Back in March 2016, 8 men commenced a journey that would result in the crowning of a new AFC Lightweight Champion. New Zealand native James ‘Pitbull’ Bishop was the first to win through to the tournament final after submitting James McGlashan in his first fight and knocking out Gokhan Turkyilmaz in his second fight. With the devastating win over Turkyilmaz, James instilled himself as a firm favourite to claim AFC Gold.
James was scheduled to face Rob Hill in the tournament final however Rob was forced to unfortunately withdraw after succumbing to injury. Rob’s disappointment became Issac Hardman’s opportunity and he was only too willing to grasp it with both hands.
Coming off an impressive stoppage victory over the dangerous and often avoided Pamau Campbell, Issac improved his record to 6-0 and cemented himself as one of the hottest prospects in Australian martial arts. Having desperately wanted to be part of AFC 18, Issac couldn’t contain his excitement when AFC CEO Adam Milankovic called him and asked if he’d step up and take on Bishop during the AFC’s first venture to China.
In previous fights, both warriors have demonstrated their ability to submit, KO or grind their opponents into the ground so both can lay claim to having the advantage in this title fight. In a sport of inches, the first big shot or clean takedown might just tip the contest in that martial artists favour.
Now, these two young starts will thrown down on the most historic card in Australian martial arts history, and the winner will leave China with AFC Gold wrapped firmly around their waist. It all goes down on April 15!
Article by Josh Warner AFC