The hard knock life


Hard kicking action event makes a comeback this weekend

Twenty-two fighters from different countries slug it out for the third edition of Hard Knox Fight Night. Veteran and emerging warriors will treat fans to an action-packed evening of muay Thai, kickboxing, MMA and boxing.

Cobra Fitness owner Mat Dryden has seen Hard Knox Fight Night grow from a fledgling event to one of the most anticipated in the capital.

“It’s definitely a learning process,” he says, “But what I find interesting is that you don’t need to bring in superstars from around the world. Putting on local fighters always draw a big crowd as long as it’s an entertaining fight with great atmosphere.”

“And it’s not just the men but even their wives love coming to the fight and they ask me ‘when is the next one?’” laughs Mat.

Some of the competitors worth looking at in this year’s installment are Adrian “The Beast” Garlonta, Alex “Romanian Sensation” Chitoran and Filipino pride Vaughn Donayre.

The main fight will pin a veteran against a youth as ex-Lumpini champion “Master” Long Ubon from Thailand takes on young Moroccan Imad Assli.

Mat acknowledges the rising popularity of fighting sports, particularly muay Thai, in the UAE. But taking it to the next level still needs a lot of kicking and punching from gyms and enthusiasts.

“There aren’t enough promotions in the country,” explains Mat. “We have a lot of good fighters in the UAE, both amateurs and professionals, and they need something to train for. Unfortunately there’s not much at the moment – but we’re working on it.”

Hard Knox Fight Night III is on 11th December at Park Rotana, Khalifa Park. Doors open at 7pm. Tickets available at Cobra Fitness, Al Bandar (02 449 6524) and 86 Cycles, 16th Street, Mussafah (02 551 1293).

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