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Tajikistan MMA Champion Dies Fighting for ISIS in Iraq

Tajikistan MMA Champion Dies Fighting for ISIS in Iraq

 

 

An MMA fighter from Tajikistan was killed in an airstrike in Iraq on Feb. 3.

Islamic militant Abu Muhammad al-Tajiki, who was formerly known as Alan Chekranov, was killed after an air strike near Kirkuk in Iraq.

Chekranov was a three-time MMA national champion in Tajikistan.

Radio Ozodi confirmed that Chekranov  was a national champion in the 54kg. weight category. He studied at the Tajik-Russian Slavic University but moved to Russia. From there, he moved to Iraq in 2013.

 

 

Alan Chekranov

Alan Chekranov

 

According to Joanna Paraszczuk from RFERL:

 

The man in the first photograph is named Alan Chekranov, and he is (or, more accurately, was) Tajikistan’s three-time national champion in mixed martial arts and a university student. The man in the second picture is Abu Muhammad al-Tajiki, a Tajik Islamic State militant who was recently killed in a U.S.-led air strike near Kirkuk in Iraq.

It is hard to believe, but Alan Chekranov and Abu Muhammad al-Tajiki are the same person. How did a promising young martial artist and student transform into an Islamic State (IS) militant in such a short time?

From Chekranov To Al-Tajiki

Reports that a notorious Tajik militant had been killed in Iraq emerged on social media earlier this month, after a series U.S.-led air strikes against IS hit near Kirkuk. Four Tajiks were killed, but the one who gained most attention was 21-year-old Abu Muhammad al-Tajiki, or al-Tochiki, who had become known after appearing in videos where he talked about “jihad” in Syria.

Russian-language social media came alive with speculation about the transformation of Chekranov to al-Tajiki.

According to RFE/RL’s Tajik service, Radio Ozodi, Chekranov was born in 1993 in the Shahrtuz region in southwestern Tajikistan. His mother, Maria Chekranova, was an Ossetian and his father was a Tajik named Umar. Chekranov had been registered in official documents under his mother’s maiden name.

In 2010, Chekranov graduated from School No. 4 in the Shahrtuz district and went on to study at the Tajik-Russian Slavic University.

Things seemed to go wrong for Chekranov, however; in 2012, he was expelled from the university for absenteeism and he went to Russia to work.

 

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