KO king gunning for redemption on home soil
At the time when MMA was known as “free fighting”, Abou Tounkara was not one of its biggest fans – far from it : “It was not a sport that interested me,” he recalled.
“But one day, in my neighborhood, my friends were playing the UFC 2009 video game UFC on the console, and out of curiosity, I invited myself to play. When I got home, I started looking up the names of the fighters on the internet, and as I did so, I got hooked. It all started there.”
Would he have embraced such a career path if he hadn’t grabbed that controller? It will never be known. But no matter how randomly his career choice came about, Abou Tounkara is certainly now in the right place.
“When I joined my first club, I started immediately with MMA. Then, quite quickly, I moved on to jiu-jitsu to improve my ground strategy. Today, I would even say that I am more passionate about the groundgame than MMA. It makes mor sense that it [the fight] would go to ground.”
Holder of a black belt in jiu-jitsu, the 33-year-old fighter has never submitted any opponent in a professional fight. In contrast, he has won six of his seven fights by knockout.
“ It would make more sense to go to the ground, but when I step into the cage, I’m immediately drawn to boxing.”
And while his approach to fights has generated a lot of discussion, Abou Tounkara’s weight is no longer up for debate. A very athletic fighter by nature, he chose to move back up to lightweight after several forays into the weight class below.
“The weight loss was very difficult, and it had an impact on my performance, since I was injured twice during fights. From now on, I will stay at 70 kg asI am undefeated at that weight!”
Will the choice pay off? Abou Tounkara hopes so, especially since he wants to make a good impression in his very first fight in France.
“It’s special to fight at home. But on the other hand, once in the cage, I forget everything. So it doesn’t matter if I’m in France, Denmark or Brazil!”