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Interview with WLC Artur Saladiak

Artur Saladiak is a Polish-born martial artist specializing in Muay Thai, K1, and Lethwei. He is currently fighting at WLC World Lethwei Championship and Glory.

JOURNEY BEGINS

In 2005 Artur and his family moved to the UK to make a better life for them themselves. Deciding to get into some shape, Artur joined a gym in his home town of Ilminster, in Somerset. While under the eye of Matt Follain he started to train in K1.

After joining Sonny Perez of FSC Muay Thai. It became apparent that for Artur to Succeed he needed to drop down the weight categories to be successful. Sonny and the FSC team started to put things in place and Artur thrived.

After fighting on the biggest UK shows, Tanko, Thai fight, Yokkao to name a few, and taking good victories along the way. He was regularly beating ranked fighters as he moved down the weight categories.

MAKING THE STEP UP

Artur really started to make a name for himself with his inclusion in Thai Fight. A fighting show held in the famous O2 arena in London. Where a team of Thai hero’s fought the pick of UK talent. Artur fought the very skilled Antoine Pinto who just happened to be the youngest ever foreign fighter to have fought at the famous Lumpini and Rajadamnern stadiums at the age of 11 and 12 years old. Artur fought very well. Unfortunately, he narrowly lost due to points but he gained a huge amount of respect taking on the 75kg legend from Bangkok.

WLC – WORLD LETHWEI CHAMPIONSHIP

World Lethwei Championship

After fighting on 12 occasions in 1 full year, Artur then started finding opponents hard to come by. To the extent where he was taking fights as a last-minute replacement several times just to get fights. However, In June 2017. Artur was given the chance to fight under Lethwei rules when he was approached by the World Lethwei Championship (WLC), to fight one of the best Lethwei fighters in history – the previously undefeated Soe Lin Oo.

Artur traveled to Yangon, Myanmar. He put in a gutsy performance against the relentless local hero Oo and won the fight via a points decision. Something the people in the know thought was unlikely. After this decision, Soe Lin Oo offered Artur an immediate rematch under traditional Lethwei rules. Artur accepted the challenge and returned to fight Oo a second time. However, this time he cut his opponent several times with big elbow strikes. Unable to knock him out, Artur claimed a very respectable draw. The Myanmar fans embraced him and the WLC saw a new hero in the sport a foreign star in the making.

A NEW CHAMPION

Finishing Oo with vicious body shot

After a couple of fights, the news came that he had been waiting for. The WLC had been in touch and had offered Artur the chance to fight for the Light middleweight world title. An opportunity to make some history in the Lethwei sport and also for the WLC to begin their journey to bring Lethwei to the rest of the world.

Artur accepted and challenged Saw Ba Oo, and finished him off in round 4 with a huge body punch. His opponent crumpled and gradually made it to his feet, but was unable to continue. Artur was crowned the World Lethwei light middleweight champion.

I recently had the opportunity to talk with Artur about his life. It is a fascinating journey. That focuses on a man who doesn’t understand quit or settle for second best. Enjoy the interview with Artur Saladiak.

INTERVIEW

Good day Artur how are you? Being polish-born and spending a portion of your life in the UK how did you first come across Lethwei. What was it that attracted you to it?

Artur – “Hi I’m good it’s a little bit difficult to deal with right now with this pandemic but I hope everything will be back to normal soon. Initially, it was my friend (Jake Purdy) from my team who was first supposed to fight on World Lethwei Championship but he couldn’t do it so he offered me the possibility to take his place. After the first fight with Soe Lin Oo, I found myself in this sport because it really suits my style. I’m an aggressive athlete who pushes the pace and that’s how I excel so the style of fighting plays to my skills. “

It wasn’t until you moved to the UK in 2005 that you started to get involved in martial arts training in K1. How did you cope with moving to a different country at a younger age? Do you think it shaped you into the fighter you are today?

Artur – “I came to England in 2011, and definitely that move helped me a lot because over here I could put much more attention on my training.
The level of coaching in England is really good and I have been blessed to be surrounded by really good teammates and coaches that help me achieve my goals in my career. “

At one stage of your career you actually took 12 fights in a year much short notice and giving up a lot of weight but you still managed to find a way to win. How was that whole experience and was it difficult to get people to fight after that period with the reputation you had created?

Artur – “You need to be very lucky and truly be passionate to this sport. From the beginning, it was hard to find me opponents with similar experiences. So, a lot of fights in my career, I had to challenge bigger, stronger or more experienced fighters but thanks to that, I came up quicker. “

In 2017 with just 10 days’ notice you fought Youssef Boughamen who at the time was the best Muay Thai middleweight fighter who held many championships. Unfortunately on this occasion, you were defeated in round 3, How was the whole experience? Would you accept that fight again under those circumstances?

Artur – “The fight with Youssef helps me a lot to be prepared for my next fight with Soe Lin Oo. He is good technically so he helped me find some shortcoming in my skills that I could then work on. Of course, I will accept to fight Youssef again because he is experienced and talented fighter and I really enjoy to fight against people like him. “

In 2018 WLC offered you a shot at the light middleweight World championship against a local star in Saw Ba Oo you defeated your opponent with a devastating body shot in round 4 how did that feel to win in such a way and to be a world champion?

Artur – “It was a great honour to be WLC World champion.  After my win against Soe Lin Oo, we actually had another rematch in another partner promotion of World Lethwei Championship so I had two fights experience in lethwei heading into the title fight. Not many people know, but actually I injured myself very badly in round 2. I actually had to get operated on after the fight.  Thanks to my never-say-die attitude and my desire to chase my dreams, I managed to continue and to win by KO in round 4.  Unfortunately, I lost my last fight in Lethwei (title match vs current champion Sasha Moisa). I dedicated all my life to this sport and that’s why I got my success. “

If you could be put in a fight with any fighter out here right now who would it be and why?

Artur – “Of course, if I will have the possibility to choose my opponent for my next fight, I would like to fight Sasha Moisa to get the WLC title back. He definitely won that night but I did not perform to my peak and I know that but I believe if we do a rematch I can beat him and take my belt back.”

You have already achieved so much in your career what else would you like to achieve?

Artur – “It’s never too much, it’s always not enough!”

Make sure to support Artur’s career by following his social media. Links below.

Facebook – Artur Saladiak

Instagram – artursaladiakfighter

Follow me on Twitter at @JamesRees83 and follow us @OT_Heroics for more great content!

Also, be sure to check out the Overtime Heroics Forums page to join in on the discussion!

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