Moroccan fighter wins World Champion Kickboxing Challenge in Riyadh

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Moroccan kickboxer Sufian Al Zuraidi (right in gloves) receiving cash prize after winning the kickboxing challenge in Riyadh on Friday.(AN photos)
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Saudi karate kids.
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Two kickboxers in action.
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Updated 16 April 2017

Moroccan fighter wins World Champion Kickboxing Challenge in Riyadh

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.


Arsenal, Roma open Europa League with comeback wins

Updated 22 October 2020

Arsenal, Roma open Europa League with comeback wins

Arsenal opened its fourth straight Europa League campaign with a 2-1 come-from-behind win at Rapid Vienna on Thursday in an opening round of games affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Star striker Pierre­ Emerick Aubameyang came off the bench to score the winning goal in the 74th for Arsenal, which won its group in its previous three campaigns in the second-tier European competition.
Roma also came from a goal down to win 2-1 at Young Boys, as did Granada to upset PSV Eindhoven away.
Rangers’ Kemar Roofe scored the goal of the night in a 2-0 victory at Standard Liege, dribbling his way through three opponents inside his own half and then launching a shot from the halfway line that caught the goalkeeper off guard and looped into the net.
Dutch team AZ Alkmaar overcame a slew of coronavirus cases to upset Napoli 1-0.
Tottenham, AC Milan were among teams playing later Thursday.
Arsenal went behind when goalkeeper Bernd Leno played a poor pass that fell to Rapid forward Taxiarchis Fountas, who slotted in a low shot from a tough angle in the 51st minute.
Arteta sent on Aubameyang and Héctor Bellerín in the 61st, and the substitutes helped spark the comeback.
After David Luiz headed in a free kick from Nicolas Pépé to level the score, Mohamed Elneny freed Bellerín down the right to cross for Aubameyang to complete the comeback from close range.
In the other Group B game, Molde also came from behind to win 2-1 at Dundalk.
AZ Alkmaar flew into Naples with 13 players sidelined with coronavirus infections. Napoli, meanwhile, was coming off a 4-1 win over high-scoring Atalanta 4-1 this past weekend. But the Dutch staved off the hosts’ pressure before Dani de Wit scored the winner in the 57th. Real Sociedad won 1-0 at Rijeka the other Group F game.
With Roma resting striker Edin Džeko, Bruno Peres and Marash Kumbulla led the rally with the second-half goals for the Italian side.
Jean ­Pierre Nsame had given Young Boys the lead by converting a penalty kick in the 14th.
It was the first home loss for Young Boys to an Italian opponent in European competitions after beating Udinese, Napoli and Juventus.
Also in Group A, Romania’s Cluj won 2-0 at Bulgaria’s CSKA Sofia.
In Group C, Bayer Leverkusen produced the biggest win of the early games by beating Nice 6-2. Nadiem Amiri and Lucas Alario scored early first-half goals five minutes apart for Leverkusen, while substitute Karim Bellarabi netted two and 17-year-old forward Florian Wirtz came off the bench to complete the rout.
In a game between teams from two countries whose domestic leagues have been interrupted due to high levels of coronavirus infections, Israel’s Hapoel Beer-Sheva beat Czech Republic’s Slavia Prague 3-1.
James Tavernier gave Celtic the lead from the penalty spot in the 19th before Roofe added his spectacular second goal in injury time. Benfica won 4-2 at Lech Poznan in the other Group D game.
In Group E, German forward Mario Götze put PSV ahead in first-half injury time before Jorge Molina and Darwin Machis scored for Granada in the second half. Omonoia drew with PAOK 1-1.