Kenilworth-based Fighterz Inc members earned top honours at the Western Province kickboxing championships in Bellville, last week.
Duo Cameron “The Spartan One” Abrahams, 17, and Zubeida Hendricks, 15, won gold; while Brendan “‘The Red Dragon” Abrahams, 25, claimed bronze at the WP championships.
Fighterz Inc’s mental and strength conditioning coach, Fidaah Edries, said Cameron and Zubeida performed well on the night, having only joined the gym a short while ago. And, the more experienced Brendan held his own against an unorthodoxed fighter to win bronze.
A Grade 12 pupil at Alexander Sinton High School, Cameron has ambitions of one day fighting on the big stage of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), in America. He acknowledges that to get there, he would need to gain as much experience as possible and work his way into Extreme Fighting Championship (EFC).
Like the old adage, to walk you first need to crawl, and Cameron has now taken his first step in the right direction.
“The was my first time I got into the ring and managed to win gold in the under 63kg weight division,” said Cameron.
“I felt I was ready for this fight because I put in a lot of work at training. When coach asks me to do 10 sprints then I do 20 sprints. I always put in more than what’s expected of me.
“I only joined Fighterz Inc three months ago, and did karate for a year at the age of seven. But, I’ve always been fascinated by Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and got myself a punching bag three years ago, and got back into it,” he said.
Cameron won his bout through TKO in the first minute.
And, he said he learnt a lot from his cameo in the ring.
“I made a couple of mistakes by over-extending into every punch, making it a power punch. But, I’ve been working on this since I got back into the gym,” said Cameron.
“I won my fight after my opponent threw a jab and I slipped to the right, and countered with a left cross. That punch staggered him and he did not want to exchange with me anymore. He kept things close in the clinch but I got the finish with the left overhand,” he said.
Before the young fighter got back into martial arts, he spent weekends on the soccer field with Trinity Spurs FC and had a stint at Rondebosch-based side, Rygersdal FC.
“I also enjoy painting and would like to become an art director once I leave school. I’d like to do visual artwork and be able to talk about it and its composition,” said Cameron.
“Earlier this year, myself and a classmate’s artwork got chosen to be part of a gallery at the Artscape Arena. Mine was a simple idea – I done an A1 drawing of a shoe,” he said.
For the under-60kg weight division bronze winner, Brendan, he’s a financial adviser during the day and a Muay Thai coach at night. The Red Dragon has been in and out of dojos from a young age, but decided to fulfill his enthusiasm for Muay Thai five years ago and began his journey in the ring last year.
“This year I took part in five fights already, of which I got three wins and two losses. Last year, I fought for the first time and it did not go well. I fought with a bad injury – and broke my arm in the ring but did not know it was broken,” said Brendan.
Edries said the fighters are already preparing for the Western Cape Championships – with Brendan competing on October 8 and Cameron on October 15.
“Cameron did really well for his first fight in such a short space of time. Usually fighters train for at least one year before they get into the ring. Cameron doesn’t just come to gym and train, he studies martial arts.
“He makes notes after class on what he needs to work on and watches videos online,” said Edries.
“Brendan faced a really tough fighter and went up against a fighter who had a very unusual kicking style, which meant Brendan had to figure a way on how to get on the inside.
“It was only in the third round when Brendan found his way in, and that’s when he started to dominate but it was already too late for him.
“Zubeida has one boxing fight next to her name and has only been training for six months.
“She fought in a catch-weight fight and won her weight division,” he said.