Hambleton Scores TKO Over Trent In Record-Breaking Chessboxing Event

Hambleton Scores TKO Over Trent In Record-Breaking Chessboxing Event


GM Aman “Chessbrah” Hambleton was able to confirm a resounding, albeit controversial win over IM Lawrence Trent via technical knockout (TKO) during Sunday’s landmark Mogul Chessboxing Championship, organized by Twitch’s streamer of the year and Pogchamps participant Ludwig Ahgren (known best as Ludwig).

The match between popular chess streamers WGM Dina Belenkaya and Andrea Botez was equally thrilling and resulted in a clutch victory for Belenkaya after she survived a brutal onslaught from Botez, who had her opponent on the ropes during the boxing rounds.

Five other chessboxing matches, as well as two “smashboxing” matches (Super Smash Brothers-cross-boxing), played out to 10,000 energized fans who filled the Galen Center in Los Angeles to the brim. 558k viewers also tuned in live to Ludwig’s Youtube stream, which was a record for the streamer as well as the sport of chessboxing.

How to watch?
You can rewatch all the action from the Mogul Chessboxing Championship on Ludwig’s Youtube Channel. The chess games can also be reviewed from our Events Page.

Live broadcast of the match, hosted by Ludwig, IM Levy Rozman, and chessboxing world champion Matt Thomas.

After the innovative “smashboxing” undercard was complete, fans were treated to seven chessboxing matches, culminating in a clash between streamers Disguised Toast and PointCrow. To kick off proceedings, BoxBox, one of Pogchamps original contenders, stepped into the ring to face content creator Stanz.

Facing the French Defense as White in round one, the league of legends star found himself in deep trouble after some handy preparation from Stanz but was saved by the buzzer.

The unique rules of chessboxing indicate that after four minutes of chess the players would have to duke it out in a minute-and-a-half round of boxing. The combatants traded blows early but it was Stanz who invoked a standing eight count after connecting with a right-handed jab to his opponent’s temple. 

Stanz wasn’t able to land a decisive blow. Photo: Chandler Toffa/Chess.com.

As the third round (chess) drew to a close Stanz missed a checkmate in seven after a queen blunder by White and the players began the next round of boxing with a relatively equal chess position. Clearly gaining the upper hand over his opponent, Stanz cried out in agony after taking a hit to the right shoulder and quickly yielded, citing dislocation and forfeiting the opening match.

The second match between Chris Broad (known as AbroadInJapan) and Overtflow, the CEO of GameStop, was a laborious affair and went the distance, the final result being confirmed only after Overtflow, who also happens to be a black belt in Brazilian Ju-Jitsu, ran out of time in the seventh round. The highlight of the encounter was almost certainly the queen blunder by AbroadInJapan, which he later said he was glad for!

Smash streamer Hugs was the next to pick up one of Ludwig’s “two million dollar” championship belts (note: although we cannot confirm this, this is likely a joke) after defeating fellow streamer Hugs by TKO in round two. It was somewhat of a shame that the match finished so early given Toph’s enterprising play with White against the French Defense, with an eighth move brilliancy leaving viewers wondering just how good Toph is.

As the evening wore on suspense only grew as the match that chess fans around the world had been waiting for, the showdown between Hambleton and Trent, arrived. As the masters entered the arena, Trent paid tribute to one of the fathers of chessboxing, Iepe Rubingh, while Hambleton strolled in supported by a live rap performance.

Hyped up! Hambleton had the crowd on their feet. Photo: Chandler Toffa/Chess.com.

Hambleton, playing with the white pieces, opted for an imbalanced line of the London System and the two busted out 23 moves in the first round, more than any other game throughout the event. Although Trent managed to equalize and garner the bishop pair, Hambleton’s experience in chess shone through and he managed to build an important +1 advantage heading into the opening round of boxing.

While Trent made it clear that he belonged to a chessboxing club and regularly practiced the sport, Hambleton’s boxing ability was less known before the fight. With all eyes on his gloves, viewers were presently surprised to see the normally room-bound streamer leap into action and push Trent around the ring for the first 20 seconds of the round.

The Canadian’s low center of gravity and two extra inches of reach allowed him to dominate the fight and a flurry of jabs 23 seconds into the round had Trent stumbling backward. A follow-up shot was arguably the most destructive of the entire event and his English opponent fell over. With the crowd and commentators raucous in audible shock, a TKO was declared and Hambleton raised his arms in victory.

It’s time to celebrate for team Chessbrah! Photo: Chandler Toffa/Chess.com

Trent, pleading with the referee to continue the fight, later took to Twitter to graciously declare that he believed that the correct call was made in the moment.

Despite the adrenaline rush provided by the highest-rated chessboxing match in history, the match between Belenkaya and Botez that followed led Twitter to blow up with claims that it was the highlight of the night. With both having talked a big game in the leadup to the event, the biggest question mark was whether or not Botez could overcome the 500+ point rating gap with the gloves on.

The resounding answer to this… was yes!

The 20-year-old streamer opened the first round with her favorite London System, maintaining a slight edge over her heavily-favored opponent. After 14 moves and the buzzer signaling the first round of boxing, Belenkaya was left with lots to consider on the board.  More importantly, the Russian-Israeli WGM had to cope with an animated Botez who was bouncing in her corner with similar intensity to what her fanbase has come to expect during a typical Twitch stream.

Botez was joined by her sister, Alexandra, who helped her sister ascend to chess fame. Photo: Chandler Toffa/Chess.com.

The Canadian expert was alarmingly agile during the bout and had her opponent reeling just seconds into the round, clearly showing that she intended to be the aggressor away from the chessboard. Botez connected several times and for a moment, commentators Ludwig, Rozman, and Thomas all hypothesized that her opponent would not be able to continue. Belenkaya did however, survive the round.

When the pair returned to the board the higher-rated player executed her best chess to flip the position in her favor and commenced a desperate attack on White’s kingside. With checkmate impending, the pressure fell on Botez to finish her opponent in the boxing rounds. The match would continue on in this fashion like an episode of Tom and Jerry with the two fighting tremendously to win in their favored discipline. 

Belenkaya turned things around on the chessboard but barely hung on during the boxing. Photo: Chandler Toffa/Chess.com

After falling just short of a TKO in the sixth round, Botez sat down at the board, resigned to the fact that checkmate was moves away, and eventually threw in the towel. 

Two more matches closed out the event between creators Myth and Cherdleys, as well as Disguised Toast and PointCrow. The former of those matches was dominated by some of the most technically sound boxing from the contenders, in stark contrast to the chess that transpired. Myth, who rose to fame off the back of quick thinking in Fortnite, flagged his opponent after just 13 moves!

The final match of the evening was the sole duel to finish via checkmate, with Disguised Toast putting on an exhibition to chase his opponent’s king across the board, interposed with boxing rounds where both players took heavy hits to the head. Finishing with a classic ladder checkmate, the final game fittingly displayed some of the best chess amongst the non-chess professionals on the night.

With record viewership, international media attention, and grudge match storylines unfolding, the Mogul Chessboxing Championship can only be described as a raging success for Ludwig and the chessboxing community, who aim to grow the sport.

The man of the moment. At just 27 years old, Ludwig is a media megastar. Photo: Chandler Toffa/Chess.com.

All Chess Games

The Mogul Chessbooxing Championship, organized by prolific streamer and Pogchamps participant Ludwig is a one-day event that was broadcasted live from the Galen Center in Los Angeles. Featuring the ultimate crossover sport, chessboxing, prolific streamers will battle it out over the board, and in the ring in matches that will be decided by checkmate or knockout over seven rounds.

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