Charbel Diab claimed a historical gold medal for Team Lebanon in the 2016 IMMAF World Championships, destroying the previously undefeated Marcin Kalata inside the first round.
Kalata was a feared fighter, who had never tasted defeat. Diab came into this tournament and knocked his previous opponent out in 24 seconds. Diab was the best match up for the polish as he was willing to stand and bang with the brawler, and overwhelmed him with powerful flurries of potent punches.
In a classic super-heavyweight battle, the two fighters stood toe-to-toe and traded bombs before Poland’s Kalata dropped to the ground, and Diab rained down the punches from the full mount position.
The referee was forced to halt proceedings after around 20 unanswered punches and award the victory, securing the first gold medal won by any Arab fighter on this international platform.
This was the second Arab medal of the Championships after Fahad Abdulrazaq secured a bronze for Team Bahrain.
A jubilant Diab screamed in delight after the referee waved it off following a barrage of blows from the heavy handed Lebanese fighter.
He said after the fight:
“This medal is for my team and my country. He was a very tough opponent, but I knew my hands would be too heavy in the end. I’d like to thank all my team and the people who support me.”
Diab mauled Kalata from the outset, exchanging furious blows with his opponent, who was heavy handed but just couldn’t deal with the ferocity of the 120kg man’s shots.
Diab dropped him early, jumped on him and looked to finish the tough Polish fighter fast. Fortunately, or perhaps not, Kalata was able to get back up and land a few clean shots which definitely got the Lebanese man’s attention.
In this kind of fight, with two fighters carrying such power, there was a palpable sense of urgency in the air and you felt that it wouldn’t last very long.
Diab capitalized upon a moment’s hesitation by Kalata, landing a stunning ten-punch combination, sending the bewildered Polishman to the canvas again.
This time Diab was able to close the show, transitioning to full mount position and delivering a devastating, relentless onslaught until the referee had seen enough.
With Diab’s size, athleticism, power and speed, he’s going to be a very difficult dilemma for any super-heavyweight out there.
“I want to send a message to all the young kids out there,” he said. “If you work hard, and believe in yourself, anything is possible.”
Watch the fight here: