Dubai fighters win K-1 in South Korea

Established in 2005 in Dubai, the Martial Arts Academy, led by Vladimir Burdun, continues to develop at a rapid pace. A couple of years ago, a sports club, known to the people of the Emirates as a gym with two punching bags in the mezzanine of one of the houses on Al Rikka Street, "Martial Arts Academy" is now exhibiting its athletes in solid professional tournaments and negotiating with sports television channels. A large Thai boxing hall has been created on the basis of Al Shabab State Sports Club, equipped with equipment specially brought from Thailand, various boxing bags and a ring. Since January 2007, the Academy has held regular professional Thai boxing tournaments called the Battle of the Coast. All this has recently brought a certain fame to Dubai in the world of fighting sports.

The K-1 Khan 2007 tournament was held on July 21, 2007 in Seoul, South Korea. The tournament is annually organized by the T-Entertainment promotion group, which operates under license from the Japanese owners of K-1 tournaments. Martial arts match maker Stanislav Bukhlov provided a list of Dubai Thai boxers to the Korean organizers, from whom Najmeddin Al Hadad (60 kg), nicknamed Scorpio, and Ahmad Saadi (70 kg), known under the pseudonym Kamikaze, were selected . Despite the not very favorable conditions (time was running out and Korean rivals exceeded the number of fights), the Martial Arts Academy decided to take part in the tournament for reasons of prestige and began training for the fighters. The process was led by the head coach of the "Martial Arts Academy" - Magomed Suleymanov.
The Martial Arts Academy, as a promoter of Thai boxing in the Emirates, has long-standing and warm relations with the Thai Airways office in Dubai. Thai Airways Management and Thai Consul in Dubai are regulars in the Battle of the Coast Thai boxing tournament. This time, an agreement was signed between the Thai airline and the Thai Boxing Club, according to which the airlines became the club’s official carrier, providing athletes with tickets for trips to the competitions.

After a comfortable flight, the team arrived at the airport in Incheon, from where it moved to the picturesque city of Seoul, located in the highlands. No sooner had the athletes from the Emirates checked into the hotel, as an invitation to an official weigh-in was received. Both turned out to be a bit heavier than required, but in the time allotted by the organizers, Najmeddin and Ahmad drove the weight and fit into the framework. Some participants drove weight long before the official weigh-in. According to the Australian John Wayne Parr, preparing for the tournament, he lost 12 kilograms to fit in his weight category.
The competition arena (Jang Chung Gymnasium) was located near the hotel where the athletes lived. On the way from the airport to the hotel you could see a huge banner with photos of the tournament participants. To the credit of the organizers, it is worth noting that neither with the start of the tournament, nor with the athletes entering the ring, there were no hitches. Everything corresponded to a tournament of this level. Particularly impressed was the fact that the athletes were accompanied day and night by a whole staff of translators.
The tournament opened the battle of Najmeddin Al Hadad against Jah Hee Chan. A preliminary collection of information about Korean rivals on English-speaking Internet resources yielded practically no results, but the translation of Korean sites showed interesting facts. As it turned out, Scorpio rival Ja Hee Chan spent a total of 40 fights in the professional ring. This speaks of serious experience, especially if we compare it with just four professional fights of Najmeddin. Scorpio began the fight in his usual manner, “shooting” the opponent with kicks. It should be especially noted that Najmeddin owns a filigree-honed karate kick technique. It is the alloy of the technical arsenal of karate, boxing, Thai boxing and taekwondo that distinguishes the modern K-1 fighter. At the end of the first round, Jah Hee Chan succeeded in capturing Scorpio in a corner, several times to get him right straight; in the second and third rounds he continued this tactic. In the third, something happened that confirmed the correct choice of the stage name of Najmeddin and caused the audience to gasp: in the middle of the round, the Scorpion unexpectedly kicks a head from the head into the Korean head. At the end of the fighting, it will become clear that this was one of the most spectacular blows of the tournament. Ja Hee-chan falls as if slanted, but rises before the referee has time to count “eight”. Immediately, with direct blows to the head, Najmeddin re-sends the Korean to the floor of the ring. The referee waves his hands, stopping the bout. The blue corner exults. Magomed Suleymanov jumps into the ring and raises Najmeddin in his arms in a fit of delight. Mixed expressions of surprise and respectful approval on the faces of coaches and managers of other athletes. On the way to the locker room, Korean kickboxing fans rush to take pictures with Najmeddin, who so spectacularly announced himself at the very first K-1 tournament. Immediately after this battle, the grand opening of the tournament took place, furnished in the best traditions of K-1 - with fireworks, a laser show and commercials about each fighter.

Another representative of Dubai, a Tunisian by nationality - Ahmad Saadi, stepping into the ring with Sufi music in an Arab cloak, looked quite exotic for Koreans. It should be noted that Korea is not a tourist country, they come here mainly for business, in addition, the country has a rather strict immigration policy. The international composition of pairs of K-1 Khan tournaments always arouses the interest of spectators who are not spoiled by the presence of expatriates.
We must pay tribute to the courage of Ahmad's rival - Ja Sik Choi, who acts in the ring with an inferior right hand, along with healthy athletes. We do not know if this is a congenital or a result of an injury, but Ja Sik Choya has no right forearm. Despite this, a tall Korean (185cm) has long been successfully performing in the professional ring and is a favorite of Korean fans. Before the fight, the chairman of the Korean Society of the Disabled entered the ring to support the athlete. In the first round, Ahmad punches the Korean twice with knockdowns. During the break, Ja Sik Choi recovers and in the remaining rounds boxing aggressively. After three rounds, the judges give the victory to the Tunisian. Frankly, even the Tunisian's seconds did not expect a decision in favor of Ahmad, by and large, an additional round could clarify everything. But so ordered the official K-1 referees who judged the match.

In the remaining fights of the tournament: South African fighter Vusu Kolossa in a three-round fight won on points over the South Korean boxer Jae Moon Choi. Famous Thai former WBC boxing champion Sirimongkol Singwangcha confidently won Jong Yon Choya. By the happy face of the Korean, it was clear that he was incredibly happy about the relatively easy outcome of the battle. The sensational defeat was suffered by former intercontinental IBF boxing champion Vergil Kalakoda. Virgil, nicknamed "Victorious" for his boxing career, with a track record of 30 professional boxing fights, 25 wins, 16 of which he won ahead of schedule, was knocked out by little-known Korean fighter Xie Kim. Australian Thai boxing legend John Wayne Parr defeated a good Korean boxer Sinbi Tae Wong on points. Yong So Choi knocked out in the second round of the Japanese Satoru Suzuki. In the fifth fight of the evening, Albert Kraus from the first round went to aggravate the battle, tried to impose an exchange of blows on the South Korean Kay Max. In the first round, Kraus will knock out the Korean with a precisely calculated and timely haikik. In the last battle of the tournament, Korean Chi Bin Lim planned to avenge his compatriot Su Hwan Lee, who was recently knocked out by Arthur Kishchenko. But Arthur, representing the famous Odessa Thai boxing club “Captain” and at the peak of his form, before the K-1 Grand Prix finals, MAX did not give his opponent such a chance. For two rounds, Arthur quickly and powerfully smashed the opponent’s lowkicky leg, and the referee decided to stop the match. Kishchenko, apparently, has every chance to compete for the champion belt at the K-1 MAX in Japan. The popularity of Artem has already gone beyond Japan. After the fighting, the buses that drove the fighters to the hotel had to linger, all the athletes were waiting for Odessa, who overcame the barrier from fans who wanted to take a picture with him. At the same time, according to the acknowledgment of his trainer, they practically do not know Artem outside of Odessa in Ukraine.

After the tournament, there was an “after party” in one of the hotel restaurants, managers, promoters and fighters got the opportunity to communicate in an environment not constrained by the strict rules of the press conference and tournament. Some fighters were surprisingly, like John Wayne Parr, modest and friendly, while others, like Albert Kraus, on the contrary maintained a distance in communication. Be that as it may, each of them has a vivid individual character, which is reflected in the ring and makes them interesting fighters. The successful performance of the Dubai athletes caused genuine interest in the "Martial Arts Academy" among people involved in the orbit of professional fights. In particular, Vladimir Burdun held negotiations with the famous Australian promoter of Japanese origin Ray Matsumura about the participation of fighters promoted by the Martial Arts Academy in the battles of the K-1 MAX and K-1 Heroes series.

/ Stanislav Bukhlov /
/ Photo: Stanislav Bukhlov /

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