JOHANNESBURG, Gauteng – This past weekend, amateurs across the African continent made their way to the 2022 IMMAF Africa Championships in Johannesburg, South Africa. From the 28th to the 30th of April 2022, MMA athletes fought their hearts out in a bid to be recognized by the biggest MMA federation in the world, IMMAF.
The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation is committed to putting Africa on the international map and Scuffle Media, a media partner for the event, shares the same vision. President of IMMAF, Kerith Brown expressed that, “Africa is a key area for us in terms of development. There’s a massive growth of MMA in Africa but there’s [still] a lot more work to be done.”
The need for development of MMA in Africa is evident in Angola competing for the first time at an IMMAF Africa championship. “MMA in my country is a baby but we are getting there,” says medallist, Evandro Francisco.
In total, 7 countries were represented at the annual event, from DRC, Namibia, Zambia, Angola, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mauritius. What makes the IMMAF Championships so compelling is that only amateur fighters can compete. With their eyes on that prized international MMA fighting contract, each fighter entered the cage to show that they do have what it takes to turn pro.
It takes months of training for an athlete to prepare for a fight and could take years for them to go professional. But it is not only the physical ability of a fighter that matters but also the smarts. Zimbabwean Lewis ‘Porcupine’ Mataya said “I won in there because I was very smart and attentive.” Mataya was the only fighter representing his country and took home a gold medal in the lightweight division.
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In the light heavyweight division, Philani Shabalala from South Africa also walked away with a gold medal for his team. The host nation took home 5 gold medals while Angola received 4 gold medals. Namibia also came out ahead.
With plenty of silver and bronze medallists proudly displaying their wins, it was clear as day that Africa won’t stop fighting until it gets to the top.
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Founder, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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