Will Team Ukraine match its Medalling Potential at the European Open?

Pictured: 2015 IMMAF World Bronze medallist Yurii Bosyi

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Team Ukraine is perhaps the team to have faced the greatest odds to compete in IMMAF competitions.

Despite living through a war that saw the annexation of Crimea, engendering the loss of a significant portion of its membership; and despite the federation’s heads being conscripted to national service during the period, the Ukrainian federation still managed to implement a national calendar of amateur contender events and send a team to the IMMAF World Championships in 2014 and 2015.

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Bohdan Holovatyi earns Silver in IMMAF finals clash against Jose Torres in 2014

As an inaugural international event, the 2014 World Championships in Las Vegas was itself plagued by the lack of any established, universal rule set for Amateur MMA – which has since been addressed by the global adoption of IMMAF amateur rules. In 2014, each nation came with its own traditions and varied definitions of Amateur.  The talented Ukrainian team was perhaps one that suffered most due to its not meeting stringent Nevada State Athletic Commission Amateur criteria, despite having been cleared by the IMMAF. This resulted in a significant portion of the team arriving in Las Vegas, at some personal sacrifice, to be excluded from the tournament.

Despite this, 18 year old Bohdan Holovatyi scored the 2014 Silver Men’s Bantamweight medal in a finals match against ultimate 2x gold medallist, Jose Torres of USA.

In 2015, Team Ukraine entered the World Championships represented by Yurii Bosyi  (Men’s Featherweight), Stepan Danyshchuk (Men’s Lightweight) and Mykola Hrynchuk (Men’s Welterweight). Bosyi scored a Bronze medal, losing only to Sweden’s Joel Moya on day 4.

With the Ukrainian team making its IMMAF European debut this week with a 7 man team, what can we say of Ukraine’s MMA athletes? We can say that its common for them to clock-up many, many matches between Sambo, free-fighting, Amateur MMA and Sambo real-fight rules. It is not uncommon for an 18 or 20 year old to already be a very experienced competitor, making Ukrainian athletes tough, well-skilled prospects.

If Team Ukraine can demonstrate the talent that its nation has to offer, it will be a strong contender to earn the accolades at the 2016 European Open that it surely deserves.

See below for the full list of registered athletes for Team Ukraine under the All Ukrainian Federation of Free-fight, Single Combat and Mixed Martial Arts:

Roman Kolotvin  – Men’s Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs)
Levan Mirtskhulava – Men’s Featherweight 65.8 kg (145 lbs)
Vitalii Shostak – Men’s Featherweight 65.8 kg (145 lbs)
Vladislav Kurash – Men’s Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs)
Alexander Shein – Men’s Welterweight 77.1 kg (170 lbs)
Oleh Hliantsev – Men’s Welterweight 77.1 kg (170 lbs)
Evhen Masnui – Men’s Middleweight 83.9 kg (185 lbs)

For more about the IMMAF European Open Championships go to: http://www.immaf.org/championships/2016-immaf-european-open-championships/