Grapple master shuts down Van den Bos

5 Jan 2010

As a heavyweight Muaythai specialists Sudanese-born Faisal Zakaria had only one become the WBC Muaythai champion and wear the famous green belt.

He had been waiting for his "shot" at the title for more than a decade and when the opportunity came to challenge the WBC International champion Ricardo Van den Bos he had a fight plan that proved to be a winner.

His plan that was executed superbly was to shut down the big hitting Van den Bos with unrelenting grappling. He stuck to the pre-fight strategy even through the Dutchman, who was 10 years younger, produced such a powerful first round that it seemed that any grapple plan would come unstuck by rapid kicks and fast hands. But once Zakaria locked on to the champion at the beginning of the second rounds the contest swung the way of the challenger. Two of the three judges gave rounds two, three and four to Zakaria which proved to be the winning rounds for the Sundanese grapple master who resides in New Zealand.

Van den Bos won the first and last rounds, but in between he was caught in the grappler's net. While the championship was decided at close quarters there were some fancy moves that saws both fighters strike out with spectacular reverse elbows. Van den Bos wore a cut underneath his right shoulder from his opponent's elbow shot, and Zakaria had a tattoo bruise from the Dutchman's rapid elbow assault.

Van den Bos lamented that he was outfoxed on the night that counted most. "I knew what I should have done to counter his style, but I just couldn't put into action what my mind was telling me. I'm hoping that I will get another chance."

Zakaria admitted that it had taken him more than 10 years to rise to the top of Muaythai and win the elite green belt. And he says he is ready to go to the final step to become the world's undisputed heavyweight champion.

"I'm ready," he stated. "I've never been more ready."

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