Press ReleasesEFN 2016 Series Exciting times ahead for Muaythai and MMA fans
Following a successful soft launch in 2015, Elite Boxing is now ready to go full steam ahead and take its pioneering Elite Fight Night (EFN) combined combat sports event series to the next level. Developed in partnership with Abu Dhabi Warriors, EFN 2016 will feature both Muaythai and MMA fights at four glamorous qualifiers and two grand finals held in five countries across three continents during the final five months of 2016.
EFN 2016 is targeting a diverse array of combat sports fans across the globe with its exciting mix of both Muaythai and MMA. Building on the success of Elite Boxing’s Muaythai only events, Elite Boxing has partnered with Abu Dhabi Warriors to expand the concept and offer fight fans a full season of high profile Muaythai and MMA fights together under the EFN umbrella. While Bangkok-based Elite Boxing boasts almost a decade of experience in the combat sports industry with a primary focus on Muaythai, Abu Dhabi Warriors is a relatively new but fast-growing name on the MMA circuit.
On the foundation work that has been going on behind the scenes, Elite Boxing’s co-founder, Toli Makris, explained, “We worked very hard to bring the two brands together and stage a Road to Abu Dhabi Warriors event in Bangkok in August last year as part of our EFN 2015 series. However, at that time, Abu Dhabi warriors was still building its brand and was very focused on the Abu Dhabi market, which meant that it was too early for them to join us in a full series.”
After the successful completion of the Road to Abu Dhabi Warriors event in Bangkok, Elite Boxing went on to complete the remainder of the EFN 2015 qualifiers as a purely Muaythai series. Culminating in a grand final back in Bangkok on December 5, EFN 2015 was won by Thai fighter Changpuerk who earned the coveted King’s Cup and the title of Muaythai World Champion in the 70kg division.
Nevertheless, the mixed combat sports concept proved so successful in its pilot event that plans were quickly put in place to expand the EFN format to include a full series of Muaythai and MMA on the same bill. Elite Boxing’s experience was vital in helping Abu Dhabi Warriors grow to the stage where they are now able to commit to a full season of EFN. “Although we completed EFN 2015 as a Muaythai series, we maintained a strong relationship with Abu Dhabi Warriors and assisted them with production support in their country,” continued Makris.
Following the conclusion of the EFN 2015 Series, Makris temporarily relocated from his base in Thailand to the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro where he set up a weekly Muaythai show on Brazil’s number one combat sports channel Combate. With the aim of helping Muaythai gain a foothold in the Latin American market, the weekly show enabled Makris to secure two distribution deals reaching millions of new fight fans.
From his temporary base in Rio, Makris was not only able to raise the profile of Muaythai and Elite Boxing across South America but also managed to secure an EFN 2016 event in the Brazilian city of Sao Paolo. The full EFN 2016 series will feature a total of four qualifiers starting in Bangkok on the Queen of Thailand’s birthday of August 12 before moving on to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, Sofia in Bulgaria, and Sao Paolo. The winners of each event will qualify for a Grand Final. The Muaythai finalists will be compete in the King’s Cup in Bangkok on the King of Thailand’s birthday of December 5, while the MMA finalists will face each other at the Abu Dhabi Warriors Grand Final to be held in Abu Dhabi during the same week as the F1 Grand Prix.
Looking ahead to the new EFN series, Makris said, “After several months traveling all over the world, I’m excited to be returning to Bangkok for the opening. It’s also very important for Elite Boxing to have the first event of the series on that Queen’s birthday as it will make the story complete when we host the final on the King’s birthday.” In addition to the 4-man Muaythai tournament and the MMA qualifier, the August 12 EFN fightcard will also feature a female Muaythai title bout with the event sanctioned by the World Muaythai Council.
A great deal of work has been going on behind the scenes to incorporate both Muaythai and MMA into the EFN 2016 series, and it was only after the recent Abu Dhabi Warriors event in May of this year that both parties were able to reach a formal agreement to partner up for the entire 2016 series. “This partnership allows us to bring together two great brands and two fantastic sports,” said Lubomir Guedjev, Managing Director of Abu Dhabi Warriors “Both parties will benefit in terms of the maximum media coverage from the network of broadcasters that Elite Boxing has cultivated over the last decade to reach over 500 million viewers in over 170 countries.”
More information about the media partners will be released soon.