Day 1 of the 2019 IMMAF-WMMAA Asian Open Championships played out on May 2 in Bangkok, Thailand, and witnessed major upsets in the men’s featherweight and middleweight divisions where both top seeds and gold medal favorites were eliminated.
With 25 bouts taking place on Day 1 of the championships, Kazakhstan emerged as the dominant nation with an 11-1 run of results. Among the team’s triumphs, men’s featherweight Elaman Shalkimbekov secured a unanimous decision win (pictured above) over top Bahrain standout and World Championships bronze medalist, Abdulmanap Magomedov, who entered as the top seed of the 145lb bracket and the reigning Asian Open champion.
While Magomedov secured and maintained a takedown for the majority of the second round, his efforts were sandwiched between dominant striking displays at the hands of Shalkimbekov complimented by takedown defense in the first and third stanzas.
After his middleweight gold medal triumph last month at the Oceania Open, France’s Axel Sola, the two-time world silver medalist and 2018 European Open Champion at welterweight, was on the wrong end of the second major surprise of Day 1. Having been out-wrestled by Team Bahrain’s Ramazan Gitinov across rounds 1 and 2, Sola’s Hail Mary reversal from guard and subsequent barrage of strikes was not enough to make up the scorecard deficit as the final round closed out with Gitinov taking the unanimous judges’s decision.
Reigning junior bantamweight world champion, the UK’s Muhammad Mokaev, was unfortunately pulled from competing in the men’s flyweight division due to concerns within IMMAF-WMMAA management relating to potential effects of extreme weight cutting. Kazakh heavyweight Alexandr Dya was also withdrawn due to a failed medical examination.
For full Day 1 results click HERE
By IMMAF.org lead writer: Jorden Curran