It has been revealed that Swedish middleweight Rostem Akman will make his anticipated professional MMA debut at Superior Challenge 15 on April 1 in Stockholm.
Last year, the 2016 IMMAF World bronze medalist was one of three amateur veterans who made history as the first to earn back-to-back gold medals at the IMMAF European Open Championships, following triumph in 2015. After a third round TKO victory over fellow finalist Valeri Atanasov, his fourth win of the week long tournament, Akman left his gloves in the cage and later confirmed the decision to turn pro. He also made history in becoming the first amateur mixed martial artist to be nominated in the Swedish MMA Awards.
At Superior Challenge 15 the former Swedish national champion is scheduled to face Norwegian Gard Sagen, a silver medalist of the IMMAF World Championships in 2014. Akman revealed to IMMAF.org that the contest will be a 79kg (174lbs) catchweight bout with an aim to go on and become an established welterweight contender.
While also representing his Kurdish roots with great pride, the Swedish prospect accumulated an impressive amateur record of 27-3 and went 11-2 on the IMMAF international platform, competing at the World Championships and European Open in both 2015 and 2016. Akman’s inspiring story as a competitor began when he bounced back from an injury that saw him put on weight up to 230lbs, in addition to a devastating loss in the opening round of the 2015 World Championships. Nevertheless, he remained active and developed a near unstoppable physical presence, most notably conquering the European Open with a showcase of clubbing strikes, high takedown success and heavy, smothering control.
With his distinctive appearance, friendly personality and overwhelming strength in the cage, Akman established himself as one the great amateur veterans of the past two years and his legacy in the middleweight ranks will live on through future tournaments.
The 2017 IMMAF European Open takes place in Sofia, Bulgaria, from March 29 to April 2 and for the first time there is guaranteed to be a new 185lb champion and successor to Akman’s reign.
By IMMAF.org lead writer and website manager, Jorden Curran