For fighter Issy, health and safety come first
CAPE TOWN – The Covid-19 pandemic has almost brought Mother Earth to a grinding halt. It has cost thousands of people their lives and brought grief upon millions of families. The pandemic has affected us all in one way or the other.
Sport got no special treatment, as countless events were given the break-time whistle up until recently.
For Isghaack Ebrahim, all this means is that he will have to wait that little bit longer to represent his beloved South Africa at the Fifth Thai and International Martial Arts Festival.
Isghaack was selected to represent the SA Muay Thai organisation at the event, hosted by the World Muay Thai Organisation (WMO).
The event was “postponed indefinitely” due to the Covid-19 pandemic, though.
“To fighters, coaches, friends and families of the Fifth Martial Arts Games and Festival, we have seen a steady incline in the number of Covid-19 cases worldwide. The health and safety of all is our highest priority,” said Mr Sirisompan, president of the organising committee of the event in a statement earlier this year.
“We look forward to finding a new date for the event later this year."
More than 40 countries were set to participate at the event that was originally planned for 7-18 March on Pattaya beach front in Thailand.
“It was very disappointing, but not demotivating,” said Isghaack after receiving the news of the event’s status.
“It’s a bleak situation, yes, but health and safety is the number one priority right now and takes precedence over everything. I am a tough man mentally, so I’ll take it as an extra camp before my next fight.
“My Kru (instructor) Nicholas Radley and team at Thaiholics really pushed me further than ever, far enough to perform at a higher level than before which will only benefit me going forward… so all was not lost,” said Isghaack who was set to represent Samo (South African Muay Thai Organisation) in the sub-75kg pro-am category.
This year’s event is set to be even bigger as there are more disciplines included.
The festival will have amateur, pro-am and professional Muay Thai, along with other disciplines like boxing, K1, Muay Boran, Jeet Kune Do etc.
But until that event materialises, Isghaack has focused on what is in front of him and what he can control now, following SA's long and labouring lockdown which saw plenty of businesses including gyms close their doors.
“We also just recently returned to training. Thaiholics is looking to host a GITR (GET IN THE RING) Muay Thai streaming event this year or when restrictions allow. And I am hoping to fight then,” says the man they call “Issy” in the gym.
Amid the lockdown mayhem, Issy has taken the time to acknowledge and appreciate all the finer and simpler things in life.
“I am really looking forward to everything when life returns to normal again.
“Gym, fast food, random drives and being able to speak with people face to face,” says Issy - who considered doing Muay Thai training - with the help of his wife - while training for the Two Oceans in 2017.
“I have not looked back since,” he added after allowing the Muay Thai bug to land a solid KO. “I love everything about Muay Thai, especially the traditions and respect in the Muay Thai community.”
With the current lack of opportunities for fighters, Issy, too has warmed up to the idea of Fight to Fame and the doors it can open for combat athletes across Africa.
“It looks very interesting. After Googling it, it looks like something very cool, I would definitely be interested in it," Issy said.
Fight to Fame is a new reality show concept based on a #BMS model (blockchain, movies and sport) that has landed on African shores and is tipped to be the new big reality show in the lounges of households across the globe.
The show is designed to create Hollywood movie stars out of real-life combat sports athletes using crypto currency (blockchain) to regulate and purchase within the show.
The show which is being rolled out to 200 countries - including SA - will see fighters enter a reality television show where they will be subjected to several assessments including stunt work, acting, training etc.
The winners from these shows will then have the opportunity to earn a role in a Hollywood movie production and open bigger doors than just that of the fight game. A much-needed opportunity in the thriving and still growing mixed martial arts landscape of Africa.
“Imagine uncovering all the gems in Africa. Look at the UFC and their Nigerian champs!
"The combat sport climate in Africa is still growing. Not all professional fighters make enough from their fighting alone,” added Issy.
Fighters from all backgrounds and the public can join Fight to Fame either as a contestant or participate by buying the new FF token to interact in the show.
For more details, visit https://www.fight2fame.com@juliankiewietz