Ahead of his professional mixed martial arts bow under the EFC Worldwide banner this weekend in South Africa, undefeated amateur standout, Taka ‘The Cat’ Mhandu has described the “once in a generation” relationship he shares with Team KF leader, Cage Warriors and The Ultimate Fighter alum, Chris ‘The Housewives’ Choice’ Fields.
Mhandu, 23, enters his professional debut at EFC 89 in South Africa, boasting a perfect 6-0 amateur record, making his professional bow against Asiashu Tshitamba in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The bantamweight prospect, who plys his trade at Team KF in Swords, Dublin beneath the aforenoted, Fields and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu player, Tom King — has been touted as one of the most exciting prospects to emerge in recent years on the island.
Mhandu, who lost his father at a young age, spoke very highly of his relationship with Fields, comparing him to a father figure and an elder sibling.
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“My relationship with Chris (Fields) is really something only seen once every generation, he’s like a father figure, a big brother, a coach, for all of us on the team,” Mhandu said. “There’s a real synergy between us when it comes to development in the gym and then on fight night.“
The confidence Mhandu carries into his professional bow comes from the prior experience gained by Fields and the aforenoted, King, citing the pair’s intentions to continually test themselves in combat sports.
“I have so much confidence in my ability because I know the people coaching me have lived and done it at the highest level for their entire career,” Mhandu explained. “Tom King still competes and shows out in IBJJF tournaments internationally or Chris always looking for the hardest fights for himself because he wants to test himself against the best. Also, I wouldn’t be anywhere close to the fighter I am without Chris so I can’t wait to get the W and see that big grin on his face after.“
Mhandu, who’s nicknamed ‘The Cat’ — earned that sobriquet from Fields following his first amateur outing, with the renowned head coach eying feline similarities with his movement and quick footed approach, as well as a play on words on the ‘city of temples‘, Katmandu.
“‘The Cat’ is something Chris came up with after my very first novice competition just from watching me move,” Mhandu revealed. “I’m very light on my feet and quick when needs be. And it rolls off the tongue with my second name, Mhandu, like the Nepalese city of Katmandu, so it’s a good fit.“
Off the back of a sextet amateur run of victories, Mhandu is aiming to kick off his professional career against Tshitamba with a highlight-reel finish.
“I had such an amazing amateur career and I just want to trickle that form into my professional career and with the way training has gone, I’m gonna blow it out of the water,” Mhandu said. “I want to kick this off in emphatic fashion with a big finish.“
Senior writer for FightBook MMA. An aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Producer of news articles, interviews, opinion features, and exclusive features such as, ‘The Fallout’, ‘The Breakdown, and, ‘This Week In MMA’.
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