BY TERRY MADYAUTA
Sylvester “Gladiator” Chipfumbu’s recent success in the Extreme Fighting Championship (EFC) could open doors for local martial artists, with American woman fighter Carla Esparza and martial artist superstar Themba Gorimbo set to embark on a massive recruitment drive in the country this week.
The Gweru-born Gladiator last month battered defending champion Faeez Jacobs in the main event of the EFC 85 event in South Africa to win the bantamweight world title.
He followed into the footsteps of Gorimbo, who is the EFC welterweight world champion. It appears that the world is beginning to take notice of the talent that Zimbabwe possesses, with Esparza, representing a strawweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), arriving in Harare this week on a scouting mission.
She is targeting to influence women to take up the combat sport.
“I’m very excited to come here to help the sport grow. I started this sport over 11 years ago when it was very new and it has been very amazing to see it grow in the United States,” Esparza said.
“As I see it grow across the world, I definitely want to help grow it here in Zimbabwe and all of Africa, especially for women. It’s great to see a lot of female involvement growing in the UFC and the world and I would like to help in any way I can here in Zimbabwe,” she added.
The American is set to partner with Gorimbo in this endeavour.
While Gorimbo and Chipfumbu have been making headlines across the world, they are based in South Africa and the sport of EFC and UFC is alien to many Zimbabweans.
But this mission is likely to set the base for the two combat sports to be played locally, with the successful stories of Gorimbo and Chipfumbu sure to inspire many locals into it.
- Follow Terry on Twitter @madyautatpm