3D Fight Club 3: night of combat sports in Manchester is backed by ex-heavyweight champ Vitali Klitschko
and live on Freeview channel 276
A night of combat sports is being staged in Manchester to raise money for organisations involved in Ukraine’s ongoing fight against Russian invasion.
The event, which features a packed card of boxing, bare-knuckle, kickboxing and mixed martial arts (MMA) bouts, takes place at the Bowlers Exhibition Centre on Friday 9 December. It has been organised thanks to a partnership between new organisation Cage Star, founded by siblings Christina and Alex Senechko whose family is from Ukraine, and established Manchester combat sports concern 3D Fight Club.
The organisers are hoping to make as much money to help organisations involved in the front line efforts to defend Ukraine from Russian aggression, and has also arranged for three Ukrainian fighters to travel to Manchester to take part.
What is the night of fights for Ukraine that has been organised?
The fight night for Ukraine takes place on Friday 9 December at the Bowlers Exhibition Centre in Trafford Park. Tickets are still available through the website Skiddle and range from £27.75 for a standard ticket to £825.25 for a table of 10 seats at ringside. The event will start at 5pm and run until about midnight.
The card has been billed as 3D Fight Club 3 and came about after Christina and Alex spoke to family friend Dougie Joyce from 3D Fight Club, which is particularly known for its involvement in the world of bare-knuckle boxing, about doing an event to raise money for Ukrainian causes in the country’s darkest hour. Proceeds from the night will be going to the 128th Separate Mountain Assault Transcarpathian Brigade and the organisers are also in discussion with a number of other Ukrainian charities about being beneficiaries.
The event has also attracted some high-profile Ukrainian supporters from the sweet science. Former heavyweight world boxing champion Vitali Klitschko, who is now the mayor of the Ukrainian capital city Kyiv, and two-weight boxing world champion Oleksandyr Usyk have both signed and donated merchandise which will be sold on the night to swell the fund-raising total further.
It’s a varied card which should appeal to fans of almost any type of combat, with gloved boxing, bare-knuckle boxing, kickboxing and MMA bouts all on the busy schedule.
There are also three Ukrainian fighters coming over to the UK to take part in the event. Dmitry Shevchenko meets Fred Willis in a fight under K1 rules in the main event, while Liubov Oksha faces Wendellin de la Cruz in a gloved boxing match and Marina Balko takes on Danielle Ashfield in an MMA contest.
What is Cage Star and what have the organisers said about Ukraine?
Christina and Alex formed Cage Star earlier this year, and the idea is to take people who are not professional fighters and train them in MMA under the guidance of professional coaches before they take part in a fight. The card at Bowlers is the first show Cage Star has been involved with.
Christina and Alex are third-generation Ukrainians and were born in Manchester but grew up immersed in Ukrainian culture and often visited the country for holidays and to see family and friends. Their grandmother Maria Sawdyk came to Britain in 1990 and became a director of the Ukrainian school in Manchester, which taught children the Ukrainian language as well as the country’s literature, history and geography.
Their father Oleh followed her to the UK in 1993 and quickly settled in Britain after meeting Christina and Alex’s mum Claire.
Christina spoke of what it has been like this year seeing the country invaded by Russia and her determination to do something to help the country in its time of greatest need.
She said: “Since the outbreak of the war in February we, along with all fellow Ukrainians across the world, have been deeply saddened and lost for words by these horrendous acts of aggression. When the invasion first happened it was very surreal. We are here living our normal lives and your close people are in the middle of a war zone. You want to do something but there’s actually nothing you can do.
“My parents set up a Skype call in their house and have had it on every day so we would all speak to everyone there in the evening and make sure they are all OK. There were times in the calls when we would hear in the background something going off like a bomb or a rocket. It’s hard and it’s hard to explain as well. We still cannot comprehend what continues to occur.
“Even though the west of Ukraine is thought to be safer my family there still have the lights turned off all through the night, the village goes into complete darkness. All the electricity goes off as well.
“The whole community has been working together, gathering supplies and necessary resources for Ukrainians, and in the light of this we wanted to do something more and we came up with this idea. Hopefully with this event we will raise a decent amount of money to send over and also raise awareness and say that this is still going on.
“3D Fight Club has also helped us a lot with this event to support a good cause and raise money for Ukraine.”
Christina is also hoping that Cage Star will put on a second event next year on 24 February to mark a year since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.