CAPE TOWN - “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.” These are the hard-hitting words of one of the greatest and most controversial boxers of our time, Mr Michael (Mike) Gerard Tyson.
With a record of 50 wins, 44 knockouts and just six losses, it was clear to see that the orthodox Iron Mike was a man who communicated fluently with his fists . But he was on to something with this 11-word ‘punch line’.
Like in life, confidence can do you the world of good, especially when you’re on the front foot, but it’s how you bounce back from hardship that reveals your true human crunch.
And this character test will commence just after 9pm at the Carnival City on Saturday when two Extreme Fighting Championship (EFC) athletes lay their unblemished fighting records on the line.
South Africa’s Deon Bruning, who trains out of the Pride Fighting Academy in Gardens, Cape Town, has stood tall in a stacked and highly-talented Lightweight division. With crisp boxing, smooth transitioning and submission attacks of a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt standard, the man who spent the first half of his Mixed Martial Arts career in England has done well to tally-up four victories and one draw.
“There are so many things that contributed to each win. I have always put 100 percent dedication into each fight, I had a great team and support around me and was fortunate to step away as the winner,” says the modest man they call ‘Bonzai’.
On Saturday, Bruning puts all his skill and knowledge on the table against a ruthless warrior from the industrial city of Liverpool, England.
With a nickname ‘Big Tasty’, it is clear that Gavin Hughes - who fights out of Blackedge MMA in Wigan - has an appetite for chewing on fighters' dreams and digesting it with ease.
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And his 8-0 record brings validity to that sentiment. The Englishman flew down to Mzansi having never been past the second round yet, forcing fighters to either submit or putting them to sleep with his arms and legs.
Trying his best to not ring any sounds of arrogance, Bruning sent out a subtle warning to Hughes: “His or my record doesn’t mean anything to me, for me, it’s just another fight with another opponent. He’s had a lot of fights, but he’s never faced anyone like me before. I believe I’m a completely different class of fighter than what he has faced before.
“Although I have a black belt in Jiu Jitsu, my focus is never on submisions. I will walk into that cage with a clear mind and try my best to capitalise on any mistake Hughes makes.”
There is not only an undefeated record on the line for the sniper-like Bruning and the ruthless Hughes, but also a shot at the Lightweight title against the champion Don ‘Magic Man’ Madge.
Madge is one of EFC’s elite, with unmatched striking, a highly-developed wrestling and boxing technique and a body kick that will make you call for your mommy.
A win tomorrow night for either Lightweight warriors will guarantee them a chance to expose the ‘Magic Man’.
“The idea of fighting for the title is exciting, but all my focus is 100 percent on my next fight,” adds Bruning.
This fight takes place on the main card ahead of the light heavyweight championship bout between Champion Dalcha and Stuart Austin.
But don’t be surprised if this battle steals the punch-line of the night.