By Caoilte de Barra
The 2022 European Championships saw longtime Sweden representative Daniyal Shamkhalov call time on his MMA career.
Debuting on the IMMAF platform in 2019 at the European Championships, Shamkhalov quickly became one to watch and went on to win three IMMAF bronze medals. Citing other commitments, specifically his family life and pursuit of studies, the Vasteras Fight Club athlete sees his future elsewhere.
“MMA was a very, very serious hobby for me, which I loved, and I still love, but I have to turn a new page in my book. I recently got married. I’m in the last semester of my law education in Sweden. And I have other priorities. I don’t want to become a pro in MMA. I don’t want to live as a pro fighter. It’s a very, very tough and very long road to walk as a fighter. And why should I make it difficult when I can make it easy? I got an education, and I can earn a lot of money that way.”
“I consider myself more or less grounded. I’m a simple man. I just want to get an education and be some kind of self-reliable, self-sustaining family man. That’s my goal.”
When asked about becoming a lawyer, you could tell he was passionate about it, but he joked about how “you get paid well to talk and drink coffee.”
His admirable decision shows the different paths athletes can take. Many have hopes of becoming a professional champion, while others may only want to pursue the sport as a hobby.
Shamkhalov enjoyed a fruitful amateur career and succeeded quite a lot by 23. His decision does not mean he is completely walking away from the sport. His love for the sport stands, and he plans to continue training and helping his teammates as they compete, passing on any knowledge he gained from his career.
Having competed in IMMAF on numerous occasions, he explained how valuable the experience is for athletes.
“The biggest thing about IMMAF is the level of the competition. You will rarely find the level of competition domestically. So going abroad to these international tournaments, fighting one day, two days, or three days, you can get almost a year’s worth of fighting in a week. And against top fighters. The level difference between the best of IMMAF and a good pro isn’t very high on a technical level. So you go to IMMAF, gain this very valuable experience, and it helps to develop your MMA game tremendously.”
During his time in IMMAF, Shamkhalov was always in exciting bouts and was one of the favourites in his division each time he competed. We may not see him in action, but we could see him return in a different capacity in future.