The opportunity to vie for a title was one that Amine Ballafrikh couldn’t pass up.
“The Moroccan Freak” readily accepted a drop down in weight for the chance to represent his organization and attempt to bring a championship belt home at Muay Thai Grand Prix presents Lion Fight 39. Ballafrikh (9-3) moves to featherweight for a shot at the MTGP title as he takes on the highly touted Dean “The Black Diamond” James.
Lion Fight will now be represented by three of its most-talented competitors. Standing alongside Ballafrikh are reigning cruiserweight champ Chip “The Surgeon” Moraza-Pollard, who will be defending his own belt as well as vying for the vacant MTGP belt against Jordan Smith, and Eddie Abasolo, who will square off against Jersey Pinto in a middleweight tussle.
Those three bouts are part of the massive event taking place on Saturday, November 18th at the Indigo at O2 Arena in London, England.
Ballafrikh is a perfect 3-0 under the Lion Fight banner, mostly recently mustering a third-round TKO finish over Johncy Lindor. Born in Morocco and now fighting out of Alexandria, Virginia, Ballafrikh previously posted decision victories inside the Lion Fight ring against both Joe Logan and Jonathan George.
While James represents a significant step up in competition, Ballafrikh and his team readily accepted the challenge and shot at the MTGP title.
“I want to thank both Scott Kent and Scott Zerr for this amazing opportunity,” said Ballafrikh.
“Also, thank you to the management of MTGP and my opponent for the opportunity to fight for the MTGP world title and to be a part of this stacked card. I told Scott Kent and Scott Zerr that I want to fight the best and represent Lion Fight while doing it and they made it happen. Fighting for the MTGP world title makes this fight very special. I told my coaches that I want to win them a belt and now I have the chance to do just that.
“This is my first fight overseas since I started Muay Thai and fought in Morocco so I can’t wait to fight in front of the international fans again and show them how much American Muay Thai has grown.”
The 33-year-old James, who fights out of Wolverhampton, England, gained notoriety after beating colon cancer and becoming a world-class fighter. A high school teacher in Birmingham, James’ most notable victory came via a TKO verdict over Thai veteran Rungravee Sasiprapa.
MTGP presents Lion Fight 39 card:
Chip Moraza-Pollard vs. Jordan Smith – Lion Fight & MTGP world cruiserweight titles
Amine Ballafrikh vs. Dean James – MTGP world featherweight title
Jose Varela vs. Keith McLachlan – MTGP world super featherweight title
Ryan Li vs. Liam McKendry – MTGP world light heavyweight title
Michael Pham vs. John Scott – MTGP European welterweight title
Eddie Abasolo vs. Jersey Pinto – middleweight
Than Hoang vs. Shaquille Davies – super lightweight
More bouts and broadcast details will be announced shortly.
Tickets for Muay Thai Grand Prix Presents Lion Fight 39 are available at https://www.axs.com/events/342910/muay-thai-grand-prix-11-ft-lion-fight-39-tickets.