By Jake Smith
IMMAF European Medalists, Tobias Harila and Michele Martignoni will both compete this Saturday, 20th March on Cage Warriors 122. The duo fight on the final night of Cage Warriors’ third installment of ‘The Trilogy’.
Many athletes struggled to compete during the COVID pandemic but Harila had an extremely active 2020, fighting three times. Following his three victories in 2020, ‘Bad Intention’ caught the attention of major European promotion, Cage Warriors.
This upcoming bout will be the first of Harila’s multi-fight Cage Warriors contract. With the promotion pitting him against Aidan Stephen, an athlete at the very top of a deeply talented Featherweight division, it shows they believe he deserves to be in the upper echelon of the division. Fans could be in for a classic striker vs. grappler match up, with Harila’s punching power transitioning successfully to the professional ranks. Meanwhile, Stephen’s dominating wrestling and ground game has resulted in six of his eight victories coming by way of submission or decision.
Harila competed in six IMMAF tournaments, taking the gold back to Sweden with him, twice. His IMMAF debut came at the 2016 World Championships, but his competition came to an end on Day 3, suffering a unanimous decision loss to eventual lightweight finalist, Ferdun Osmanov (Bulgaria).
Just two month later Harlia was back on the IMMAF stage, featuring in the 2016 All Africa Championships. Two KO/TKO victories later the Swedishman found himself on the top of the podium with his first IMMAF gold medal sitting comfortably around his neck. Harila was hoping to replicate his success two months later, at the 2016 European Open Championships. He was defeated in the opening round by Milad Ahady (UK).
In March of 2017, and after racking up another 3 amatuer victories away from the IMMAFs, Harila was back on the platform at the European Open. He made it all the way to the final, only to be on the wrong side of a unanimous decision against Ferdum Osmanov, once again. His second gold came at the Asian Open Championships, where Harila showed his elite striking, finishing all of his bouts by way of punches.
In his first Cage Warriors bout, Michele Martigoni upset the applecart with a tough fought decision victory over top Bantamweight prospect Wesley Maia. At Cage Warriors 122, he will be looking to stop another prospect in their tracks when he faces Nathan Fletcher. Both men will be putting their undefeated records on the line as the winner moves one step closer to challenging for the 135lbs belt. With five first round finishes between them, viewers can expect to see a high paced, technical clash from the first bell.
Martignoni’s amateur debut came at the 2015 European Open Championships. The Italian was ousted in the opening day of the tournament by Iceland’s Bjartur Guðlaugsson. He came back to the European Championships a year later, looking to right the wrongs of his first tournament. The Italian showed monumental improvements across his game and beat David Evans (USA) on day one, then securing two dominating unanimous decision victories against Carlos Castro (USA) and Hoger Salih (Sweden). ‘The Italian Thunder’ faced one of the favourites of the competition, Swedishman, Daniel Schälander in the final. Schalander took the bout after submitting Martignoni with a North-South Choke in the last round.
After the bout, Martignoni turned to the professional ranks and is coming into this Cage Warriors show with a 6-0-0-1 record.