By Erik Uebelacker
Swedish light heavyweight Robin Enontekio shook up the Jiu Jitsu Arena on Tuesday with a huge one-punch knockout win over Guyana’s Ijaz Cave.
Enontekio scored the finish in the first round with a powerful left jab that sent Cave to the canvas for one of the most spectacular finishes of the Championships so far.
After the knockout, Enontekio sat in the cage with his hands on his knees, visibly concerned for his opponent.
“You always like to feel when it lands hard, you know?” he said.
“But I still just hope the guy is OK and he’s feeling all right. That’s actually what I’m thinking about right now.
“Those punches can (connect) and you never know what happens, you know. It can be quite ugly, and I wish him all the best.”
It was a fun fight for as long as it lasted. The pair exchanged heavy leg kicks, and Cave used speed and unorthodox movement to dart in and out of Enontekio’s range.
“In the beginning, I started feeling the nerves a little bit,” Enontekio said.
“He moved quite special, but also quite early. I thought it was going to be as strict stand-up fight, and felt confident.”
Enontekio has fought in several IMMAF events dating back to the 2015 European Championships. He says this experience assuredly benefitted him this fight.
“The more fights you have, the more the more knowledge and experience you can use,” he said.
“I’ve been fighting these tournaments before. I know the drill. So that basically makes me calm (and) makes me focus.”
After taking no major damage in the bout, Enontekio said that he should be his best self for Wednesday’s quarter-final fight against France’s Anthony Nantois.
Looking ahead to the matchup, he said that he’s keeping his expectations realistic, but optimistic, leading into the next round of the tournament.
“I feel my head is in shape, my body’s in shape, probably the best shape I’ve ever been. And the mindset is quite strong,” he said.
“So I think this year I can move on. I’m going to go forward. That’s my plan, at least. As you see, it can easily change.”
As thrilled as he was to get his highlight-reel knockout, Enontekio isn’t letting it distract him from his task at hand: to deliver Sweden a gold medal.
“I mean, it’s the peach. It doesn’t get much better than this,” he said of his knockout win.
“But that’s today. Now it’s time to reset and start thinking about tomorrow.”
Enontekio faced Anthony Nantois on Wednesday, where he won via first round armbar. He will fight Dmytro Babynskyi in Thursday’s semi-finals.