It only takes a split second in muaythai for everything to change and that’s what happened in one of the most exciting bouts of the night – almost at the end of the extended card.
Iran’s Arallous Iraj Azzifour stepped over the ropes to face Belarus champion Andrei Herasimchuk at 91+ kgs. At first glance the taller Herasimchuk seemed as if he could take the points but from the bell the Iranian athlete took the battle to him.
The crowd – as it’s been all day – was highly vocal in support of both athletes with the decibel levels rising between the rounds as they sought to cheer on their favourite. The Iranian athlete was very clever with his tactics, making a virtue out of his lesser height ; darting in and out to score while remaining out of reach.
The points flew both ways, and then when Azzifour landed the crucial blow right at the end, his supporters rose to their feet as did many neutrals in recognition of the skill from both athletes.
During the day, the shocks continued as some more favourites to take the gold were unseated by young up and coming athletes.
Ukraine’s Igor Liubchenko was expected to claim the 63.5kgs and cement his place at The World Games but Artem Avanesov from Belarus charged in to take a points victory and grab a place in the finals on the 12th.
While larger teams like Russia, Thailand and Belarus figured highly in the lists the crowd also saw athletes from Israel, Mexico, Lithuania , the Czech Republic, Kazakhstan and Canada among others.
Jacob Klauda from Czech Republic defeated Iranian Sina Kariman in the 91plus, turning the fight around after the first round to take full points in the second and third. Sweden’s Filiph Waldt was exctited to take a win against Turkey’s Erden Orhan after a tough bout.
Tomorrow the women take centre-stage in Ring A with competitive male continuing to final stages in Ring B.