In an effort to continue building new stars and highlighting its amateur ranks, Lion Fight has joined forces with the IKF (International Kickboxing Federation) in a new championship endeavor.
Beginning at Lion Fight 61 taking place this Saturday at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Lion and the IKF will co-brand amateur title bouts and these titles will only be fought for or defended at Lion Fight events. In conjunction with this development, the IKF is now the official sanctioning body for Lion Fight’s amateur bouts in North America.
“We are very excited about the future of Muay Thai in America and teaming up with the IKF for these new dual-branded titles is a unique step for us,” said Lion Fight CEO Scott Kent. “The IKF-Lion Fight Amateur title bout opportunities will have to be earned, just as they are for the pros, and this really gives budding young fighters something to shoot for.”
Two inaugural IKF-Lion Fight amateur titles will be at stake at Lion Fight 61. Topping the amateur portion of the fight card is a clash for the amateur featherweight title as current Lion Fight amateur flyweight champion Anel Dudo of Denver, Colorado, takes on Alan Smith of San Diego, California.
Dudo captured the 118-pound title at Lion Fight 57 with a victory over then-champion Quentin DeLeon. Both Dudo brothers – Anel and Alen, who are also both deaf – will compete on the Lion Fight 61 card.
In the other amateur title bout, Las Vegas’ own Avery Sage will battle San Diego’s Ashley Smallwood for the super lightweight crown. This will be Sage’s debut inside the Lion Fight ring, while Smallwood returns after making her mark at Lion Fight 51 in Los Angeles with a decision win over Jocelyn Belle.
“Anel Dudo is one of the most enticing prospects in all of combat sports, so a chance to add a second amateur title is a golden opportunity for him,” added Kent. “Ashley Smallwood has expressed a desire to turn pro very soon and the best way to leave the amateur ranks is with a well-earned championship.”