Standing at the backstage, Naimul ‘the Convict’ Amal Othman can hear the intro video playing in the hall, as he waited for his name to be called for the walk-out. It’s the second last bout of the night. Between Naimul and Jay Muran for the vacant flyweight title. Stadium Juara has been rocked with 6 other exciting fight that night on 30 March 2018.
Naimul’s brother Dhiaaul earlier on had emerge victorious winning the Bantamweight belt. Now it’s for him to fulfil his end of the bargain, to go home together as champion.
Tupac Shakur’s Soldier came on. He listened to Tupac’s music since he was a teenager. The song Soldier meant a lot to him. It reminds him of his struggles to reach here in MIMMA 5 grand finals. Naimul calmly uttered a prayer, then breathe in deeply and began his walk-out accompanied by his coach Joe Lorenzo Kitingan and Dhiaaul.
As he walks, he felt a mixture of excitement and nervousness. But the further he walk, he felt he is leaving all the tension and stress behind. He is leaving everything to ALLAH now.
The flyweight championship fight was 3 rounds of thriller. Jay Muran is known for his ground game, but Naimul was the one that was well rounded. He dominated the stand-up and the grappling exchanges. His gas tank was also not depleted compare to Jay.
Both engaged with some wild exchanges in early round 1, but Jay was quick to attempt take down. He scored one ala Khabib Nurmagomedov by carrying Naimul across the cage & dumped him near his corner.
But Naimul was very hard to be kept down. He managed to reverse and continue to trade blows. But it was Naimul gaining the better of the exchanges, ending round 1 with 40 seconds unleashing ground and pound on Jay Jay.
Naimul open round 2 with a feint punches that set up for his left high kick that caught Jay Jay’s chin. At one point Jay Jay got Naimul’s back but Naimul control his hands well and managed to turn into Jay Jay’s guard and gain top position. After few seconds he stood and let Jay Jay back on his feet.
As they were pacing each other, Jay Jay pointed to something on his opponent’s face, but Naimul did not acknowledge and wants the fight to continue, until ref Dana intervene and cleared what seems to be a detached contact lens from below Naimul’s left eye.
Round 2 ended with Jay Jay caught in Naimul’s body triangle.
Round 3 Jay Jay got a take down but look exhausted to keep Naimul down, a few scramble later and a weak attempt by Jay Jay on a single leg led Naimul to get on top, with knee on belly he unleashed numerous strikes from top that the ref had to stop the fight at round 3, minute 1:39
A win that was truly emotional for Naimul as he rushes to climb on to the cage , raised his hand to acknowledge God.
In a post fight interview, Naimul remark about the fight:
” I’m not surprised of Jay’s gameplan, I knew he’s going to take me down and fight me on the ground. But I was prepared for any situation. Stand up or ground just bring it on. I was prepared for war.”
|a visibly ecstatic Joe Lorenzo celebrating Naimul’s win|
Ask what was on his mind each round,
“Each round what I was thinking is that I will break his heart. I will make him doubt his own ability. All of his attempt will not work until he’s tired.”
Who he wants to acknowledge for his victory.
“Firstly I thank Allah, I pray to Allah to give me the victory and give me the ability to go through all the obstacles in my life and everything. I thank my parents, my in-laws for blessing me in this career. My wife, the backbone, she prepared for me almost everything, motivates me, hear me, and believe me. My coach Joe Lorenzo and my brother Dhiaaul in training. All my family members and All the true friends. I thank Allah for giving me all this companion in my life.”
|Emotional embrace with his parents after the victory|
“And a great shout out to my sponsors Hutan Ration and HEAL Studio. Thanks to Tune Talk and MIMMA; there’s always something sentimental with MIMMA as this is where my MMA path kick started, it means a lot for winning the MIMMA belt. Alhamdulillah.”
|strong support from family and friends|
|strong sponsors support|
Earlier before his fight that night, Naimul was cornering Dhiaaul in his bantamweight fight vs Sabahan Effendy Kalai. Dhiaaul endured Effendy’s heavy hands and eventually got hold of Effendy’s arm and locked in a tight armbar for a finish.
Naim admit he was nervous at first but he was not worried, he knew Dhiaaul could handle the initially heavy onslaught. He has been training hard with Dhiaaul under Joe Lorenzo and has the utmost confidence for Dhiaaul to be crowned the Bantamweight Champion that night.
Back in 2015, in MIMMA’s season 3 Contender Fight, Naimul had to fight Dhiaaul for a place in the grand final flyweight category. It was a difficult decision but, being in the top of the flyweight division for both, it was inevitable for them to meet each other. They were very professional and went into the cage with full commitment of a good performance.
Dhiaaul emerged winner via armlock in round 2 and went on to challenge Seah Zhang Yu.
It is certainly dream come true for the Amal brothers this year as they both emerged as champion on that night. Very emotional win for Naimul as the hardship and sacrifice he had made ( read his pre-event story here ) finally bear fruit
In the holy month of Ramadhan Naimul took time to be closer to God. Fasting and praying and ever thankful for every blessings and challenges God has given him. He also took time to help his close friend of 12 years and fellow MMA athlete Ridzuan Dahari in business.
They operate a stall in the Ramadhan Bazaar at Kompleks PKNS and selling Ridzuan’s famous Mafioso Seafood shellout. Business is good.
|Naimul (R) with Ridzuan (L) and a friend|
This year Hari Raya Naimul look forward to spend quality time with family and enjoy the good food during the festive period. He will spend the first two days of Raya at Shah Alam and following 3rd day at Muar Johor, his wife’s hometown.
Food wise, during Ramadhan his favourite ‘buka puasa’ dish is Nasi Briyani Kambing! And this coming Hari Raya he is craving for ketupat palas and lemang which goes perfectly well with the delicious rendang that his mom is best known for.
With his shiny MIMMA 5 Flyweight belt on his side, this Hari Raya will definitely be a time for Naimul to cherish and remember for a long time to come.
Warriors of Borneo wishes the Amal brothers, Naimul and Dhiaaul and their family a happy and joyful Hari Raya Aidilfitri .