EMMAA media team member Aaron East interviews current FightStar Heavyweight Champion Shah Kamali ahead of his scheduled bout on November 19th
In just under 2 weeks, Fightstar Championship returns to the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre in the capital.
Many explosive bouts and phenomenal warriors will take centre stage on what’s set to be one of the biggest card’s Fightstar have put together in their long history.
One bout in particular that has fans in high anticipation for will be amateur Heavyweight Champion Shah Kamali vs Akseli Kaasalainen.
I caught up with Shah in the build-up to his first title defence as he prepares for the war in the capital.
Shah Kamali (3-0-0) is a Bangladeshis amateur Mixed Martial Artist currently competing in the Heavyweight division, representing Fightzone London. He has competed for Contenders and Fightstar Championship, where he is the current holder of the amateur FSC Heavyweight Championship.
I’d like to start things off by thanking you for taking the time to speak with me today Shah, and also to congratulate you on your upcoming inclusion and first title defence at Fightstar Championship 23.
“Cheers man, it’s my pleasure, it’s always good talking to you.”
Likewise. From what I’ve seen, training has been going exceptionally well in the build-up to your first title defence. What have you taken from your camp thus far, has there been a main focus for you?
“We’ve just been pushing hard; I’ve been in camp for a while now to be fair. After I won the title, I was supposed to have another fight about 5 weeks after, I’ve been in camp since then. So, I’ve been training and waiting for an opponent, I’m happy I’ve got an opponent for this one, they were searching quite hard. I haven’t really been focusing on one specific area but I do know my opponent is a grappler, so we have to keep that in mind for preparation in the coming weeks leading up to the fight.”
So, we’ll see a completely different Shah out there, yeah?
“Hahaha, not a completely different Shah. I haven’t really been able to show my complete skill set because my fights have only gone on for less than a minute hahaha.”
Being in attendance at each of your outings, they really have left fans wanting more, as well as being in complete awe of your dominant performance. It’s crazy when you think you’ve had just under 3 mins cage time.
“Yeah hahaha, it’s crazy.”
As many will know, Fightstar have become affiliates with the English Mixed Martial Arts Association (EMMAA). Who’s prime goal is To develop and promote the education, training and safeguarding of young people, competitors and coaches in MMA.
What does it mean to you to have your bouts closely monitored by such a dedicated team of professionals with your best interests at heart?
“It’s good that the sport is being taken more seriously, before it was like the wild west. It’s good to have these organisations promoting the grass roots of MMA. It helps the sport grow in this country, with the help of the EMMAA, the sport is definitely being taken more seriously here. Which is a big thing for us athletes to have their supervision.”
I couldn’t agree more.
With the 19th of November drawing near, you are set for possibly your biggest test to date, taking on Finland’s Akseli Kaasalainen. I can highly recommend to the fans in attendance to keep a close eye on this one.
What are your thoughts on Akseli as you prepare for your collision in Crystal Palace?
“He’s a very good fighter, very good fighter and has experience. I think he’s had about 8 fights in total, he’s a Finnish champ, being a Championship himself he knows what it takes to get there. It’s going to be a challenge for sure but, I’m going to do my thing and make sure I get my hand raised at the end of the night.”
I remember our chat at Fightstar Championship 22, regarding the possibility of you turning pro in the not too distant future due to how strenuous it is to get matched. Is this notion still on your radar or would you like to get some more amateur bouts in before the switch?
‘Well, I think the IMMAF World’s will be in the early stages of 2023, I wanna get experience on the IMMAF stage for sure before turning pro. Because it’s quite a good stage, you’re guaranteed fights. You’re fighting the best individuals in their respective countries. I’d like to experience fighting at the world’s, hopefully. Then I’ll look to maybe having one more fight before turning pro, hopefully mud 2023 I should be turning pro.
It would be great to see you out their mate, it’s a great achievement to strive for.
Raj Singh and his team have worked day and night to make sure Fightstar Championship 23 out does their previous cards.
Other than your inclusion on the night are there any matchups in particular that you’re looking forward to witnessing?
“Yeah, a couple of my teammates will be fighting on the night also. Bertie Oakes will be fighting Jake Smythe, my other teammate Louie Sutherland will also be fighting but his opponent is yet to be announced. I’m looking forward to seeing them because we’ve all been training together, sparring together and we’re all feeling sharp as we approach fight night.”
It’s always good to go to war with your teammates.
“Yeah, it’s stressful but it’s good hahaha.”
As always Shah, it’s been an absolute pleasure speaking with you and I wish you all the best for November and the remainder of your camp.
“Cheers man, it’s been a pleasure. I’m looking forward to seeing you there, and hopefully we can get another interview after my win and first defence.”
My pleasure man, I’ll always find the time to speak with you.
Last but not least do you have a message for the fans that will be in attendance and anybody you’d like to give a shout-out to?
“Don’t blink, it might end quickly hahaha. But you’ll be on the edge of your seats, it’s going to be exciting as there’s so many good matchups on that card. I always bring a show, I always make sure the fans go home excited, not disappointed. Shout-out to my teammates at Fightzone London, and shout-out to my coaches.”
Catch Shah and many more phenomenal warriors take centre stage at what’s shaping up to be an incredible fight card on November 19th at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre in London. Tickets will be made available from the fighters as well as via the Fightstar Championship Website here.
Fightstar Championship are proudly affiliated with the English Mixed Martial Arts Association (EMMAA) who’s prime goal is to develop and promote the education, training and safeguarding of young people, competitors and coaches in MMA.