Top fighters in training
Belarusian Muay Thai national team — among strongest on the planet — preparing for next European Championship. The team includes sportsmen who have previously claimed gold medals at world championships
By Igor Grishin
Honoured coaches Dmitry Pyasetsky, Yury Bulat and Mikhail Stepanov are helping prepare the squad, including four-time World Muay Thai Federation (WMF) champion Vitaly Gurkov (up to 71kg); he has also won three gold medals and one silver at the IFMA World Amateur Championship, (as recognised by the International Olympic Committee). Vitaly has had 97 professional fights since 18th January 2001, winning 85 of them (and having 12 defeats).
Andrey Kulebin (67kg) has won three gold medals and one silver at the WMF Muay Thai Championship, as well as two IFMA recognised gold medals, two silver and two bronze. He was recognised as the best fighter of 2012 and has won 50 of his 61 professional fights (having 11 defeats).
Since 2005, the Belarusian national team has won the kickboxing and Muay Thai World Championship five times, as well as the European Championship four times. The team won the overall World Championship title in 2009, when the tournament was held in the homeland of these martial arts, in Thailand. The team has also repeatedly appeared among the top three at the most prestigious world and European tournaments.
The European Muay Thai Championship for 2013 will take place in Lisbon, Portugal from 23rd-28th July.