As a ravenous consumer of anything combat sports related, I am always on the lookout for the next big thing; be it an up and coming fighter with an interesting story, or a new promotion with an interesting angle. Karate Combat is bringing just that to New York City.
The first mainstream, professional full-contact karate league will host its next event, Karate Combat: One World, at the observation deck of the One World Trade Center, next Thursday, September 27th. It’s the first ever sporting event held atop the building and will set a world record for the highest sports event from ground level.
With karate slated to make its Olympic debut in Tokyo in 2020, it seems like just the right time to create a stage for the best karatekas in the world to show their stuff.
I got a chance to speak with Adham Sabry, who fights on the main card Thursday night against Andras Virag. Check out his last fight below and enjoy our conversation below.
I was just watching your last fight, with Abdou lahad, with your commentary on youtube. You’re a fun fighter to watch.
Thank you. It was a good fight. Yeah that was my first fight with Karate Combat. It was a really nice experience. I really enjoyed it.
Tell me a little bit about your martial arts background.
I used to be on the National Team in Egypt. I started Karate when I was five years old. I used to go to a lot of international tournaments with the team. I won first place in the Premier League in 2015.
Adham, how old are you?
I am 25.
How did you get involved with Karate Combat?
I came to the US two years ago. I started competing here also. And they chose me to represent the USA in some competitions, (2016 KaratePRO), and I won, and people in the USA were very happy with me. So when Karate Combat started they chose me to fight for them.
What do you know about your opponent, Andras Virag?
I know that he’s strong; that he has good stand up. But I know, also, that he’s not, like, a smart fighter. He doesn’t have good techniq8ue. So, I will be able to use that to knock him out.
Is there any portion of his skillset that you feel you can exploit?
He’s got some nice kicks, and good defense. But he’s not smart enough to make a good fight with me. I think I will be able to use the fact that he is relying on his stamina, and just give him the right one to just knock him out.
I was watching Virag’s last fight, and he throws a lot of leg kicks. More so than I have seen in many Karate Combat fights. Why do you think that is?
Just watch my next fight and you’ll see some leg kicks. (laughing).
The thing is that a lot of people are switching from sport karate to full contact karate. So, this switch takes time. I think this New York event will be so much more interesting than any other event. And I think this is because people have had the time to switch from sport karate to full contact karate.
You have the best people in the world doing sport karate, and now the contact in the sport will be interesting to watch.
So, you’re saying that the sport is evolving and only getting more interesting.
Tell me about your upbringing in martial arts. How did you get your start, or your first exposure to martial arts?
Its my Father. Because in Egypt you have to learn how to defend yourself. I started when I was six years old. And he kept pushing me. He didn’t want me to just do karate, he wanted me to be the best one doing karate. He helped me a lot. When I was ten years old, I was the best one doing karate in Egypt. And Egypt is one of the strongest teams in the world.
I was looking on your facebook and I saw a picture of you with Chris Weidman and Al Iaquinta. Do you train with them regularly?
I started training with them in Chris Weidman’s gym. They are very nice people; very humble people. And they are very strong fighters. And they were very surprised with my skills. They really enjoyed training with a karateka. They don’t have too many people there with a background in karate, so sometimes when they fight with someone with karate background its good to have someone with good kicks and good timing. It worked out.
Do you work at all on grappling?
We do wrestling, but I don’t do any jiu-jitsu. Because you know in Karate Combat, you can sweep your opponent, but you only have five seconds to knock him out.
I think that makes for a very exciting fight to watch. It’s how I play the UFC video game. Its more exciting and more action is happening. I think Karate Combat will be the most interesting full contact sport.
What are your goals in this sport, or further? Are you planning a move to mixed martial arts?
Right now, I’m training in many different martial arts, karate, tae kwon do, thai boxing, boxing, because now I have to switch to full contact. My goal is to be the Karate Combat World Champion.
Do you have any message for your opponent?
Of-course I have a message for my opponent. (Laughing)
I have respect for him, but once we get in to the fight, I will knock him out.
Well, thank you for your time. I hope training is going well and that you are healthy. I wish you best of luck on your fight next Thursday.
Karate Combat: One World will stream live at Karate Combat’s site karate.com, on its Android and iOS apps and new Roku channel, along with partners UFC Fight Pass, CBS Sports Live, DailyMotion, Dr. Oz’s CombatGO, FITE, YouTube, Pluto TV, Eleven Sports, Klowd TV, The Fight Network, and more. Three million people viewed Karate Combat’s Miami and Athens events.
You can learn more about Karate Combat at Karate.com.