|Born||June 22, 1987 |
|Height||192 cm (76 in)|
|Weight||75 kg (170 lb)|
|Fighting out of||Thailand|
Ilya Grad is an Israeli Muay Thai boxing champion. His current record stands at 29 wins with 14 knockouts, nine losses and no draws. He is considered one of the eight best amateur Muai Thai boxers in the world. Grad made history by being the first known Israeli boxer to enter Malaysia under his Israeli passport.
Grad attributes much of his success to martial arts claiming that it led him away from the self destructive path of bar fights in Jerusalem. He goes by the fight name “Achilles” in part, because of his fondness for Greek mythology.
During the 2009 kick boxing championships in Bangkok, Grad met fellow kick boxer and Iranian kick boxing team captain Mostafa Abdollahi. Despite the political discourse between the respective countries, the two quickly became friends, began training together and acted as corner-men for each other. A Muay Thai Federation website published the story but removed it after Iranian protests.
In 2011, Grad became the first Israeli boxer to legally enter Malaysia after being invited to participate in the AXN Asia reality show "The Challenger Muaythai" featuring various Muay Thai fighters from different countries. Malaysia, a predominantly Muslim nation, officially bans Israelis from entering the country. When he arrived at Kuala Lumpur airport, Grad was detained for 25 hours, but was finally allowed to enter the country following the intervention of the Malaysian Minister of Sports. During his first bout, the show’s producers asked his him to carry the Russian flag after his place of birth. He refused and stated that he would rather return home after which, the producers allowed him to proceed with the Israeli flag. When he entered the ring, the local audience booed him. He was matched against French fighter, Antoine Pinto but lost in a split decision. The two Malaysian judges voted against Grad while the Thai judge voted in his favor. Grad believed he had won the fight as did his corner-men and believed that politics played a role in the decision making process.
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