Faisal Azimi is declared the winner of the first semi-final round of the four-man eliminator tournament against Ryan O’Driscoll Picture: Kalina Anderson
Unforgiven 3 Sends Hometown Fighter Faisal Azimi on the Trip of a Lifetime
By I Love Limerick correspondent Kalina Anderson
Eiremuaysiam, Limerick’s first Muay Thai boxing gym, hosted Unforgiven 3, its third fight show, at the Strand Hotel over the bank holiday weekend. The gym put on a very successful show, with many of its own fighters winning big, including Faisal Azimi seizing a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Unforgiven 3’s card started with amateur fights. 15-year-old Laura Quinn opened the show for EMS at 4:30 p.m., stepping into the ring for her second fight after just six months of training and earning a draw for her efforts. Oisin Carey, EMS’s second-youngest fighter at 16, put on a surprising performance and brought in the first win of the night to a local crowd. Lukasz Markowski had his debut fight and put on a stellar performance, winning by knockout in the first round. EMS’s other amateur fighters had good performances as well, although they weren’t all reflected in the judges’ decisions.
EMS had three C class fighters on, two of which were making their professional debut. Tracey Duggan was up first and she had a successful fight, winning one minute and fifty-six seconds into round three by referee stoppage as opponent Andreea Zamfir of 309 Phuang Malai Dublin’s shoulder dislocated multiple times during the fight.
Eamon Corcoran entered the ring next, with three-time Muay Thai champion Aaron Browne in his corner. The pair met while training at PK Saenchai Muay Thai Gym while training in Thailand this summer. Corcoran put on a lively performance, committing to the execution of his strikes against Ryan Simcox of Wolfhound Muay Thai. However, forty-six seconds into round number five, the ref called a stop to the fight after Corcoran took a heavy knee. While he was disappointed at first, Corcoran later said he felt confident because he left it all, including blood, in the ring. He was the only one of EMS’s fighters to go to the hospital that night, needing eight stitches for a gash on his shin sustained during the second round.
John Gregorio finished up the C class fights with an uncharacteristic yet outstanding performance. The fight went the distance with five rounds of technical performances by both fighters. Infamous for his deadly leg kicks, Gregorio dominated in the clinch against his opponent, Carl Sweeny of Waterford Muay Thai, and was declared the winner by judges’ majority decision. This victory brings Gregorio’s professional record to 4-0, and he feels it is the right time to pursue a dream of his, training in Thailand. He has set up a GoFundMe and plans to travel to train at Petchyindee Boxing Academy on the 27th of the month.
Faisal Azimi was EMS’s representative in the four-man eliminator tournament, featuring the best 60kg fighters in Ireland. The other three fighters were Ryan O’Driscoll fighting out of OCMT Cork, Sam O’Connor fighting out of Origins Muay Thai, and Fares Faroo fighting out of 309 Phuang Malai Dublin. Coach Rob NG’s eight-month-old daughter, Ava, chose the fights by selecting pink mice with numbers on them out of a hat. She chose numbers one and three, making the first semi-final fight between Azimi and O’Driscoll, a matchup last seen in February at Rumble at the Rockies. That fight saw Azimi on the losing end, but he turned the tables on Sunday night, winning by unanimous decision. The next semi-final match between O’Connor and Faroo was on next. After three hard rounds, O’Connor emerged victorious. The finals of the four-man eliminator tournament were initially scheduled after the main event ISKA Championship fight. However, due to injuries on both sides, neither O’Connor or Faroo were able to fight in the final. Azimi was crowned the winner of the four-man tournament, earning not only a beautiful trophy but the grand prize of an all-expenses-paid, month-long trip to Thailand to train at Sor Ruen Rom Muay Thai Gym. At just 18, Azimi is planning on scheduling his trip around the college holidays, hoping to meet up with teammate Gregorio while abroad.
After the photos were taken and congratulations delivered, a hush fell over the room as the ring was readied for the fight of the night, however, the energy in the room was electric. Fighting out of the blue corner was challenger Alex Akimov with 309 Phuang Malai Dublin. The cheers became deafening as the pride of EMS and reigning ISKA Irish Middleweight champion Jamie Morrissey was introduced. The following fight was quick and brutal. Two minutes and twenty-three seconds into round two, by referee stoppage due to TKO, Akimov was declared the new ISKA Irish Middleweight champion.
“The love you feel when you get leathered is realer than the wins” Morrissey commented after the fight, already preparing to get back to training with the people he considers family.
“They’ll take that and they’ll grow” remarked Rob NG when asked about the night’s upsets. He is deeply proud of the success of his show and the performances his team put on. Unforgiven 3 is not the last you’ll hear of Eiremuaysiam as the team is making moves on both a local and global scale.
To learn more about Eiremuaysiam, visit their Facebook and Instagram pages.
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To donate to John Gregorio’s GoFundMe and hear more about his story, click here.
To hear more about Faisal Azimi’s story, click here.