The crème de la crème of boxers, referees and judges, officials and esteemed guests from all over the world came together to make the first-ever IBA Champions’ Night happen. With a total prize fund of $400,000 USD at stake, 8 breathtaking fights took place at the Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers.
The winners got a prestigious belt and a $30,000 USD check, while runner-ups received $20,000 USD.
Boxers fought at the IBA Champions’ Night in a pro format, 5 rounds of 3 minutes for men, and 5 rounds of 2 minutes for women. Women were performing without head guards, and men were fighting without shirts.
In an opening bout in men’s 63.5kg, Sofiane Oumiha from France won unanimously over his opponent from Armenia, Karen Tonakanyan. The crowd was impressed by the techniques of two athletes, currently professionals with 3-0 boxing records, who showed top-class performance.
‘I have excellent feelings about this bout, being the first winner of the IBA Champions’ Night, it’s a great honor. I am grateful for the invitation from IBA,’ Oumiha said.
Reese Lynch from Scotland celebrated a second victory of the night over the UAE boxer Amer Husain Ali Saeed with a unanimous decision in 67kg.
‘It’s good to be here, I had a great competitor today. I’ve started boxing when I was 8-9 years old and been there ever since. It’s good to compete, win or lose – you always win,’ Lynch mentioned.
Jordanian Zeyad Eashash delivered a sensation victory in 71kg, beating Cuban 2-time Olympic champion Roniel Iglesias unanimously.
In the women’s fight in 57kg, Irma Testa took the belt, winning Karina Ibragimova from Kazakhstan. After the fight, she said that one of her dreams came true.
‘It’s beautiful, I am really happy to be a part of this amazing boxing night. I have two dreams, and one of them came true tonight – I’ve made my pro debut,’ Testa said.
Defending IBA World Champion Yoenlis Hernandez Martinez from Cuba overcame Saidjamshid Jafarov from Uzbekistan by a split decision in 75kg weight class.
Muslim Gadzhimagomedov from Russia defeated Enmanuel Reyes Pla from Spain in a spectacular 92kg fight.
‘I planned a tough fight, as the rival was very good. We have already met, and I knew it wouldn’t be easy. I am very happy and satisfied with my fight, the task is completed,’ Gadzhimagomedov told.
In the super heavyweight fight between two professional boxers, the only 7-round bout, Ruslan Fayfer from Russia won Kevin Johnson from the USA by a unanimous decision.
The main event in super heavyweight was anticipated, as World and Olympic champion, currently pro boxer Bakhodir Jalolov was challenged by Bahrain’s Olympian Danis Latypov. Heavy punches from Jalolov brought him another unanimous professional success.
‘In boxing, people always come from poor backgrounds. I am grateful to President Kremlev for that he has established prize money for the athletes, it has never been the case before. It feels amazing to be the IBA Champion again. I am looking forward to meeting everyone at the IBA Men’s World Boxing Championships in Tashkent,’ Jalolov claimed.