AUSTRALIA SHINES AS HOST NATION OF INTERNATIONAL MMA CHAMPIONSHIPS ON GOLD COAST
“The 2020 Oceania is now in the books as the biggest amateur mixed martial arts event in Australian history and Team Australia’s most successful IMMAF Tournament to date,” International Mixed Martial Arts Federation Australia President Richie Cranny said.
“With 14 medals, new coaches and some exciting new talent, Team Australia is stronger than ever. We will certainly be the ones to watch at the world comp later this year.”
As the IMMAF world governing body continues to drive the sport of Amateur MMA towards Olympic recognition, the 2020 Oceania Open was the most significant installment of the event to date.
The Aussie team came in determined to retain bragging rights on home soil and the sizeable squad did just that, taking first place in the medal table and earning a total of 14 medals: five gold, four silver and five bronze.
Sydney’s Olivia Ukmar led the way for Team Australia as the country’s most decorated squad member, entering as a silver medalist of the 2019 World Championships. The 28-year-old triumphed in the hotly contested women’s strawweight tournament, besting former world champion Daria Samchik of Ukraine via submission in the semi-finals before taking on Sweden’s Nina Back, a former World and European silver medalist who Ukmar would defeat by way of a unanimous judge’s decision.
International participation was a considerable factor in the level of prestige and significance attached to this year’s Oceania Open and major players from the IMMAF world stage arrived in style. Kiwi super-athlete Michelle Montague continued her unshakable dominance over the women’s lightweight ranks and now turns her attention to qualifying for the New Zealand wrestling team bound for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. In addition, high profile UK prodigy Muhammad Mokaev took home gold in the men’s bantamweight division with a pair of stellar performances that saw the two-time junior world champion lengthen his record to an incredible 23-0 at just 19 years of age.
At age 20 Colby Thicknesse (pictured above) was Australia’s youngest gold medalist, he captured the men’s featherweight Oceania title with a TKO stoppage of Bahrain’s Ali Yaqoob before edging fellow Australian Abdul Mahdawi in the semi-finals. Thicknesse scored a unanimous decision victory in the final against UK prospect Dylan Thompson. Meanwhile, 30-year-old Jesse Wenzlick stood out as the team’s oldest title winner, stopping New Zealand’s Rosemarie McAuslin with an impressive third round TKO to secure the women’s bantamweight crown.
Team Australia’s 2020 Oceania gold medal winners also included 25-year-old Troy Fumo (men’s strawweight pictured beow) and 28-year-old Jordan Thomas (men’s lightweight also pictured below).