RIYADH: A Moroccan kickboxer knocked down his opponent and history was created at the first-ever World Champion Kickboxing Challenge held in the Saudi capital Friday night.
Sufian Al Zuraidi from Morocco defeated Nadim Promovitch of Ukraine to win the cash prize and gifts at the prestigious historic kickboxing tournament here.
A capacity crowd at the Central Hall of the Riyadh-based King Saud University (KSU) watched the five-hour long event organized by Fighting Fit company, and promoted and supported by the General Entertainment Authority (GEA) and the Disabled Children Association (DCA), an NGO which works to rehabilitate and integrate the disabled children into the mainstream of Saudi society.
“I am really happy to win the Riyadh kickboxing challenge. I have been competing for the last few years…but I really feel like I have got so much more to learn.
“It was a bit of fun also fighting in Saudi Arabia, a country which I like most,” said Sufiyan.
Sufiyan, who is in his 30s, has undergone rigorous training for this big event. He works hard especially on his own. He said that when he is home, he runs and does his workouts to stay fit. He credits his success in Riyadh and elsewhere earlier to his “work ethic and support of his family and friends.” Sufiyan won the Riyadh challenge, while Osma Al-Samari and Salman Bin Huthlain were declared platinum fighters.
Saud Al-Sheikh, general manager of Fighting Fit, said, “I am hopeful of the new developments in the Kingdom…such events would bring new entertainment options to the people in the country.”
“We will be meeting the GEA after the event and discuss the agenda; and if everything goes well, we are planning to have kickboxing twice a year,” said Al-Sheikh.
He further said: “We are working to make it a complete entertainment package with stalls and food areas apart from the main championship. Also, we want the families—Saudis and expatriates alike–to come and enjoy the tournament.”
The Friday night event as scheduled, kicked off at 7 p.m. with host Ibrahim Al-Muaidi introducing the “karate kids” displaying their skills and techniques.
It was followed by different sections of kickboxing, first for kids followed by adults. Food trucks and stalls lined the entrance gate for the crowds to enjoy. Admission was free for disabled children and adults. Special arrangements were made for them. Children representing local teams showed some extraordinary moves in the beginning of the event to the delight of the audience.
Martial arts fans enjoyed highlight reel fight techniques in the much talked about championship challenge. Apart from the championships, Saudi Thai boxing champion Saleh Al Zubi showed his moves along with Jeet Kune Do champion Abdul Malek Murtadi.
Also, sumo competitions for kids and interactive sessions with the spectators by host Ibrahim highlighted the event that was a great success.
Gift vouchers were also distributed among the audience, who participated in side shows. The event concluded around 11 p.m. Friday night with the final match of kickboxing between two world champions, which was followed by prize distribution. The GEA in cooperation with private sector is planning to stage several similar events in future.

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