The much anticipated season of Al Academiya kicked off September 15 on MBC Action. Sixteen featherweight and bantamweight hopefuls made it through the rigorous challenges and tryout process to compete for a spot in Al Academiya house with Team Selwady (Red Team) vs. Team Julaidan (Green Team).
Episode 5 opened with the announcement that ten fighters have been qualified in the previous elimination fights. Six others were yet to join along with each of Yasser Zaid, Andrew Tarraf, Younes Ouakili, Mohamad Alazani, Mohamad Alanzi, Mehdi Zeyoush, Serge Saad, Phillipe Masoud, Georges Bardawil, and Mohamad Mashali.
The first contestant to walk in was Saudi Mohammad Al Sebai who faced Ghaleb Hrasheh from Jordan at 66Kg. After much back and forth between the two, the fight ended with Ghaleb earning decision over Al Sebai.
Mohammed Ali from Egypt fought three hard rounds against Abdul Qader Sawwan from Algeria at 61Kg, with the judges announcing Abdul Qader as the winner after a third additional round.
At 66kg, Hussein Salem from Iraq earned a decision win against Ramadan Noman from Egypt.
The last elimination bout at 61kg featured Abdallah Muhammad Ali from UAE and Maher Salloum from Syria with the Emirati finishing up Salloum fast in the opening round.
Out of 32 contestants on the show, 28 only proceeded, thus leaving only 14 qualified winners. In order to make up, Mohammad Sebai at 66Kg Mohammad Ali at 61Kg were granted another chance. Yet as odd as it may seem, Mohammad AlAnizi from Kuwait and UAE’s Abdallah Mohamad Ali pulled out by the end of Episode 5 for unknown reasons. Again with only 14 contestants left, a surprise awaiting two of the losers was announced by Mohammad Mirza. Handpicked by Mohammad Mirza and the two coaches, Mohammad Ali from Egypt and Mohammad Al Sebai from KSA are admitted back in!
The green team, lead by Aziz Julaidan, includes:
- Abdulqader Sawwan (Algeria) 61Kg
- Mohammad Azzani (Yemen) 61Kg
- Phillipe Masoud (Lebanon) 61Kg
- Younis Ouakili (Morocco) 61Kg
- Hussein Salem (Iraq) 66Kg
- Mohamad Sebai (KSA) 66Kg
- Mehdi Zeyoush (Algeria) 66Kg
- Osama Ashraf (Egypt) 66Kg
Abdul Kareem Al Sewady will go against Green Team coach Aziz Julaidan in Desert Force Al Academia II Finale taking place end of this year in KSA. End of 2013, Julaidan requested to fight Al-Selwady following the crowning of Al Selwady with the Desert Force 66 KG title (defeating Yousef “Polvo” Al-Hamad via first round knock-out). Though the bout was set and the prize luxurious, Julaidan dropped out of the fight due to a reported injury.
Probably more so than the fighters, the fights, and the training, the success of Al Academiya largely relies on the coaches themselves!