9 Mar 2014 - 16:27
A battle of biblical proportions has ended in unbelievable success for a Georgian kick boxer when he challenged the world's best, and won.
Judges of the World Lightweight Championships defined Davit Kiria's performance as: "A Davit verse Goliath moment, which is without a doubt one of the most epic occurrences a kickboxing ring has ever hosted”.
The ultimate battle between Kiria and world number one Andy "The Machine" Ristie took place at the World Lightweight Championships in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia on Saturday night.
"I started to train in karate when I was nine years old and ever since then I dreamed of this day. I always wanted to be a champion and now it has come true. I think this is the happiest day of my life,” Kiria said as tears streamed down his face after being crowned the GLORY World Lightweight Champion.
Ristie almost finished Kiria in the first round and came close to doing it again in the second but "then had to watch in disbelief as the dogged Georgian hung on and came back into the fight,” the Glory website reported.
"Had this fight happened in a movie, people would have switched it off because it was too unrealistic,” the website wrote, adding Kiria had been dropped twice and was one knockdown away from having the fight waved off.
"Georgian people are a warrior nation. All through our history we have been faced with war and battle so we have a warrior spirit,” said Kiria, the new World Champion at a post-fight press conference. His response was to a question asking how he managed to cling on despite being all but knocked out following a trademark Ristie knee attack.
"And I am a karate fighter, and have been since I was a young boy. The spirit of karate is that you must keep going and keep going until your dying breath. You can never give up. So I think what kept me going was my Georgian heart and my karate spirit.”
Kiria was born in the small town of Zugdidi in western Georgia.
"Where I come from in Georgia, everyone is very close. My street is like one big family,” he explained with a laugh.
"So when I go back I must take the belt to each house on my street and let them see it and touch it because they will feel like it is their belt also - we won the belt, not I won the belt.”
Currently, Kiria is based in Holland and trained under Dutch martial arts expert Semmy Schilt and Schilt’s coach Dave Jonkers.
Like Schilt, Kiria is an Ashihara Karate stylist and holds a black belt in the discipline.
Kiria's karate background and training gives him a unique sense of timing and distance, which can be tricky for opponents to deal with, especially if they have not encountered a karate fighter before, specialist claim.
Since winning the fight and being named world champion, Kiria had instantly become a target for every other top fighter in the lightweight division, said experienced kickboxing observers.
"I am happy to fight anyone. I am a fighter, I am not someone who picks his opponents. Whoever wants to fight me, bring them,” Kiria said in response.