Tembo opens Mixed Martial Arts centre at Byo’s Barberton Gym
RENOWNED fitness trainer Ricky Tembo has opened a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) centre at Bulawayo’s Barberton Gym with the hope of producing fighters that will compete on regional and international stages.
Tembo, a former national taekwondo coach, said they offer boxing, taekwondo and jijistu, which majors on lock downs, strikes and takedowns.
He challenged health and fitness enthusiasts to join his three-week-old club.
“MMA is becoming a big business across the globe and many people are going for it. To be honest, we were inspired by our very own Elvis ‘Bulawayo Bomber’ Moyo, who has made a name showcasing his talent in the Extreme Fighting Championship (EFC) in South Africa. It is our hope that some of the MMA participants from Barberton Gym will by this time next year be in good shape to compete in South Africa,” said Tembo.
South Africa-based cage fighter Moyo knocked out Japanese mixed martial arts veteran Kiyoshi Tamura in the fourth round in a bout staged in Tokyo last month. The Bulawayo-born wrestler-cum-cage fighter fought in a boxer versus wrestler bill, similar to that of Ali versus Inoki in the 1970s. The late boxing great Muhammad Ali fought against professional wrestler Antonio Inoki in 1976 in a bout that inspired the launch of mixed martial arts. It was the first time a boxer had taken on a martial artist. Moyo used the Japan fight as part of his build-up for his heavyweight title bout against Extreme Fighting Championship Africa (EFC) champion Danie van Heerden. Moyo will battle it out with van Heerden in a bill dubbed “The biggest stand-up battle in EFC history” to be held on October 15 at Sun City in Rustenburg in South Africa’s North West province. Tembo said Barberton’s MMA club has 20 members and is confident that the number will double soon. “Besides being fit, martial arts teaches one discipline and self defence. We will soon be embarking on a massive recruitment drive, with youths being our top targets. It will also be interesting if we manage to get female participants, who may use our classes to gain self defence tactics if they are not interested in competing in the sport,” said Tembo. Barberton holds three MMA classes every day of the week. – @ZililoR