A champion who stood in Sassa lines to chase his dreams
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CAPE TOWN – After more than a year’s break, the Extreme Fighting Championship returns this weekend with some cracking professional fights for fans across Africa and the world.
Post EFC84 back in March 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown forced the organisation and so many other sporting brands to take a back-seat. However, things have started to pick-up once again and the promotion could not have returned on a better note.
A stacked card will see the EFC bantamweight king, South Africa’s Faeez “The Troublemaker” Jacobs (7-2) defend his belt for the first time against Zimbabwe’s Sylvester “Gladiator” Chipfumbu (6-3) after the former overcame Nkazimulo Zulu for the vacant strap in 2019.
Tomorrow’s event will also see the return of former featherweight champion and the highly-talented hybrid fighter, Boyd Allen as he takes on veteran Bruno Mukulu in a lightweight match-up.
One fight that is guaranteed to be a contender for Fight of the Night sees former lightweight king, Martin van Staden face firecracker and gamer, the veteran Pietie Coxen.
In the only ladies fight on the card, the gritty Christine Wolmarans (1-0) welcomes debutant, Ceileigh Niedermayr in the prelims.
After a long journey to the top - from being labelled a troublemaker (hence the stage name) and someone who will amount to nothing by his educators in school, to winning the title – Faeez confirmed that lots of sacrifices were made and hardships were encountered on his journey to becoming a mixed martial arts champion, especially during lockdown.
“Things got dark during this time (lockdown),” says Faeez.
“I had a gold belt sitting in my room, but I had donated groceries, I stood in a Sassa (South African Social Security Agency) line, things were tough,” he elaborated, speaking on the hardships of not being able to fight and secure sponsors to cover running costs.
With that said, Faeez pleaded that his opponent be worthy come tomorrow and show-up.
“Sylvester, I hope you have been working, I hope you have been putting in the time. I hope you want this very badly, because on the night, when we get in there, it’s mano a mano, it’s about who wants it more. Bring it … I am coming in there a whole new person. This is going to be the fight of your life,” says Faeez.
Both Faeez and Sylvester’s fight IQs have improved over the last few years with both fighters improving their all-round game from being traditionally striking mixed martial artists. With all things considered, this main event will make for tantalising viewing.
The event will take place at the EFC Performance Institute in Johannesburg. As per government regulations, no fans will be allowed at the event, however, viewers can catch the main card of EFC85 starting at 6pm on SuperSport Action and Variety 3 tomorrow.
Catch the entire interview on MzansiMMA YouTube channel.