‘People’s Champion’ Berik Shinaliyev embodies the spirit of IMMAF

Flyweight competitor Berik Shinaliyev saw that Kazakhstan made it’s way to the medal table of the 2016 IMMAF European Open Championships this past week in Prague, Czech Republic. Showcasing the spirit of IMMAF’s international community, the lone man was welcomed and vocally supported by all in attendance as he progressed to the semi-finals of the Men’s 125lb bracket, as his nation’s sole representative. Taking place from 22-26 November at Prague’s Arena of Sparta, Shinaliyev advanced to the European Open semis in clinical fashion when he awoke in the third round of a quarter final contest against Bahrain’s Hussain Abdulla, a former European Open Bronze medalist. The 31-year-old Shinaliyev devastated his opponent at 39 seconds of round 3 with a spinning back kick to the body, punctuated by a compassionate walk-away KO as Abdulla remained curled on the canvas. Shinaliyev faced Ireland’s surging submission specialist David Fogarty the following day on November 24. Chants of ‘Berik, Berik!’ rang out from the audience as the crowd favourite battled to slip away from Fogarty’s grappling offence. With quick feet Shinaliyev was noticeably hard to touch and landed shots on the Irishman while almost struggling to contain his own energy with sudden spinning attacks. However, he was sucked back into the world of the BJJ ace in the second round. As the fence cut off Shinaliyev’s route, Fogarty pulled for a Triangle Choke and secured his foe in deep waters to force a submission and propel himself to the finals. Shinaliyev’s enthusiasm and unassuming skill captured the hearts of all during the 2016 IMMAF European Open and the quiet Kazakh remains as one of the event’s most memorable faces. Click HERE for more information on the 2016 IMMAF European Open, including results and list of medal winners. By IMMAF.org lead writer and website manager, Jorden Curran  

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