Keeping it in the family
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.
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