EFC Africa drawing continent-wide talent

Monday, October 07, 2013

Africa is massive, with a massive warrior tradition. As seen below, you can fit the USA, China, and India inside of it, with space left over for Japan, plus most of Eastern and Western Europe.

The continent has birthed some of the great warriors in history, from Hannibal to Shaka. Too it has a deep martial arts tradition. Until it was banned in 393 AD, the Romans famously fought with a caestus (think MMA with brass knuckles). The practice spread. The terracotta figures below date to 200-100 BC.

And it never died as it did in the West. As a child in Nigeria in the 1960s, I went to a harvest festival where they still fight with a caestus, along with the familiar wrestling to a throw, upper body grips only.

The ancient, pan African fighting traditions have entered the cage, as EFC Africa for the first time features a title fight without a South African.

Bongani Magasela from South Africa’s Business Day Live has the story.

Never before in the history of the Extreme Fighting Championship Africa have two non-South Africans fought for the title.

Angolan Demarte “The Wolf” Pena will put his featherweight title on the line against Alain “Commander Boy” Ilunga, from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

EFC Africa president Cairo Howarth dubbed this fight the “Battle for the Continent.”

“We’ve been waiting for such a clash to happen. For us, it is proof that the idea of having an Africa-only MMA championship is not only working, it is thriving,” he said.

Pena is undefeated after seven fights, while Ilunga has tasted one defeat against five wins.

Howarth said the Johannesburg-based champion, who took his very first fight with only two days’ notice, has evolved into a brutally tough competitor with a accomplished skill set.

“In Alain, though, Pena may finally have met his match,” warned Howarth, who revealed that the Congolese has twice stopped opponents with a single low kick.

The challenger’s camp described their charge as being bigger, stronger and more confident. “If Demarte thinks he’s better on the ground than Alain, then he is lying to himself,” Ilunga’s trainer, Anthony Kettle, warned.

Pena said: “I am blessed to be called a warrior for the people of Angola.”

Ilunga said: “My country is in my heart. When I fight, I fight for the Congo.”

Read entire article…

The pair fight at EFC Africa 24, on Thursday, 10 October 2013, at Carnival City in Johannesburg, South Africa. The card is available via online PPV, and will be televised on SuperSport.