Born on July 8, 1975, Azem Maksutaj is a former kickboxer from Switzerland who fought in several weight classes including lightweight, cruiserweight, welterweight, middleweight, super middleweight, and light heavyweight. He moved to Switzerland at a young age, having originally been from Kosovo, and at the age of fifteen he started training in Muay Thai. He began competing in 1992 and won the Swiss national lightweight championship. In 1994, he moved up to compete in the 77 kg (170 lb; 12 st 2 kg) super middleweight class and won both European and world titles. Maksutaj transitioned from light heavyweight to cruiserweight in the late 1990s, winning five world titles in each weight class before moving up to heavyweight in 2001.
Career And Life
In 1975, Maksutaj, a Kosovar Albanian, was born in Deqan, SFR Yugoslavia (now Kosovo), as the second of four children. Growing up, he didn't spend much time with his father because he was a guest worker when his father relocated to Switzerland in the late 1970s. Maksutaj moved to Winterthur, Switzerland in 1990, when he was fifteen years old, together with the rest of his family, as part of a wave of Yugoslav immigrants. He quickly started training in Muay Thai at the Wing Thai Gym as a solution to escape his problems because he couldn't speak the language and was having issues integrating.
Though he fought mostly as an undersized heavyweight, Maksutaj was renowned for both his technical prowess and ferocity. Having competed in one hundred professional matches, he retired in 2010 having won fourteen world titles in different weight classes.
In an attempt to end his losing streak, Maksutaj turned to the local circuit again. He won several matches there, including a points victory over Erhan Deniz in Bratislava, Slovakia on September 7, 2007. On April 26, 2008, Maksutaj made a comeback to K-1 competition at the K-1 World Grand Prix 2008 in Amsterdam, where he faced the promising Tyrone Spong. The young Surinamese fighter outmatched him from the beginning, dropping him with a knee to the body early in the first round and then knocking him down again with punches at the close of the round. Maksutaj's K-1 losing run reached five when Spong finished him off with a second knee hit to the body during the second round. The second knockdown ruled invalid since the bell spared him.
On June 1, 2007, Maksutaj tied the knot in Winterthur, Switzerland. Not too many weeks later, his kid was born. In 2010, the life and career documentary Being Azem was released.