Tembo opens Mixed Mar­tial Arts cen­tre at Byo’s Bar­ber­ton Gym

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sports - Ricky Zililo Se­nior Sports Reporter

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

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