- Hamza Allal is 27 years old and has been practicing combat sports for more than ten years. Recently, he participated twice in the King of the Streets (KOTS). This organization organizes illegal fights in secret locations.
- If the KOTS often fights hooligans who also defend political ideas, Hamza defines himself as "apolitical" and he is not really into football.
- As he walks towards his opponent, Hamza explains that he feels an "animal" feeling.
Somewhere deep in Sweden, in the middle of a disused hockey field, two men face each other, advancing towards each other. One has his body covered with tattoos, the other has a youthful face. Nearly ten years separate the two men. "At that moment, it's killed or killed," says Hamza, the younger of the two, from Bordeaux. After that little moment when you ask yourself 'what am I doing here', it's instinct that takes over."
And for good reason the Kings of the Streets (KOTS) appeals to what is most animal in the fighters who participate. No rules, no time limit, gloves or referee, only two "warriors" facing each other and where only abandonment or the knockout ends the fight. Hamza's first fight, in June 2022, ended in a victory by technical knockout, but both men ended up covered in blood. "It was the best moment of my life, no one gave me a winner," he recalls.
"At first, it seemed a bit barbaric to me"
Hamza Allal is however a fan of combat sports. For ten years now, he has been following the path of his father, a boxer. "I started with Muay Thai, now I train almost every day." After a few fights at YFC, he heard about KOTS from a friend. "At first, it seemed a little barbaric, then I was seduced by the atmosphere there, you can't find it anywhere else."
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Often, the organisation is prized by hooligans from all over Europe, some of whom fight for their political ideas. "There are sometimes fights between fascists and antifascists or between hooligans, but always well trained in combat," says the one who joined the Gironde capital in 2018. He defines himself as "apolitical" and is not really connected to football so it is only accompanied by his coach that he crosses Europe to represent the France in a parking lot or on a disused hockey field.
Illegal, but not amateur
"It's very well organized, they pay us for plane tickets and hotels, and then we learn the same day we fight." Only a few spectators are at the edge of the makeshift rings: members of the organization, coaches or fighters waiting for their turn. "There are always trained nurses and cars available to transport fighters to the nearest hospital."
"Each of the KOTS fighters will pocket at least between 500 and 1,000 euros if he wins, I do not know if I have the right to say the exact amount," explains the one nicknamed the Inquisitor. The business model is simple: a paid platform allows you to watch the fights live and bet on a future winner. With more than one million subscribers on YouTube, the organization can also count on sponsorship contracts.
Defeated in his second fight last March, Hamza will leave the illegal rings for the octagon. On June 17, he will participate in the MMA GP at the Arkéa Arena in Bordeaux.
- New Aquitaine