A highly touted athlete to watch this afternoon at the European MMA finals is Poland’s Iwo Baraniewski (pictured centre). Accoladed as a two-times GAMMA gold medallist, at the 2022 European Championships and  2021 Worlds, Baraniewski was also awarded best fighter at the world event.

Coming into the 2024 Euros with an 11-win streak, including two professional wins, the heavyweight made light work of his opponent Gabriek Tysz of Slovakia in yesterday’s Semi-Finals defeating him by TKO just 38 seconds into round 1.

This afternoon he faces Moldova’s Cristian Constantinov, who closed the Semi’s with stunning first round KO. Needless to say, the culminating bout of the European Championships looks to be explosive!

We caught up briefly with Iwo last night as he prepped for the Finals.

Talk us through your Semi-Finals bout. Is it how you expected it to go?

Yes – This was my gameplan for this fight. I went for the take down to take the fight to the ground. I knew I had to be careful when standing.

What do you know about your opponent for the finals, and how you think the match will go?

I think it will be a strong fight, but we will see how it goes…

How have you been training for the Euros and what are your personal goals?

I have trained mainly at my club for all aspects of preparation for the Championships. A few times, I have trained also at another gym to get experience with different people.  My goal is to be the best in the world in my division.

Do you have other responsibilities and how do you balance it with training.

Train and competing is my job. I also coach.

How did you get into MMA, and did you train in other sports before?

When I was younger I trained in judo for many years. I always wanted train in MMA and I told myself if I don’t make it to the Olympic Games, I will train in MMA

What have been the biggest challenges you have had to overcome and what keeps you motivated?

My biggest challenges have been from many injuries which led to my losses.  I had to learn to think positively and win against my own mind in this situation. My biggest motivation comes from my family, my girlfriend and my friends. They give me my power.

What would earning another gold medal for your country mean to you and what are your ultimate goals in MMA?? 

I will be extremely happy. I want to be a UFC champion in the future.

Watch the GAMMA MMA European Championship Finals from 15:00 hrs CEST on GAMMA Facebook or YouTube