Combat sports such as boxing and kickboxing are becoming more prominent in Brunei, especially with the increase of fighting gyms. This has allowed more people to be exposed to martial arts, in terms of introductory lessons up until proper training. However the opportunity to fight in a proper tournament has been lacking in the Sultanate with fighters having to go overseas to compete in fighting tournaments across the region.
To address this issue, a Brunei based sports promotion company that specialise in combat sports events called Strike Promotions held the first ever amateur K-1 kickboxing and boxing tournament in the country. The objective of the tournament was to act as a platform for local youths to compete regionally and to promote Brunei as a potential active sports tourism.
“Boxing is good for the health – those who practice it can have a good stamina and discipline – with the new local gyms coming up, together we can improve the boxing scene in Brunei,” said Ruddy Hairywan who is a retired local boxer. Ruddy has won the bronze medal in the Light-Middle Weight Boxing category of the 2001 SEA Games, and now trains up and coming local boxers in the country.
There were about 87 fighters registered for the competition with 90 percent being local competitors from gyms in Brunei.
“Brunei boxing was quite big between the 1980s to 1990s but now when we compare to other countries such as Malaysia and Philippines – we are quite far behind in terms of combat sports. We hope that we are able to revitalise the boxing scene in Brunei slowly by producing this tournament” said Younis Ahmad, co-founder of the Strike Promotions.
“It was a good experience to bring all the training to the competition so it was worth it, and I did not expect it to be a big event and it was my first experience in a boxing match – to my surprise I won my first match even though the competitor was tough and very well trained,” said Md Zahiruddin Dhiyauddin Putra bin Sulaiman, who won the first match of the tournament.
The event was held at the airport mall on 10th November 2018 but was unfortunately cut short due to an incident that happened on the first day of the tournament. For those who bought tickets to the main event, you can get your refund by contacting [email protected].