Sweden’s world champions aim for Africa Open success

Photo via Facebook: Sweden’s 2016 World Championship team including World Champions Irman Smajic (Heavyweight), Gabriella Ringblom (Flyweight) and Cornelia Holm (Bantamweight). The most successful team of the 2016 IMMAF World Championships is aiming to further conquer the international Amateur scene throughout the remainder of the year. Team Sweden topped the medal table at the #2016IMMAFWorlds in Las Vegas, boasting a trio of world champion Gold medal winners. The 2016 IMMAF Africa Open Championships is fast approaching, and Team Sweden has made its intentions clear, registering a team of 11 competitors including 2016 world champions Cornelia Holm and Gabriella Ringblom, plus 2015 World Silver medalist Serdar Altas and 2016 World Bronze medal winner Rostem Akman. Women’s Bantamweight competitor Cornelia Holm first broke through at the 2015 IMMAF European Open in the UK last November, picking up the Silver medal at Featherweight after a losing a competitive bout on the judges’ scorecards to Finland’s Sanna Merta. The 28-year-old went on to qualify for the 2016 World Championships via the Swedish Nationals, and remained busy against fellow IMMAF veteran Camilla Mannes, facing the Norwegian under the banner of UK based Amateur promotion, BCMMA. Holm secured a second round TKO stoppage over Mannes in England, but they would meet again. Now at Bantamweight, Both Holm and Mannes found their top form at the World Championships, contested from July 5 and culminating at the UFC Fan Expo on July 10 where the rivals faced off for second time. Holm clinched several strong takedowns during the bout and came away with a Unanimous Decision victory after a classic 135lb final that went the distance with back and forth action.

World champion Holm (Blue) shoots in for a takedown against Silver medallist Camilla Mannes (Red) during the #2016IMMAFWorlds finals
World champion Holm (Blue) shoots in for a takedown against Silver medallist Mannes (Red) during the #2016IMMAFWorlds finals
Like her team-mate, Swedish Flyweight competitor Gabriella Ringblom also took Silver at the 2015 European Open before qualifying for the 2016 World Championships. The 30-year-old had showcased well educated boxing and athletic takedown defence, but triggered her full potential in Las Vegas by rising to the top of a highly competitive 125lb division. Ringblom faced Finland’s Anette Osterberg in the final where she displayed her rounded skill set, clinching several takedowns with long periods of top control to earn the Gold via a clear cut Unanimous Decision.
2016 Flyweight world champion Ringblom (Blue) out strikes Silver medallist Osterberg (Red)
2016 Flyweight world champion Ringblom (Blue) out strikes Silver medallist Osterberg (Red)
Also among the Swedish team travelling to Johannesburg will be the Men’s 2015 World Flyweight Silver medallist Serdar Altas, plus Middleweight standout Rostem Akman. “The Kurdish Bear” was awarded Bronze at the 2016 World Championships having previously won Gold at the 2015 European Open by conquering all opposition at 185lbs. Hosted and commissioned by Mixed Martial Arts South Africa (MMASA), the IMMAF Africa Open Championships will be contested from August 29 to September 4 at the Brakpan Indoor Sports Centre, and will feature on UFC FIGHT PASS, plus international broadcast channels, post-event. For more details on the 2016 Africa Open Championshps visit MyNextMatch.com. By IMMAF.org lead writer and website manager, Jorden Curran Photos by Jorden Curran

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