By Ross Patterson
The men’s senior welterweight division promises to be extremely competitive at the World Championships in Abu Dhabi. Two athletes, Ramazan Gitinov and Murad Guseinov have dominated the division in recent years. However, there is no shortage of talent waiting to cause an upset and claim gold come January 24th.
Ramazan Gitinov is the pound-for-pound #1 ranked athlete in the world. At 24 years old, he will be looking to secure his 3rd IMMAF World Championship gold medal. He’s currently on a 15-fight win streak, holding a record of 16-2. Representing Bahrain, Gitinov has been unstoppable. He’s a complete fighter, with sharp striking, fluid takedowns and a smothering ground game. The young athlete will be aiming to once again assert himself as the best amateur welterweight on the planet.
However, looking to cause an upset will be fellow Bahraini, Murad Guseinov. Currently on a 9-fight win streak, with a record of 12-2, Guseinov has also looked unbeatable on his current form. Another well-rounded martial artist, Guseinov has looked dangerous striking, but is especially dominant while grappling. Both Gitinov and Guseinov made it to the final of the European Championship in August of last year, but elected not to fight one another, leaving us all wondering who would have triumphed. If they are drawn against each other at the World Championships, it will be fascinating to see who prevails.
But it won’t just be the Bahraini’s vying for the gold medal. The welterweight division is one of the most talent-rich in IMMAF. Evgeny Morozov, from Russia, won a bronze medal at the European Championship in August. He lost a decision to Gitinov, which he will be looking to avenge at the World Championships. With a record of 11-5, he undoubtedly has the skills to challenge for the top spot, but will he perform to his potential?
Another man to keep an eye out for is Daniil Shirokov. Also a bronze medallist at the European Championships, Shirokov lost to Guseinov via an Anaconda choke. The 20-year-old Russian will be looking to further make a name for himself, and will surely aim to even the score against Guseinov should they meet.
No.2 ranked Jovidon Mahmudov will also be out for more gold following his dominance at the World Cup. His sole loss came against Guseinov back in August.
And Teddy Stringer from England is an extremely impressive athlete who will be competing in Abu Dhabi. Stringer is the Almighty Fighting Championship Lightweight Champion and will certainly have his eye on the IMMAF podium.
So, will we see the continued dominance of Bahrain? Will Gitnov once again prove himself the greatest pound-for-pound amateur athlete on the planet? Could Guseinov cause an upset and steal the gold medal from the favourite? Or is there a new champion waiting in the wings, just about to begin their reign as the new #1 welterweight in IMMAF? It’s all to play for in the 77kg division. Make sure you tune in on January 24th.
The rescheduled 2021 IMMAF World Championships will be streamed live from Abu Dhabi at immaf.tv from 24 to 29 January 2022.