Leah McCourt: IMMAF Championships are the biggest challenge for an amateur


There is less than five weeks to go until the 2016 IMMAF European Open Championships, and reigning European Open and World champion Leah McCourt believes that international IMMAF competition is the greatest challenge for any amateur mixed martial artist. The 24-year-old Mother has become a role model for women in Northern Ireland through publicity that followed her debut IMMAF appearance at the 2015 European Open in Birmingham, UK. McCourt achieved Gold as a 155lb Lightweight competitor, before progressing to the 2016 IMMAF World Championships in July where she entered the 145lb Featherweight bracket and secured a trio of victories in the space of four days to earn herself another historic Gold medal. Following the World Championships, which took place in Las Vegas, USA, in conjunction with UFC International Fight Week and Fan Expo, McCourt expressed how competing on IMMAF’s international platform is the greatest challenge for any amateur MMA competitor. “The IMMAF world championships definitely is the most challenging thing to compete in as an amateur and the experience is priceless, especially for females. So winning meant so much to me and to be able to make my family, daughter, boyfriend and team proud meant the most. “It’s great to be seen as a positive role model and hopefully I’m helping promote the sport of MMA among women.”  McCourt continues to focus on developing herself as a fighter and athlete reaping the benefits of a full amateur career before the time is right for what will undoubtedly be a highly anticipated pro debut. “Everybody is different but I know what my plan is and I’m very focuses.  My sponsor Walsin has offered me fantastic support  and I have some good opportunities so My main focus is getting better and improving everyday so we will see what happens.”  Taking place from 22 to 26 November at the Arena of Sparta in Prague, Czech Republic, the 2016 IMMAF European Open Championships welcomes Amateur MMA competitors from member countries as selected by their national, IMMAF affiliated federation. 210 athletes competed at the recent 2016 IMMAF World Championships at UFC International Fight Week in Las Vegas; and with its dynamic European membership, the IMMAF European Open is expected to at least match the World Championships in numbers. The tournament will see IMMAF Worlds medal winners of 2016 looking to maintain a successful year, and European Open medallists from 2015 returning to defend or surpass last year’s accolades. https://vimeo.com/173646643 By IMMAF.org lead writer and website manager, Jorden Curran  

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