On Sunday the 27th of September, Lebanon witnessed the yearly Class A Category event of Muay Thai. The exciting night was filled with a variety of Muay Thai fighting styles and athletes battling it out to reign in the top class.
The night saw several cancelled fights, a suspenseful and dramatic flight from the ring by one fighter unhappy with the way the fight was going, a massacre of talent, and an almost out of control thoroughly amusing end fight. This event had a little something for everyone – even a sexy blond, skin showing, hottie of a ring girl keeping the crowd up to date with the start of each round.
Some of the major names hosting the medal ceremonies included the one and only main Martial Arts sponsor Chahe Yerevanian of Sayfco Holding, Grand Master Sami Kiblawi, MMA federations Hilal Nashar, French K1 World Champion Riyadh Al Sahrawi, Level 8’s John Haddad, Karim Tibi of Mind Spike and Master Julia Kiblawi to name a few.
The fights switched between incredibly skillful, slightly unorthodox, and major brawling at times, which was cheered by the ecstatic crowd who thoroughly enjoyed the event. For those of you who missed the exciting night, a description of several of the fights worth mentioning follows.
One of the fights that caught the attention of the audience was the third fight in pitting Shogun’s Omar Alhalaby Vs Ibrahim Ibi Saleh from MCS Club. After putting up a tough fight, and dominating most of the time by landing punches with better precision, Omar Alhalaby ended up on the losing end. His opponent Ibrahim wasted more energy missing hits, but when both had blood showing on their faces, endurance and perseverance gave Omar’s opponent the upper hand. During the second round, both appeared to be quite tired and running out of steam; three rounds of heavy bouts of trying, missing and actually landing punches, will wear out anyone at the amateur level with minimal experience.
Ahmad Ondash versus Mostafa Yaghmour was a suspenseful fight. Ondash started off dominating with powerful low kicks, throws and trips knocking Mustafa to the ground as well as demonstrating a higher level of dodging abilities.
Mustafa, notorious for throwing spinning back fists, landed a few, and attempted to catch quite a few kicks coming his way, yet spent a good amount of time being a little jumpy. During the first round however, a low kick from Ondash knocked his opponent down pretty hard and gave way to Mustafa violently ripping off his gloves and stormed off stage, causing quite a stir. The crowd quickly jumped down and there were attempts to keep the stadium from erupting into a mass brawl.
Thankfully a couple of words from the big guys, and Mustafa re-entered the ring to complete the match. After a wide variety of nicely executed clenches, knees, and flying punches, Mustafa went down again briefly in the third round and the fight went to Ondi.
The following fight was the only Professional 5 round fight of the night between Mahmoud Radwan in yellow shorts and Fadi Bou Aboud in the blue.
The entrance of both fighters was accompanied by indoor fireworks of a sort, lining the walk way to the ring.
In the corner of Mohammad was the infamous Mohammad Ghorabi, and in the corner of blue shorts was Shogun’s Lion member Nour salman. During the first two rounds, yellow shorts used more boxing combos, low kicks, and spinning back kicks whereas the blue seemed to be slightly more relaxed. His arsenal consisted of powerful front kicks, and a repetitive lifting of his left knee mimicking the style of real authentic Thai fighters – keeping his opponent slightly on edge.
Rounds 3 and 4 saw the predominant use of clenches, with elbows and knees being deployed, with the combos seeming sloppy as the energy began to drain. The last round saw a jump in vigor as both exploded in a fierce attempt to win as time ticked.
As the bell signaled the finish, both untangled themselves from a heavy clench and Mahmoud Radwan was named as the winner with a score of 5-0. Even though it good fight with an excellent display of technique, the crowd was overheard debating the unfair score, as the fans jumped into the ring and lifted the winner on their shoulders in a proud celebration.
In a surprising and positive next step, Fadi is now prepping and training for his next fight under the Shogun name, the team he will now be fighting for.
A brief pause in the action transitioned back into the rest of the amateur fights as the stadium slightly cleared out after the main fight. It was followed by an exciting and uplifting match between Shogun’s Youssef Abboud and Nohad Khodr.
Youssef executed wonderfully heavy and powerful combinations of kicks and punches, and even a demolishing spinning back kick that knocked his opponent down for a second. The rest of the match was covered in brutal knees, jabs and hooks with continuous power and aggression by Youssef, who took the win and earned himself not only a gold medal but also a couple of deeply felt words from the world known professional K1 fighter Riyadh Al Sahrawi who praised his high level of Muay Thai skill.
Mohamad Sobah fought against Shogun’s predominately MMA oriented Anthony Zeidan in the following fight, in what seemed to be a complete massacre of the MMA fighters talents. From the get go the difference in skill was blatant, and given that Zeidan is one tough fighter he was no match for Sobah who repeated gave him a beating through the use of heavy kicks, boxing combos, and knees with power that could be heard vibrating throughout the stadium. Even though Anthony displayed a more patient and observant fighting style than his usual, the amount of power shots he took elevated his aggression level but seemed to have reduced his ability to fight efficiently. Perhaps the sound of Anthony’s team support that usually helps a fighter succeed in a tough match was drowned out by the cheering of his opponent’s fans coming from all sides of the ring.
Sobah reigned as the undisputed winner of that fight.
Definitely the most energetic fight by far was the last of the night between Ziad Sinno and Ali Kambar.
It was all out madness of heavy and aggressive testosterone stand-off, that the referees themselves had a hard time tearing the opponents away from each other. In between short bouts of brawling, these two showcased high impact elbows, over hooks, creative flying punches and knees. Ziad got hit with a hard spinning back hand to the head, and happily returned it with an aggressive punch combo and literally threw Ali into the corner. Both moved into tight clenches, and at one point Ali kneed his opponent to the face as he was on his way out and down of a clench.
Even though at times both seemed to exchange slightly dirty moves, both were playing the at the same level of skill and energy which led to impressive entertainment. Ziad, however,dominated the last round with what looked like a momentary knock out that kept Ali slightly dazed until the end, where Ziad returned the knee to his face. Shogun’s Sinno took the gold in this unforgettable performance.
RESULTS by Teams
- 1st Place Shogun: 7 Gold, 9 Silver, 1 Bronze Medals
- 2nd Place BOB Gym (Best of the Best):3 Gold, 1 Silver, 2 Bronze Medals
- 3rd Place MCS Gym (MultakaChabeb Sour): 3 Gold, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze Medals
The Lebanese Muay Thai federation has claimed its top contestants for the year. Definitely a night that will be remembered with several names to keep an eye out for, it is only imaginable that more excellent displays of this Martial Art from Lebanese fighters is to follow during the year.