Keep­ing it in the fam­ily

CityPress - - Sport - SIL­VER SIBIYA sil­ver.sibiya@city­press.co.za

Cairo Howarth is the master­mind be­hind one of the world’s lead­ing mixed mar­tial arts or­gan­i­sa­tions, the ground­break­ing Ex­treme Fight­ing Cham­pi­onship (EFC).

South African sport fa­nat­ics may be won­der­ing who the bright spark is be­hind one of the world’s fastest grow­ing sports.

Howarth (34) is not only the pres­i­dent but also the co-founder of the show with his two broth­ers, Si­las (37) and Calvin (32).

Howarth’s love for mar­tial arts dates back to his child­hood, when he took part in judo and karate. And, of course, one of his favourite movies was The Karate Kid.

In the past few years, he stopped train­ing as a boxer, but still in­dulges in the com­bat sport Muay Thai, “which I am re­ally en­joy­ing at the mo­ment”.

Born in Eng­land, Howarth grew up in South Africa.

“My fam­ily moved to Jo­han­nes­burg when I was two years old,” says the fa­ther of three boys: four-year-old twins and a five-month-old. Af­ter com­plet­ing high school at Craw­ford Col­lege in Sand­ton, he en­rolled at the Univer­sity of Jo­han­nes­burg, but could not com­plete his BCom in mar­ket­ing man­age­ment as he had also started dab­bling in busi­ness. “I started two busi­nesses: a TV pro­duc­tion com­pany with my older brother Si­las; and South Africa’s first on­line record shop. “I spent all my time work­ing on our busi­nesses and ended up skip­ping classes at var­sity. “I dropped out af­ter two years with­out com­plet­ing my de­gree.” But all was not lost as he has proven to be a suc­cess­ful busi­ness­man. EFC has made his­tory by be­com­ing the first brand to win back-to-back Sport Brand of the Year gongs at the 2014 and 2015 Dis­cov­ery Sport In­dus­try Awards. On the fu­ture of the EFC, he says: “The fu­ture is ex­tremely bright for EFC. “Although a lot has been achieved and we have seen mas­sive growth since the in­cep­tion, there is still so much more to come.” Howarth is mar­ried to Angie and now lives in Cape Town.

PHOTO: AN­TON GEYSER / EFC WORLD­WIDE / GALLO IMAGES

MORE TO COME EFC Africa pres­i­dent Cairo Howarth says the fu­ture of his baby is bright

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