By Alexandra Gritta
Rabat- Moroccan karateka Achraf Ouchen, 21, triumphed with a knockout win in a fight against the Spanish karate champion, Franklin Mina, on Saturday at the 2018 Karate Combat Olympus in Athens, Greece. Ouchen was competing in the 93-kilogram category.
Olympus was the second event of the Karate Combat fighting league’s inaugural season. It aired at 9:30 p.m. local time (7:30 p.m. Moroccan time). Fans can watch the highlights or see the entire fight for free at karate.com.
Ouchen first made a name for himself as a finalist in the Senior World Championships when he was just 18 years old. In an interview with Morocco World News, Ouchen cited this as the accomplishment that really boosted his career.
“My first time participating in a world championship, I received a medal for the juniors’ category and in the next one I obtained gold—making me world champion in the under 21 year-olds’ category.”
Speaking about his 2017 win at the Senior World Championships in Linz, Austria, Ouchen said, “During my 3rd consecutive world championship, I made history; this was the first and only silver medal a Moroccan ever received in a Senior World Championship.”
Ouchen was born in Nador, Morocco, but is currently residing in the capital Rabat where he is in the third year of his university degree in sport sciences. He commutes between the cities and trains in both.
Karate Combat, more than just a sport
Ouchen is truly passionate about karate—a sport in which he feels he can fully showcase his skills. Engaging in other sports, the young sensation never felt he could display his full potential or strength.
“With the opportunities that the Karate Combat style offers, you can enjoy knocking-out people to the floor and not worrying that you’ll get a penalty or lose the fight for having too much power in your strike. In Karate Combat, you can enjoy your knockout and be the champ of the fight!” Ouchen explained.
The athlete continued, saying that his previous fight in Budapest “was really an emotional moment for me because I was fighting in the kind of style that I feel most free and comfortable with… winning that fight against a strong opponent gave me a huge boost and the confidence to work harder and shine even more in my next fights.”
Ouchen is very confident regarding the future of his career. The athlete sees Karate Combat as a great way to introduce future generations to the sport.
“I have all the possibilities in front of me. I can fight Pro and also compete to qualify for the Summer Olympics of 2020,” he anticipated.
Ouchen explained he first developed an interest in karate at the age of 6. He elaborated: “My parents chose this martial art to fill my free time—and to keep me away from violence and troubles in the streets.”
“My first coach in the dojo noticed that I had skills and I had potential in karate. He made me train extra sessions and made karate a lifestyle for me. School, karate, eating, sleeping—that is what made me admire this sport and make it part of my life.”
Concluding his interview, the champion emphasized that he really believes that Karate Combat is a cornerstone in founding a new era of professional combat sports.