From “Kremlin Bear” to ISIS militant – the story of Sherip Daudov

I’ve written before (and I will again soon — watch this space) about young up-and-coming sportsmen joining IS. Here’s another example.

On 30 March 2014, the FiSyria website, which at the time was loyal to Umar Shishani, wrote a “martyr biography” of one Abdulla Shishani, who had been killed in a recent battle near Deir Ezzor. The post included a video, which shows Abdulla with other fighters from his battalion gathering before the battle in a small stadium. (If anyone can tell me where this is, I will be very happy!)

The post describes how Abdulla gave up an already-successful career in boxing to join the “path of Allah” in Syria. The author of the post was keen to emphasize that Abdulla had been a boxing champion, but he didn’t give any direct information about who Abdulla was:

Чемпион по боксу или муджахид?
30.03.2014 Новости 24 Comments
В прошлом, известный чемпион по боксу, а нынешний — муджахид и шахид, иншааЛлах, — Абдулла из Чечни. Так его звали на благословенных землях Шама. Имея всю дунью за спиной, все прелести этого тленного мира, он оставляет это и заключает сделку с Аллахом. В последней операции под Дейр эз-Зором, наш любимый брат Абдулла пал шахидом. Это был человек, который всегда проявлял любовь и ненависть ради Аллаха, где и с кем бы не находился.

Помню случай, когда на базе он подшутил над мной и я слегка обиделся на него, тогда он подошел ко мне отдельно и сказал: «Ты извини меня, если я что-то не так я сделал, не обижайся». В тот момент, я начал любить этого брата и сам понимал, что только тот мусульманин, который унижает свой нафс может решиться на такой поступок.

Я не помню, чтобы он пропустил хотя бы один бой, даже с хромой ногой он рвался на передовую.С врагами он был дерзким. Складывалось такое впечатление, что этот человек готов стрелять без остановки. В последнем бою он один из первых дал пулеметную очередь, но в ответ по Воле Аллаха прилетел снаряд и Всевышний забрал его душу. Рядом с ним находился наш брат — Абу Усама Убейда аль-ансари, о котором мы расскажем отдельно, с следующей статье, иншааЛлах.

A boxing champion, or a mujahid?

In the past, a famous boxing champion, and now — a mujahid and martyr — Abdulla from Chechnya. That’s what they called him in the blessed lands of Sham. He had the whole world at his back, all the delights of this corruptible world, and he goes and leaves that and makes a deal with Allah. In the last operation near Deir Ezzor, our beloved brother Abdulla fell a martyr. This was a person who always showed love and hate for the sake of Allah, wherever and with whomever he was.

I remember an occasion at the base when he joked around with me and I got a bit offended at him, then he came to me separately and said, “I’m sorry if I did something wrong, don’t be upset.” At that moment, I began to love that brother and I understood that only a Muslim who lowers his nafs could decide on such an act.

I don’t remember him missing a single battle, even with a lame leg he was eager for the front. With the enemy, he was cocky. You got the impression that this guy was prepared to fire without stopping. IN the last battle he was one of the first to give machine gun fire but in response by the will of Allah a shell flew in and the Almighty took his soul. Next to him was our brother Abu Ubeyda Al Ansar, who we’ll write about in the next article.

Abdulla was in fact Sherip Daudov from Gudermes in Chechnya.

Sherip had indeed been a boxer, and was part of a group known as the “Kremlin Bears.”

In May 2009, Sherip was set to fight in Yerevan, Armenia in the heavyweight (91kg+) category of the AIBA Junior World Championships.

But there was a problem. The age categories for the Juniors was boxers between 15 and 16 (athletes born between January 1st, 1993 and December 31st, 1994). Sherip was born on 05.07.1991, making him two years too old. Apparently, his trainers lied about his age — the most likely explanation is because he seemed likely to win. So he was disqualified in Yerevan. According to news61.ru, “the coaches had a lot of hopes on Daudov, expecting that he would bring “gold” to the Russian team in the heaviest weight [category]. But as it turned out, documents showed him to be older, and that was why he had beaten his opponents.”

Sherip appears to have fought again, as an adult, according to news reports from 2011, when he would have been 20 years old. But the outcome of the fights are unclear.

Photos show that Sherip was also present at a press conference in Kiev around 6 October 2012, when Chechen boxer Zaur Baysangurov fought (and beat) the Czech fighter Lukas Konecny. If Sherip fought on the undercard, I can’t find any evidence of it, but the full undercard doesn’t seem to have been published anywhere. It looks like Sherip had the same promoter as Zaur.

This is the photo uploaded to FiSyria:

And here’s another photo of the same press conference:

Sometime between late 2012 and late 2013/early 2014, Sherip abandoned his boxing career — such as it was — and took off for a different type of fighting in Syria. He was only added to Rosmonitoring’s list of terrorists and extremists in January 2016, after his death, and is still there (because Russia does not consider an announcement in FiSyria sufficient to consider a person killed…there is a suspicion that the death announcements are faked in order to allow the wanted person to escape, obtain false papers and head to Turkey or Europe).

Sherip appears on other photos we have of his battalion in Syria.

And here he is in a still from the FiSyria video: