It was a heartbreaking end to Abdullah Seena’s IMMAF Amateur World Championship journey as he lost a razor tight three- round split decision to New Zealand’s Lath Stevens.
Yet Seena showed the determination, skill, strength and savvy required to compete at the top level, against a high-caliber international opponent.
He immediately pointed to this fact after the fight, defiantly stating that despite his loss he will be back and has the necessary experience to now turn professional.
He said: “This was my 11th amateur fight, I am ready to go pro if that’s what my team needs, the amateur journey is just a preparation for me, whether I won all my fights or lost them. I’ll have to sit with my coaches and management, see what H.H Shaikh Khalid has to say about this and when the right time comes, we’ll do the best move.”
This three-round war was highly technical and mostly ground-based, involving some slick transitions and grueling wrestling. The first round was demoralizing for Seena, as he was controlled from the top by a monstrously strong-looking Stevens. The majority of the round saw Seena defending Stevens’ attack from full mount, and he defended himself very well, taking little damage, riding out some difficult moments as the Kiwi locked in a nasty choke. Yet Seena remained dangerous from the bottom showing some slick Jiu Jitsu skills and almost locked in an arm-bar from absolutely nowhere, and momentarily secured a leg-lock too.
In the second round it was Seena’s turn to dominate from top position in a role reversal of round 1, as Stevens was now dangerous off his back and made a solid attempt atan arm-bar, which was expertly averted by a savvy Seena. Then Seena piled on the pressure from above and transitioned into side control, before taking the Kiwi’s back and sinking in a rear naked choke, which Stevens valiantly defended until the bell sounded.
The third round was a grueling jostle for position on the ground, with no damaging blows landed it came down to the Kiwi having control for the longer period, although Seena was able to take his back momentarily and also finished on top of the Kiwi as Stevens attempted a Guillotine. A very tight round was awarded to Stevens giving him the spit decision, although both men showed the heart, skill and determination required at the top level.
Seena was gracious in defeat and showed a mature perspective, realizing that two top athletes had competed in a very even battle throughout.
“Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. I left it all in there,” he added. “The first round was his, the second round was mine, the third was close, but he edged it. I gave all I’ve got.”