Fighters travelled from Ukraine, Great Britain, Russia, Australia and across Italy to take part in this event, each fighter guaranteed 3 fights in their weight category for First Class (3 groups of 4 fighters), plus two massive ProFights which saw Battle Heritage of Great Britain take on Bear Paw (Club Bern) of Russia. 2016 has seen some gargantuan fights so there was a lot to live up to, but let me tell you, the fighters took it to the next level.
The lightweight category, composed of fighters from 4 different nations, was intense. The speed of these fighters was jaw-dropping and the technique involved in both swordsmanship and clinching was inspiring – but with such speed comes exhaustion, and those 3 fights took a toll on the fighters. Despite nursing an injury to his finger, Grygoriy Chaploutskiy from Ukraine came out victorious thanks to his phenomenal resilience.
Russia, Ukraine and Italy made up the heavyweight category, and right from the start these powerhouses kept the audience on the edge of their seats with an incredible show of strength. These fights, out of all categories, were the closest on points and the fights were tense from start to finish, but it was Russia’s Sergei Kuritsyn who finished in first place to take the glory in the heavyweight category.
Before heading to the main event, the audience were treated to a Hema demonstration which showed how diverse Urbino can be in sword sports, and in this time journalists, photographers and a TV channel arrived – even the mayor of Urbino came to see the action!
It now came down to it: the main events. The UK’s Lukas Kowal against Russia’s Aleksandr Nikitin – pure speed against unstoppable force. Nikitin knew that if Kowal had enough space, he would outfence the Russian, as he has done to so many opponents in the past. Therefore, the Russian took advantage of the extra kilos and brought the clinch to Kowal to close him down. The strategy worked, crowning Nikitin the winner of the battle on points.
The final battle of the day saw the number 1 WMFC ProFighter in the world right now, Vitaly Gryzlov, take on the UK’s Pawel Kurzak, a fighter who has won more gold this year than can be found on statues in Turkmenistan. The fight was nail-biting. The fitness of these two fighters is off the scale, and made the 3 rounds of 3 minutes look easy – but the only thing more impressive than this was their technique, each strike pounding down like a Hell Hammer, connecting with incredible precision. The fight, which was the closest of the entire tournament, was won by Vitaly Gryzlov, who somehow found the energy to perform a victory breakdance afterwards!
But the story doesn’t end here. One thing that you can be sure about with Italians, is that they will always be Made In Italy – a huge dinner was planned for us at the four star hotel where we were staying (the organisers even got us rooms half price!). We ate, we gave speeches, we shared a great evening together, which ended in a delightful surprise: a (and I believe the first ever) WMFC cake! A delicious end to a perfect day.
HMBIA News thanks Gavin Stewart for such a great interwiew.