The 2022 IMMAF World Championships are officially underway. The exciting day of action saw junior and senior athletes from around the world make their way to the Stark Arena in Belgrade, Serbia for the opening day.
2021 lightweight gold medalist Kurban Idrisov enjoyed a successful return as he bids to become a two-time world champion. Wearing the gold kit, the Bahrain athlete impressed over three rounds to take a unanimous decision victory over Tajikistan’s Zoir Valiev. He will meet Bulgaria’s Kostadin Hristov in Cage 2 tomorrow.
Home nation Serbia went undefeated on Day 1, going 3-0. Vojislav Simicic, Milan Stojiljkovic, and Veljko Aleksic all finished their opponents to get the home crowd cheering.
Continental champions Veja Hinda, Anthony Orozco, Manuchehr Rioev and George Staines all picked up wins. Namibia’s Veja Hinda and United States’ Anthony Orozco showcased their grappling prowess. Hinda submitted Mo Zubair with a guillotine choke in the first round, while Orozco locked in an arm triangle choke to submit Bozhidar Ivanov.
Tajikistan’s Manuchehr Rioev continued his streak of exciting performances by landing a spinning back followed by strikes to force the referee to step in and call a halt to the bout with Kazakhstan’s Yerkebulan Begassyluly. England’s George Staines was the final bout of the day and topped it off with a TKO/KO win over South Africa’s Nicolaas Vermaak.
Knockout artist Patrick Habirora added another big KO to his highlight reel by finishing Karim Ksouri in the opening round.
Japan’s Reo Yamaguchi was brought the distance in a close bout that saw him edge Kazakhstan’s Zokhrab Veliyev on the judges’ scorecards.
IMMAF veterans Andrew Stanway and Roan Crocker marked their return to the IMMAF platform by picking up wins in their respective divisions. Stanway is undefeated in IMMAF and this was his first win since 2017. Crocker is the sole Welsh representative at the World Championships and made a statement by submitting Jake Christensen with an arm-triangle choke in the second round.
You can find all the results from today and the brackets for tomorrow on Smoothcomp. Day 2 of the 2022 World Championships will kick off at 11 am local time and will be available to watch live on IMMAF’s OTT platform, immaf.tv
Report by Caoilte de Barra in Belgrade.