Arab and International fighters made their way to Nouhad Nawfal stadium, Zouk Mikael, last night [Saturday April 29, 2017] for the one and only Phoenix promotion’s second installment. The Muay Thai event saw amazing talent and awe inspiring fight after fight. Here is a brief recap for all those who missed the action.
The night began with Lebanon’s Ziad Sinno against Mohamad Hussein from Jordan. This 3 round bout start of the night was a one for one blow, clinch filled aggressive 9 minutes. Sinno held better precision punches, Hussein had higher use of offense with kicks, but Hussein was momentarily knocked down in round 2 when Sinno threw a left straight which landed well. Sinno left Hussein with a cut above his right eyebrow, and took the win by decision.
The second fight of the night between Lebanon’s Ahmed Labban and Egypts Ahmed Ibrahim catered more for Labban’s entertainment. Upon entrance Labban displayed his kick flexibility, while Ibrahim seemed to be observing and reading his opponent. A quick and simple for Labban after knocking down the Egyptian 3 times through out the first round, with his impressive ease of kicks of all sorts, yet again proving that his confidence comes with good reason.
Fight 3 saw the 95+ kg battle between Lebanon’s Jihad Mokdad and his short notice replacement opponent Ali Garcia from Spain. Garcia had the recurrent simple but effective 1-2 straight kick combo. Mokdad got in strong brawl like punches with heavy weight. The fight ended with the towel being thrown in from the Lebanese corner, to the disagreement of the Mokdad.
The fourth fight saw the battle of the heavy record holders Musipon Pakorn (Thai) and Morgan Adrar (FRA). At 67kgs, these two used epic reflexes, counters, and offense true only to real Muay Thai fighters. The power of the kick strikes alone would have knocked down many fighters present that evening, but no these two. They kept at it for 5 rounds. They utilised the clinch a high percentage of the time where knees of massive force were continuously exchanges. Adrar was swept several times as Pakorn clearly showed his dominate control with clinch. The WMC world Championship and Phoenix World Champion belts both went to Pakorn by decision.
The only female bout of the night between Antonina Shevchenko fighting for Peru and Swedish Isa Keskikangas came up next. It was clear from the get go that Shevchenko was a lot more comfortable in the ring, with herself, confidence and higher skill set. With much stronger and aggressive offense, full control of clinches, powerful sweeps, and incredible boxing techniques through every round, Keskikangas didd’t seem to be a match for Shevchenko. Only in round 4 did Keskikangas bring out a little more aggression, but Shevchenko took the win by decision, earning the female WMC world title belt, and the Phoenix Championship Muay Thai World Title.
The sixth fight of the night saw the another 95+ kg battle between Wendall Roche (NLD) and Steven Banks (U.S.A). It only went to the second round when Banks managed another win by TKO, after a heavy use of dominating elbows, punches and knees eventhough he was left with blood dripping from a nasty cut above his right eyebrow left by Roche.
The next fight was for the WMC Middle East Belt. Kassem Daher from Lebanon fought it out with Jordan’s Mohamad Salama at 82kgs. The two showed a difference in precision when it came to kicks verse punches. Daher used his kicking skill to take out Salama’s legs several times leaving him to drop to a knee. Salama utilized slightly more combos,as round 3 through 5 became increased in intensity. Daher did go down momentarily after he got caught with a high kick, but by the end of round 5 though Daher seemed to have slowed his pace, his boxing picked up. The win went to Daher by decision.
Fight 8 of the night was an unanticipated highly uneven match up of the Armenian Armen Grigoryan and the Chinese Xie Wei for the WMC intercontinental title. At 70kgs, this bout saw the light on his feet, incredibly flexible, and speedy Wei dominate Grigoryan from the get go. The Armenian showed good defense and knee ability in the first round, but from there on out the Chinese continuously showed an impressive wide range of sweeps, kicks, high impact knees and major control of the clinch technique. For most of round 3 through 5, Wei was air born. Flying kicks, knees and punches took the stadium by storm as the Grigoryan attempted to make it through to the end. The winner by decision went to the energetic Chinese who finished the bout with several push-ups.
The second to last fight, the co-main event was a shock to many fans. Mohammad Ghorabi from Lebanon faced David Willmot from the U.K. What started out as an easy fight for Ghorabi, where his high ability in Muay Thai reigned over Willmot, as he displayed accurate, timed destructive professional techniques placing the U.K national in defense mode for most of the first round. However in the the last few seconds of this first round that lead all to believe Ghorabi would easily take the win, Willmot threw a long range left hook that caught Ghorabi off guard and Willmot took the win via KO.
The highly anticipated main event fight of the night matched up the famous Saenchai from Thailand with the young and eager Azize Hlali from France.This entertaining fight saw the lighter side of both fighters as they taunted each other briefly with a few jester moves, but with all seriousness Hlali never lost sight of his mission. The Frenchman showed to be a strong opponent for Saenchai through out the rounds as he was able to catch kicks coming from Saenchai, and launch some decent combos. However, Saenchai has a big reputation for a reason. Clearly dominant on all levels, he seemed to allow Hlali to give it his best, while interjecting with momentarily aggressive trips, and in the first round thrw a beautifully executed punch to Hlali’s stomach and follow up with a liver shot. Hlali went down momentarily, but got right back up and continued to do well against the mega Thai beast and managed to trip him to the floor. Saenchai of course returned the sweep with much higher aggression, a single front kick launched Hlali half way across the ring, and his double kicks and trips were no match for the young fighter. From there on out the Thai went on to display all the creative and famous moves known to him, and by decision happily enjoyed yet another win for his record. A beautiful little twist to this fight was the execution of Saenchai’s famous cart wheel kick by Hlali just as the bell rang signaling the end of the fight. A move that seemed to be well respected by the experienced Thai fighter.
What an amazing night of famous national and international Muay Thai fighters, produced by none other than the Phoenix promotion. Stay tuned for the next installment that will no doubt have even bigger names and exceptional talents to grab the attention from all around the world.