Anton Sjöqvist promises “masterpiece of violence” in MTFL main event

Going from prospect to dark horse to contender to headliner is no easy feat, but Anton “Pain City” Sjöqvist doesn’t want anything served to him on a silver platter – he embraces the toughest challenges.

From filling out fight cards to headlining as the main event, Sjöqvist has worked his way up through the ranks and will headline Muay Thai for Life 8.0 this Saturday May 25th against Danish-Moroccan World Champion Youssef Assouik.

While this will serve as Sjöqvists toughest challenge to date, he deals with it with the same confident eagerness as he does with anything that gets thrown his way.

From tough loss to winning streak

Earning his nick name from being the hardest working athlete during the grueling training sessions at Tullinge Muay Thai, inside the ring Sjöqvist can be seen as the mayor of “Pain City”, eagerly welcoming new visitors.

Sjöqvist’s debut in MTFL was no walk through a spring meadow, however. Facing off with Helsingborg standout Mustafa Aboutaka at MTFL 3.0 in September of 2022, “Pain City” was riding high, hot off the heels of a dominant performance against Emil Flystam.

The bout with Aboutaka would be a rough one, though.

While Sjöqvist held his own and had many strong moments, Aboutaka led the dance, eventually securing a clear-cut unanimous decision.

In hindsight, that loss has aged like a fine wine from Tuscany, as Aboutaka went on to become the first Swedish male to win the World Muay Thai championships in nearly two decades.

Following the loss to Aboutaka, Sjöqvist would gather himself and returned two events later to face rival Dalian Dawoody at MTFL 5.0. It was the third meeting between the two, with each fighter previously having won one fight each. In order to make the third time the final and to add a little extra to it, both fighters agreed for the winner to get both purses.

Going all in on himself Sjöqvist truly excelled, doing a great job at catching his opponents kicks and firing off his straight right hand like a precision shot from a sniper rifle.

Sjöqvist went on to win a majority decision, settled the score, and left with all the prize money. That win, too, has aged very well as Dawoody went on to win the U23 World Championships.

Since then “Pain City” has lined up two additional wins, first over grizzled veteran Marcus Sundin Liljedorff and then a vicious first round TKO win over Englishman Luke Bennett at MTFL 7.0 in March.

A rocket-like ascent through the ranks

Scoring a huge finish in his home town was excellent on one end as it was a quick but impressive night at the office, but there wasn’t a whole lot of room left for learning as the fight was over almost before it started.

“It was a very short fight, but what I take with me from it is the relaxation and the feeling of calm I felt in the ring, Sjöqvist tells MTFL.”

With each of Sjöqvist’s wins coming in increasingly dominant fashion, the stage was set for his toughest test to date.

“It feels awesome to be main event, especially against such a good opponent like Youssef Assouik! It wont be anything other than a show when we meet.”

Simply looking at shallow stats one might see the match up with Assouik as too tall of an order for Sjöqvist. However at MTFL 6.0 Sjöqvist had absolutely no issues dealing with Liljedorff – a five time Swedish Muay Thai champion, Scandinavian WBC Champ, Nordic champ and two-time world bronze medalist.

Still, the experience difference is staggering. Assouik has more titles than Sjöqvist has pro fights, and the Swede acknowledges that the difference in experience may be factor.

“Assouik has experience, he has many more fights than me and that’ll probably be the toughest part of it.”

While Sjöqvist’s jovial attitude and earnest charisma are a constant wherever he goes, he is still well aware of the dangers that Assouik presents.

Sjöqvist has the right moves for the dance

One moniker that Sjöqvist is bringing back from MTFL 7.0 is his “salsa” – just as good on nachos as on the dance floor.

While at first thought of as some kind of code for special combinations or footwork, Sjöqvist would later reveal that there was no mystery surrounding his newfound fondness for the Latin American dance. He and his girlfriend had been taking salsa lessons and Sjöqvist felt spurred on by it, hoping to move his feet with more violence than his dance lessons would provide.

The result was a resounding success and Sjöqvist is planning on bringing that same heat on Saturday night.

“I’m going to show Assouik my salsa skills, which he hasn’t seen from anyone else! A display of playful Muay Thai and damaging techniques will be the key to victory.”

While being a prospect to keep an eye on for some time, Sjöqvist is truly coming into his own and is on the verge of stardom.

A win over a highly heralded, ranked and merited fighter like Assouik would be a milestone in Sjöqvists career. Though that doesn’t mean that the Stockholmer plans on playing it safe.

Per usual, Sjöqvist is bringing the same aggressive fighting style that has made him a fan favourite.

“As always fans can expect a show from ‘Pain City, a masterpiece of violence!”

Sjöqvist couldn’t have chosen his words more wisely, because he certainly is a fighter that puts the “art” in “martial artist”.

Get your tickets to Muay Thai for Life 8.0 via Tickster and be sure to subscribe to MTFL on YouTube and follow on Instagram!

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