Reigning IMMAF World and Africa Open champion Gabriella Ringblom (above) makes her long awaited return to competition next month at the 2017 IMMAF Asian Open Championships in Singapore. The 30-year-old Swedish amateur standout and former pound-for-pound no.1 has been out of action with injury setbacks since last competing at the 2016 European Open final last November in Prague.
In her absence the world champion Swede has slipped to the no.3 position in IMMAF’s pound-for-pound world rankings however, Ringblom remains the world’s top ranked competitor at 125lbs, just ahead of top rival and European Open champion Alexandra Kovacs.
A gold medal triumph in Singapore would be more than enough for Ringblom to again clinch the pound-for-pound crown currently held by Sweden’s Cornelia Holm. Holm, the 2016 IMMAF bantamweight World champion, revealed her decision to pursue a professional career after securing a second consecutive European Open gold medal at the 2017 championships in Sofia earlier this year.
However, Ringblom will not be without competition bidding for amateur MMA’s highest rank. Also in close contention is heavyweight World champion Irman Smajic who returns to the -265lb bracket after also entering the 2017 European Open where he secured gold as a +265lb super-heavyweight.
With Ringblom set to enter the Asian Open tournament as the top flyweight seed, the number 2 seed position goes to fellow Swede and number 4 ranked flyweight Anja Saxmark, herself a 2015 World and European Open silver medalist and 2017 European Open bronze medalist.
The 2017 IMMAF Asian Open Championships in Singapore will be held in partnership with the UFC, the world’s premier mixed martial arts (MMA) organisation. The Championships form part of UFC Fight Night Singapore’s week long fan activities leading up to its highly anticipated live event at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Saturday June 17 2017.
The IMMAF Asian Open Championships will take place from June 12 -16 at Marina Bay Sands hotel as IMMAF’s first championship in Asia supported by the UFC’s on-going commitment to developing MMA in the region.
For live team developments and results visit MyNextMatch.com.
By IMMAF.org lead writer, Jorden Curran