The M-1 Challenge XXII Light Heavyweight Championship Showdown

Dec 6, 2010
(PRESS RELEASE) -- On December 10th, LIVE from the Druzhba Arena in Moscow, Russia, fans in attendance and those tuning in from around the world at the official M-1 website, www.M-1Global.com, will witness the crowning of the promotions first-ever light heavyweight champion. The differentiating factor between two equally matched opponents may come down to experience as the young, 4-0, Tomasz ‘Giraffe’ Narkun collides with the 9-1, Vyacheslav "Slava" Vasilevski. For North American fans, the action begins at 11:00am EST / 8:00am PST.

Fighting out of Stargard Szczecinski, Poland and the Berserkers Team, the 20 year-old, Tomasz ‘Giraffe’ Narkun can be considered a small light heavyweight by North American standards walking around just shy of the 205lb mark. But as with some of the great Europeans, these undersized athletes are proving that size doesn’t always matter when compared to strong tactical offensive and defensive capabilities. Even one of the world’s top ranked pound-for-pound fighters, Gegard ‘Dreamcatcher’ Mousassi, sees a great future ahead for Narkun.

Since making his professional mixed martial arts debut less than one year ago, Narkun strung together three impressive submission victories on route to capturing the M-1 Selections European finals. Starting with Olutobi Ayodeji Kalejaiye in the opening round, Narkun displayed composure and fluid transitions before locking in a rear-naked choke at only 52 seconds into the first frame. Next up was Timo Karttunen, who was defeated in 49 seconds with a joint-jacking armbar. And the Eastern/Western European Selections Finals presented another walk for Narkun as he destroyed David Tkeshelashvili at 1:50 of the very first round via rear naked choke; three tournament fights with a total elapsed time of less than one full round of fighting.

Narkun now finds himself one victory away from the M-1 Challenge light heavyweight championship belt and his path to the gold goes through Eastern European Selection tournament winner, Vyacheslav Vasilevski.

Only 22 years of age, Vyacheslav "Slava" Vasilevski is quietly making a name for himself as a top contender in the light heavyweight division with M-1 Global thanks to his impressive 9-1 record.

Fighting out of Kstovo, Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, Vasilevski would also be considered a small light heavyweight, standing at 5’ 9” and barely tipping the 200lb mark. But following in the footsteps of his favourite fighter and role model, Fedor Emelianenko, he believes he can compete in the face of much larger opponents; so far this is proving to be true.

‘Slava’ has trained judo since he was nine years old and became the judo champion of Krasnoyarski Krai, earned three medals at the national youth judo championships and then became the judo champion of Siberia in the adult-class competitions. By the time he turned 19, he transitioned his training to boxing and combat sambo.

As the current M-1 Selection Eastern Europe champ, Vasilevski battled through Sergey Guzev in a hard-fought split decision victory; his second tournament bout was a much easier pass as a text-book RNC submission over Alihan Magomedov in the opening round secured his berth in the finals. With the opportunity to fight at Sambo 70 in front of Prime Minister Putin, Vasilevski delayed his finals fight with Shamil Tinagadjiev in order to participate in the once in a lifetime event that attracted worldwide political attention. The tournament finals took place as an added bout at M-1 Global’s fourth instalment of the Battle on the Neva River; once again Vasilevski battled three full rounds to earn the judges’ unanimous decision and captured the 2010 Eastern Europe tournament crown.

In the highly anticipated bout that represents only one of the evening’s trilogy of title fights, Vasilevski is intent to utilize his experience and confidence that his current eight-fight win streak has created. But Narkun poses a highly touted and dangerous opponent who is walking tall with his undefeated record and youthful swagger. Only one warrior will walk away victorious from M-1 Challenge XXII, leaving the newly crowned champion poised for a title defense in 2011 and the other to begin the journey back into contention.
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