounds with strong punch combinations following through in the grapple. She took a points win.
Other big names going on to the next round in the women’s divisions were: Two-time world champion Patricia Axling (Sweden), she defeated up and coming athlete Viktoria Ivanets (Ukraine) again with powerful use of her knees.
Her team-mates Sofia Olofsson (54kg) and Angela Mamic (71) also won convincingly against Belaus and Finland.
Israel’s Nili Block had a convincing win over Hanna Shytava from Belarus, cruising through the first round and then going heavy with knees and left body-shots in the second to take a stoppage win.
In the male division again Sweden’s Johan Andersson – who won silver last year – put up a brave battle against Belarus athlete Mikita Shostak at 81kg. But Shostak – who won bronze at The World Games in July – worked a smart game using punches well to set up for powerful knees and inside work.
At 60kgs Mykhailo Vasylioglo (Ukraine) a bronze medal winner at the IFMA championships faced Ulabzislau Sinitsk from Belarus in a tight battle – the Ukraniana winning by just one point.
Portugal’s Rui Bothelo defeated Russian athlete Simonyan Armen, again on points. Rui has a fast style, darting forward to strike and then retreating to the safety of a strong teep kick before coming in again.
Defending champion at 71kg Vasyl Sorokin won on points against Russia’s Alexander Skvortsov in an exciting bout – Skcortsov pulling out his trademark spinning back kick but Sorokin was too strong in the grapple and more than held his own in the bout.
Behind the scenes photos and video on EMF Facebook
and IFMA Instagram