Asia

Furqan Cheema represents UK at Kudo European Championships 2022 in Rome, Italy

Originally from Rawalpindi, Pakistan, mixed martial artist Furqan Cheema, 32, of Bradford, West Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom competes in kūdō, a Japanese style of MMA practiced with headgear and gloves. He was one of the fighters who represented the U.K. at Kudo European Championships 2022 in Rome, Italy on November 1, 2022.

When Cheema made his ONE Championship debut on November 22, 2019, he had his first professional MMA loss. After going on hiatus amid the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, he bounced back with a successful Full Contact Contender debut on March 5, 2022.

Furqan Cheema (©ONE Championship)
Furqan Cheema (©ONE Championship)
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On December 2, 2012, Cheema was supposed to fight Cian Cowley, 30, Dublin, Ireland at “Eerie Fighting Championship 1” in Dublin. However, the Pakistani-English contender had to pull out for personal reasons and was replaced by Everton Toniazzo Jr., 35, of Sao Jose dos Pinhais, Parana, Brazil.

A lightweight MMA fighter, Cheema finished third in the heavyweight division at Kudo European Championships 2022. He told me, “The most difficult part was going up against heavyweights.”

“I wasn’t at my normal fight weight and competed at 90kg plus, which was different,” Cheema continued. “I felt good with my hands but not as strong when going into clinch work but I used a lot of dirty boxing from the inside to break that.”

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Cheema was introduced to kudo by his coach Mark Spencer, who set up Yorkshire Kudo. The latter then introduced the former to the head of UK Kudo Mal Sanchez-Jones.

“I went through trials and with MMA experience, I was able to compete in kudo and represent the U.K. successfully,” Cheema said. “Kudo is very similar to MMA but you wear a kudo gi with small gloves probably 2oz so more or less, it is bare knuckle, and then you have a kudo helmet, which is pretty difficult to breathe in but eventually you get use to it once you practice more.”

“I guess I love kudo because you can throw headbutts,” the Bradford resident added. “It’s more based on power shots so you can score points if you throw effectively with power. In general, it’s a great sport and a great addition to my skill set.”

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