The saying goes that there is a great woman behind every great man, and Kiamrian “Brazen” Abbasov can testify that it is true.
The Kyrgyz athlete is one step away from reaching the pinnacle of mixed martial arts – he will challenge Zebaztian “The Bandit” Kadestam for the ONE Welterweight World Title this Friday, 25 October at ONE: DAWN OF VALOR – and he says he owes all his success to Nona Alieva, his mother.
“For my whole life, she has been my main motivation and inspiration,” he says.
“I did not become a professional mixed martial artist to become famous, the main reason was to make her life easier, help her, and pay her back for all those years she’s been tirelessly supporting me.”
Abbasov’s family was torn apart when his parents divorced. He was just 3 years old when his father left him, his mother, and sister behind.
That meant Alieva held down two or three jobs at a time to provide enough food and clothes for her children.
“She was my mother, my father, my best friend, my confidant, and my inspiration,” the 26-year-old adds.
“We have never had any financial support from my father – not once. She really had to fight for me then, and now I am fighting for her. I feel it is my duty to help her and look after her.”
Because she was not around all the time, it was difficult for her to keep her son on the right path. He started to neglect his studies and skipped school, which he hid from his mother at first.
“I have not finished school, actually,” he admits.
“After seven years, I dropped out because I had to work. I used to go to school in the morning, and then skip the last couple of classes to go to work instead.”
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Nona Alieva eventually found out that “Brazen” was working in a car repair shop, and she did not approve.
However, his motivation came from a place of compassion. He only wanted to earn some money to help his mother, and with his first proper salary, he bought her a new mobile phone. It was a gesture that moved her to tears.
“Her phone was too old and recently broke,” he explains.
“I wanted to make a grand gesture, so I got her the best phone I could with my month’s entire earnings.”
Though Nona Alieva did not dream that her son would pursue a career as a professional martial artist, she did not stand in his way.
In fact, she was happy to see her brother take “Brazen” under his wing and put him on the road to success with his first lessons on the mats.
“Everything that has to do with sport, I learned from my uncle, Yakub Aliev, an amazing wrestling coach,” he explains.
“She probably realized that I needed a father figure in my life, and uncle Yakub gave me what my own father did not.”
Although Nona Alieva has continued to encourage Abbasov as he has developed into one of the best martial artists in the world, her support only goes so far. She cannot bear to watch her son step into harm’s way, so she has never sat down to cheer him on in the Circle.
“If the broadcast is live, she leaves the room and only comes back to find out the result when everything is over,” he adds.
Abbasov always appreciated what his mother did for him, but he only really understood how she was so driven when he started his own family.
Shortly after he moved to Russia to join the Novorosfight team in 2015, he got married. A year later, his daughter, Jasmine, was born, and everything fell into place. Now, that same motivation will power him through his battle with Kadestam at ONE: DAWN OF VALOR.
“Many years ago when I was a little kid, my mother used to tell me that I would understand her better when I have my own kids,” he explains.
“When [Jasmine] came into my life, I realized what my mother used to say about feeling this great responsibility to give your child the best start in life.
“Now, I am motivated more than ever before. I want to make all my girls happy – my mom, my wife, and my daughter.”