Ukhrul: Themchuingam Kasar from Manipur’s Ukhrul district won a gold medal in MMAFI Contender, 2022, Mumbai Season 2 event held in Seven Eleven Club in Mumbai on July 23, organized by the Mixed Martial Arts Federation of India (MMAFI).
The event saw 12 Under 19 bouts, 13 novice bouts, 19 amateur bouts, and 2 pro bouts. More than 100 athletes participated from 12 states of India along with 5 athletes from Mauritius and 3 from Nepal.
The 18-year-old Themchuingam Kasar participated in the Bantamweight (57-61 kg) category in the contender event. He faced Omkar Jayde in the 13th preliminary bout of the night and won the gold medal in the said category.
The fight lasted for two rounds. The first round began with Themchuingam dominating the first half of the round with heavy aggressive punches, however, towards the end of the first round, Themchuingam had a close call, saved by the bell. The fight went into a grappling mode with tactical submission attempts from both fighters. His opponent, Omkar managed to reel Themchuingam into a tricky position with Omkar on top. Themchuingam took some heavy blows from his opponent, however, he was able to keep up his defenses till the end of the first round.
In the second round, the fight lasted just 39 seconds. Thanks to Themchuingam’s excellent boxing background, he replied with aggressive, fast-paced head-shots forcing his opponent, Omkar into a retreating corner. The referee ended the fight and ruled the decision in favor of Themchuingam with a Technical knockout (TKO).
Born into a family of simple cultivators, son of Lightson Kasar and Pretty Kasar hails from Chadong village in Ukhrul district. A family of six siblings, Themchuingam comes from a very modest family burdened with the financial worries of raising six children but that has never deterred him to stop pursuing his passion. He has finished his 12th board exam from Lamlong Higher Secondary School. In 2018, he tried out for the trial selection in Mary Kom’s Academy (Mary Kom Regional Boxing Foundation) in Langol, Game village. After clearing the selection, he got admitted to the free residential facilities where he stayed until 2021. While under the academy, he has participated in multiple district level and state-level boxing events making way for a solid boxing background.
His MMA journey had just begun in 2022 when he was introduced to the sport through an MMA club called Kangleipak Mixed Martial Arts Club (KMMAC). He is among the 8 fighters who represented KMMAC in the MMAFI Contender event in Mumbai.
Coached by Frank Mangang, a professional trainer/ owner of the KMMAC, who after seeing Themchuingam’s family’s dire financial situation decided to give him the support he needs by sponsoring him with free food, lodging, and training facilities believing in his enthusiasm and potential for the sport.
This is the second MMA tournament Themchuingam has been a part of. His first MMA tournament was in May 2022, National Mixed Martial Arts Championship ‘Chainaba MFL-5’ tournament held in Nongmeibung, East Imphal. Where he bagged the Gold medal for the Bantamweight category. Altogether 85 fighters, including six females and 25 from outside the state such as Mumbai, Delhi, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Assam took part in the Chainaba tournament.
It may be mentioned that his recent travel expenses were not sponsored by the MMAFI but were self-incurred with the help of contributions from generous villagers and MLA, Leishiyo Keishing.
On July 26, he was greeted by his families, villagers, and organizations such as Tangkhul Aze Katamnao Long and others including his MMA club, KMMAC in the Imphal international Airport with big banners and bouquets congratulating him for his big win.
The grand gesture he says would always serve as a reminder for him to work harder and bring more laurels.
“I was very moved and surprised that so many people came to congratulate me. The joy on everyone’s faces, it really makes everything worth it. I thank all of you who came out to support me in my journey, my villagers and organizations and everyone who supported me financially and most importantly through your prayers, it is through your prayers that I got this Medal today,” said Themchuingam.
Speaking to Ukhrul Times, Themchuingam revealed that his father’s right hand had sustained a bone rupture a long time back and that his right hand was now fitted with a prosthetic due to which he faces difficulty in doing field work. “It worries me so much that my father, despite his difficulty, works so hard in the field with spades and shovels just so he could feed our family. My parent’s love and dedication moves me and it fuels me to even work harder. My parents still have this apprehension ever since I decided to join MMA that I might get injured, it’s their biggest cause of concern. They have tried to talk me out of my decision to join MMA many times but it is for them that I am working this hard for and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon,” said Themchuingam.
Details are yet to be confirmed but it is reported that Themchuingam’s next fight is likely to be scheduled in Ukraine in the first week of October 2022. An international MMA championship to compete for the championship title of his weight category.
He hopes that in the future, sports would sit in society with equal importance as studies as he believes, if one is motivated enough for the right reasons, they could go a long way and succeed.