Irish fighter Eoghan Chelmiah has become the first athlete from his country to win a Karate Combat title.
Chelmiah claimed the bantamweight belt with a victory over Ilies Mardhi.
With the fight televised nationally across the USA on the CBS Sports Network and across Europe and Asia by the Eurosport network, millions of fight fans worldwide watched Chelmiah take possession of the belt.
It was a dramatic finish: Karate Combat championship fights are set for five rounds, but the ringside judges are able to order an extra round to be fought where scoring has been close.
“Definitely feels good and it’s here to stay. Honestly, I don’t see myself being beaten anytime soon,” Chelmiah said. “At the same time, you work extremely hard to get here and that’s not the way you want to win. But I have no doubt we will run this back. I want to fight him again, set the record straight. I want to finish him or beat him in a way that leaves no arguments by anyone.”
He will now return to his studies and await news of his first title defense, which may come before the end of 2021.
“This guy was a little more frustrating than the previous ones. It was difficult tracking him down to land those landing bigger shots. But I guess after opponents have seen you demolishing guys, they are going to want to run. That’s something I’m going to have to adapt to,” said the new champion. “I didn’t feel under too much pressure in there. I didn’t feel any sting or power on his punches or kicks. One or two might have got through, but nothing I can’t handle. I felt I was the one pushing this fight, I feel like he was just reacting.”