BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE Zimbabwe’s sole representative at the 2022 International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) which kicks off in Johannesburg today, Lewis Mataya is confident of doing well as he flies the country’s flag in the lightweight division.
A total of 57 athletes from nine countries will participate in the continental championships which are running from April 28-30 at the EFC Arena in South Africa.
The championships will be free-to-view for audiences in African countries and available to immaf.tv subscribers.
This is IMMAF’s first closed tournament on the continent which exclusively features African talent from countries such as Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Tunisia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
South Africa-based Mataya who had a difficult upbringing after losing his parents at a tender age and at one time lived on the streets in Zimbabwe, will be looking to bag a belt.
“I am looking forward to letting out some aggression. It’s one of those big competitions where you can be as violent as you want. The more violent you are, the better. I need that right now. I haven’t fought in a while, and after this, it would be nice if the big organisations can see that they could make a lot of money from signing me up,” Mataya said in an interview with IMMAF’s James Sweetnam.
Mataya says coming from a “broken” country like Zimbabwe inspires him.
“Zimbabwe is a place that most people have given up on. And what better thing in this world than to take a broken thing and fix it like an alchemist and turn it into gold? I want to be the guy who came from a broken home and made an empire.
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“I would like to earn the right to say that I’m the best fighter in the world and the greatest of all time,” he said.
The developmental continental championship is being hosted by Mixed Martial Arts South Africa, in partnership with the EFC Performance Institute.
The competition will begin at the quarterfinal stage on the first day with the semis scheduled for Friday while the finals and medals ceremony are set for Saturday.
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