Mathew Lee Marais with on of his training partners and fellow renowned Cape Town athlete, Carlo Schipper. Photo: Supplied
Mathew Lee Marais with on of his training partners and fellow renowned Cape Town athlete, Carlo Schipper. Photo: Supplied

It’s time for the pro leagues for Mathew Lee Marais

By Julian Kiewitz Time of article published Oct 3, 2020

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CAPE TOWN – Mathew Lee Marais may not have chosen Bruce Lee or Michael Jai White as his hero on the big screen, but his choice has not cancelled out the possibility of him becoming one of them when.

With the new and dynamic reality show – Fight to Fame – set to kick off early next year, Mathew is keen on putting his martial arts skills to good use and also enhancing his chances of opening new doors.

“Sounds like fun, yeah I’d be keen to enter,” says the Superman-fan of the Fight to Fame show which aims to create the next line of Hollywood action heroes by taking combat athletes through a series of assessments and obstacle courses with the winners earning a Hollywood production contract.

Looking back at his story, the combat bug bit Mathew like it did so many other now-professional athletes.

“I was looking for a place to get fit and strong … something different to gyming, you know,” says the 29-year-old Durbanville resident.

“I was 19-years-old, a friend recommended Muay Thai and I started training at a gym nearby.”

Ten years on and Mathew has 14 Kickboxing Pro-Am fights (10-4) to his name.

“Those four losses were all by decision,” he reiterates.

“I fought for the (now defunct) Cape Fight League Under-71 Pro-Am title, I went to the South African Championship and got second place, I also earned the Western Province title twice in the Under-71 division.”

Mathew too has a sweet tooth for the sweet science, racking up six boxing fights (1 White Collar event) with five amateur wins.

“I plan on going pro next year while I have more amateur fights planned for this month.”

The Professional Fighting Championship is set to host its first event following the Covid-19 enforced lockdown, that event is set to take place on October 24. Sources have confirmed that there will be no fans available and the venue is yet to be confirmed.

The event has been dubbed Amatuer Fight Night (Rankings), a platform set to help give the amateur scene more structure and help athletes boost their fighting resume.

This could be the stepping stone Mathew is looking for to get closer to his Pro license as the fighters are hungry for more events such as the PFC - which places a huge focus on the amateurs.

“I think South Africa has amazing fighters and coaches but not enough competition locally and nationally for us to compete on a world level for most variants of the arts. I would say we would need to first get better funding and more support from the sporting body in government to allow us to host more competitions for amateurs and pros and to pay pros better so they can make a living,” he adds.

Mathew currently makes his living off the freight-forwarding and logistics (import and export) business while he also runs his own fitness gym in Durbanville.

When he’s not working, the man enjoys nothing better than spending time with his family and a nice home cooked meal.

“Especially a good steak,” says the man who also enjoys video games.

Who knows, maybe - if he takes on this Fight to Fame journey - Mathew and his family will be able see him on a popular video game, too.

Fighters from all backgrounds and the public can join the Fight to Fame either as a contestant or participate by buying the new FF token to interact in the show. For more details, visit www.fight2fame.com.

IOL Sport

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