KOK 54 Report: Dzavadovs, Aukstikalnis Victorious; Matei Upset Winner of Tournament
King of Kings began their 2018 season with an event in Riga, Latvia. Local hero Zaurs Dzavadovs prevailed in the main event, and fellow Latvian Raimonds Aukstikalnis won a narrow decision over Mike Sprangh to win the middleweight tournament final. Underdog Vitalie Matei of Moldova was the surpise winner of the 71kg tournament. Matei beat two favored opponents to put himself in line for a title shot.
Zaurs Dzavadovs UD3 Moucine Chafi (MOR)(77kg) (Non-title bout)
The hard hitting Dzavadov punched his way to a three round decision win. Chafi is tall for the weight class, and tried to keep Dzavadovs at a distance with kicks and move in with knees. Dzavadovs scored an eight count in the first round when he timed a left hook that connected while Chafi moved to his right along the ropes. Dzavadovs was quicker and seemed to see everything coming from Chafi. In the third, Dzavadov’s punches again clearly won him the round. The 20-year-old Chafi is now 18-5-2, while Dzavadovs is 31-10-1(17). Dzavadov’s KOK title was not on the line.
Vitalie Matei (MOL) UD3 Kamil Pawlak (POL) 71kg Tournament Final
Matei’s activity carried him to a points win over the taller southpaw. Pawlak used his front and left round kicks to keep distance, and Matei came forward with combinations. After a close first round, Matei was the busier fighter to earn the victory. Matei’s record is an unspectacular 16-11(7) after his two wins, but he is in contention for a title shot possibly in his home country of Moldova. Pawlak’s record is now 8-3(3).
Raimonds Aukstikalnis (LAT) SD4 Mike Sprangh (Netherlands) 85kg KOK GP Final
In an entertaining fight, Aukstikalnis beat Sprangh by the narrowest of margins to win the KOK GP and the middleweight trophy. Sprangh, who fights out of Mike’s Gym in Amsterdam, is a patient technician with a good defense who likes to block and counter. Aukstikalnis was busier, but a lot of his shots were blocked and Sprangh’s punches and kicks seemed to do more damage. There wasn’t a lot to separate them after three rounds, and an extra round was called. Aukstikalnis was again busier but Sprangh landed the more powerful blows. The judges awarded Aukstikalnis the split decision. Aukstikalnis improves to 15-2(2). Sprangh is now 18-5(3).
“Osu. I have no words. I think I have to win on knockout to win this. Now I lost. Yeah, I bitter accept it.” Sprangh said to the crowd after the fight.
Juris Orlovs (LAT) MD3 Beni Osmanowski (SWI)83kg
The shorter Osmanowski applied pressure to Orlovs, who took over the fight in the second round. Orlovs scored an eight count and also knocked down Osmanowski with jumping knees. Orlovs continued jumping knee attacks in the third, and seemed to be a clear winner. However, one judge scored the fight a draw but was overruled by two votes for Orlovs. The 21 year old Orlovs improved to 15-2 with the win. Veteran Osmanowski is now 50-9-2(39).
Vitalie Matei UD3 Youssef Chaikh (Netherlands) 71kg Tournament Semifinal
Chaikh, a 22 year old fighter out of Mike’s Gym, returned from a 2 year layoff to compete in the tournament according to the commentator. That’s a tough challenge but on paper he was favored over Matei, who came into the fight with 11 losses in 25 fights. Chaikh started fast in rounds 1 and 2, but Matei outscored him in the later parts of the first and second rounds. Matei was the fresher fighter in the third and connected with some solid punches. Chaikh, who is only 22 years old, is now 39-6-1(18).
Kamil Pawlak (POL) KO2 Jaceslavs Tevins (LAT) 71kg Tournament Semifinal
Polish southpaw Pawlak earned a place in the tournament final with a second round knockout of Tevins in the first semifinal. Pawlak’s Muay Thai background shows in the way the tall fighter uses front and round kicks to keep distance. Tevinc looked to score with right hands against the Pole, but Pawlak seemed to edge the first with his kicks and some clean punches. In the second after a separation, Pawlak landed a couple of left hands to the head and a body kick as Tevins was on the way down. Tevins took the count on his knees and was noticeably spitting blood afterwards in his corner.
KOK Heros (Partial Results)
Kristans Bulmeistars UD3 Soufian Abdakhalek (73kg)
Bulmeistars’ right hand was the difference in a close fight. Abdakhalek is a Mike’s Gym fighter and only 18 years of age. Bulmeistars landed good right hands in a close first round, and also scored effectively with the shot in the second. Abdakhalek focused his attack on the body early in the third round. Bulmeisters wore down late in the fight but built up enough of a lead to get the decision. Bulmeistars is now 8-3. Abdekhalek lost for the second time in 12 fights.
Reinis Prozovs (LAT) KO2 Toni Rubio (SPA)
Prozovs hurt Rubio’s nose in the first round and dominated their 90kg match up. The fight was stopped after an eight count after Prozovs landed a head kick. Rubio was on the defensive throughout the bout against a younger, bigger, and more powerful opponent. Prozovs is 17-3-1 with the win.
Janis Freimanis survived a first round knockdown from a spinning backfist to stop his Russian opponent in the second round with a one-two combination.
KOKs next show takes place on March 17 in Vilnius, Lithuania.