After an exciting week of muaythai, some of the best bouts took place on the last day as the men’s and women’s divisions drew to a close. Some of the most well-known names in muaythai including Dmitry Valent, Vital Hurkou, Jimmy Vienot, Ali Dogan and Svetlana Vinnikova, Nili Block all jumped the ropes for a chance at gold in Prague.
The tournament ran on two rings all week, and then narrowed down the focus to just one today with a walk-way for the athletes to enter on. The blue and red colours of the Czech flag flew in lights along the walls, with music setting the atmosphere.
One of the most keenly anticipated bout was at 81kgs between Dmitry Valent, multiple-time world champion from Belarus and Ali Dogan, newly crowned world champion this year. They have never met before. Ali took the first round on one point, Dmitry the second leaving them in a tie with just one round to go. Dmitry was working hard on the inside, powerful body shots and knees while Ali relied more on the teep and high kicks – making for a very exciting final round. Dmitry took the win – celebrating in the ring as if it was his first victory!
Just before this bout his team-mate Vital Hurkou, also a many-time world champion faced Jimmy Vienot (France) in another highlight of the day. Jimmy set the pace from the start, with fast and strong leg-kicks followed by powerful over-hand shots. Vital fought a good defensive battle, trying things in the clinch but couldn’t pull it back – leaving Jimmy to take the gold. The French athlete also later took the Boxer of the Tournament award.
At 67kgs Norbert Speth, the Hungarian sensation of the World Championships in Mexico faced Russian Magomedrasul Magomedov in another great bout. With huge support from a large Hungarian contingent, Speth worked hard in the clinch throwing his opponent to the canvas, and using his hands to great effect while Magomedrasl countered with teeps and long-knees. But Norbert took the win on points to add another medal to his growing collection.
Home hero Jakub Klauda saved the best till last, taking on his Russian opponent Nadir Iskakov straight from the bell. Firing in with left and right hands, he won in dramatic fashion taking a clear win – to the huge delight of the crowd. Hard-working Czech photographer Lenka Bartakova reduced to tears of joy ringside at the sudden win.
At 71kgs Dzimitry Filipau (Belarus) took gold in a fast bout with Eduard Saik (Russia). At 63.5kgs, the result came down to just one point with Oskar Siegert (Poland) only just missing out on gold against Russia’s Pavel Valteran.
Aslanbek Zirkeev (Russia) also took gold against Spain’s Kevin Martinez in another one-point victory which had the crowd counting down the seconds of the final round. Aslanbek now rests for a few days, before preparing for the FISU World University Championships.
And at 51kgs another French athlete Quentin Alhamdou took gold against Armen Simonyan on a one-point win of 29 to 28.
There were seven women’s bouts. Among them world champion Svetlana Vinnikova (Russia) facing Viktoriia Yevtushenko from Ukraine. Two very different styles made for an interesting fight, with Viktoriia very tight in her approach, and Svetlana working more on the outside. Svetlana took the gold on points, adding to her substantial bling-collection.
Israel’s Nili Block, crowned world champion for the third time earlier this year took another medal for her collection in a fast-paced bout with Czech athlete Karoline Klusova. Nili really pushed the pace from the start, and the winner was in no doubt. She was later given Athete of the Tournament (Women’s).
Newcomer Monika Chochilikova (Slovakia) definitely left her mark on her first IFMA tournament taking gold at 57kg against Juliette Lacroix (France). Monika was later given the Rising Star award in the women’s division.
Earlier in the evening Myriame Djedidi (France) took gold for the second year running, this time at the 48kg level. She defeated Lotta Loikkanen (Finland) on points. Another Finnish athlete Satu Mykkanen (45kg) took gold in her division in a clear points win over Svetlana Spetsyan (Belarus).
More photographs on European Muaythai Championships Facebook.
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