The 2020 IMMAF events calendar kicks off the new year with the Oceania Open Championships taking place from 6 – 8 March at Australia’s Gold Coast Recreation Centre on Palm Beach.
In previous years the event has served up a collision for Australia and New Zealand’s national teams to battle for superiority of the continental Open. In 2020, the opportunity for a major impact presents itself with world leading contenders from Bahrain and UK added to the fold, set to challenge for the Oceania Open titles.
Two-time junior bantamweight World champion and European Open gold medalist, the undefeated Muhammad Mokaev (21-0) of the English national team begins the most compelling new chapter of his IMMAF tenure. The world’s no.1 ranked junior athlete (under 21’s) makes his debut in the senior (18+) division and will be looking to prove his highly touted and world renown abilities. Already the world’s most prominent amateur prospect, the 19-year-old may yet end 2020 as the GOAT of amateur MMA.
Following his successful return to action at the 2019 IMMAF World Championships, the also undefeated Murtaza Talha Ali (11-0) of Bahrain continues to regain momentum in the senior light-heavyweight division. The 2017 World Champion and 2018 European Open gold medalist missed a year of action with injury from the latter half of 2018 until his return at the 2019 World Championships last November. Defying any notion that he had been surpassed by those who emerged during his absence, “The Juggernaut” bulldozed his way to the world semi-finals where he would clinch a split-decision triumph over defending 2018 world champion, Russia’s Magomed Shakhrudinov, before going on to claim the gold medal and regain the world title.
Also representing Bahrain at the Oceania Open will be welterweight world champion, Ramazan Gitinov (11-2). Amassing a 10-fight win streak in 2019 alone, Gitinov emerged as one of the most dominant athletes of the year, first shutting out two-time world silver medalist Axel Sola at the Asian Open in Bangkok before going on to a further 9 consecutive triumphs. The senior welterweight leader concluded 2019 as the Asian Open champion, European Open champion and World Champion.
With even more international standouts expected to join the fold, athlete registration for the 2020 Oceania Open closes on Jan. 24.
By IMMAF.org lead writer: Jorden Curran