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Fighter of the month – Rami Ibrahim
Philadelphia, PA

Professional fighter and new WKA North American Lightweight Champion Rami Ibrahim describes his induction into the martial arts world as a therapeutic and preventative measure. “When my family came here [to the United States], I was experiencing problems due to the war. So they put me into martial arts to keep me out of trouble and off the street.” Given Rami’s growth and successful martial arts career both as a fighter and gym owner, this was obviously an effective step, but it wasn’t so smooth in the beginning: “I started out in Tae Kwon Do, but I kept getting disqualified in point sparring tournaments. There was no contact, and I was too young to understand control.” Perhaps, however, Rami was simply born to be a hard-hitter given his later martial arts career. It was fortunate that his instructor also had a Muay Thai program; Rami tried it, and it fit.
From there, the only way to go was up. At only twenty-seven years old, Rami has now had over one hundred fights since he started competing in 1992. His professional record is 29-7-2, with 9 KOs. His last fight, the fight for the WKA Lightweight North American Title, ended in TKO one minute and forty-seven seconds into the fifth round over Dutch fighter David Duyn. Rami’s next goal in the ring is to become a professional world champion.

This goal Rami intends to achieve with the help of his family. He describes his older brother Mohammad as a role model and a lifelong support. Mohammed was a driving force in putting Rami into martial arts as a child and has followed his fight career all along. “He’s always there for me at all my fights; he’s supported me from the beginning,” says Rami. In his own gym, Sitan Gym Philadelphia, Rami also creates a family. He discusses his starting gym, Sitan New York, as being run as a family rather than a business under trainer Aziz Nabih, and he has followed this example at his own school. “Everyone fits in, whatever their goal. The fighters and the students who just want to get fit all get the same attention, and they are all just expected to give their best.” Following the example of his brother, Rami’s personal goal is to help others in life: “I measure success by the people I bless.”

This philosophy sometimes makes things difficult for Rami, as both running a gym and fighting professionally take tremendous amounts of time, dedication, and energy. “I have to admit, I can’t always train for a fight the way I should, and it’s hard being so far away from my trainer, Aziz.” However, Rami believes that the most important thing isn’t what you have, but what you do with what you have. Thus, he works his own training in around both training his students and running his school and his day job, teaching high school English, fitting his cardio in early each morning and getting in his fight training the last thing each night after he has finished teaching.

Stylistically, Rami’s style of Muay Thai is enhanced by his experience as a professional boxer. “A lot of Thai guys, they’re strong in the clinch, they have good low kicks, and all of that—but I add in Western boxing so I come to the game with strong, effective hands, too.”
Before he shoots for a pro world title, Rami is making an exciting departure in his fight career: this Saturday, April 3rd, he will make his MMA debut on M-1 Global.


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