WORLD Extreme Fighting Championship bantamweight champion, Sylvester Chipfumbu, says he is ready to defend his title against highly-rated Brazilian star, Vinicius de Oliveira, at the weekend.
The Zimbabwean faces off against the 25-year-old at the Jiu Jitsu Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Friday.
The Gweru-born fighter, who beat South Africa’s Faeez Jacobs to the throne in May, is oozing confidence ahead of the showdown.
“EFC is obviously not a walk in the park. It needs maximum concentration and a never-say attitude,” he said.
“I am going into this fight with some added pressure, given that I am the defending champion. Obviously, it is not going to be an easy fight. “This is a fight against one of the best fighters in the world and you know, it will be very tough.
“But, I am very ready for the fight, I know I have what it takes and being the defending champion, obviously, I am not going to relinquish my title easily.
“This is an important fixture in my professional career and I am 100 percent focused on it.
“My eyes are fixed on defending the championship and I am not going to settle for less. I am very ready but I should say that I respect my opponent very much but I don’t fear him.”
The 26-year-old, who grabbed world headlines after his heroics against Jacobs in May, said he will be fighting to hoist the country’s flag. “I am honoured to be representing Zimbabwe. This is something that I have to respect,” he said.
“That flag means everything to me and I cannot afford to let the Zimbabweans down.
“This is a game that I am treating with utmost respect and I have to protect my country’s badge.” Oliviera, who is ranked the fourth best bantamweight fighter out of 747 Pro fighters in his native Brazil, won’t be in the UAE for holiday.
He has an impressive record of 16-2-0 and has won all his last five fights.
The exploits of Chipfumbu and welterweight champion, Themba Gorimbo, have prompted the Zimbabwe National Boxing and Wrestling Control Board to roll out coaching courses, in their bid to introduce the style, in the country.
ZNBWCB chief executive, Lawrence Zimbudzana, yesterday said his board will hold their first coaching clinic next month.
“We are hosting the first Mixed Martial Arts technical officials, and coaching training in Zimbabwe, from November 19 to 20, at the Rainbow Towers in Harare,” said Zimbudzana.
“Mixed Martial Arts is the fastest growing sport in the world, watched in over 145 countries, and in nearly 800 million households, worldwide.
“Mixed Martial Arts encompasses various combat sport disciplines such as boxing, kickboxing, karate, jiu-jitsu, muay thai, taekwondo, wrestling and judo.
“Inspired by Gorimbo (Themba) and Chipfumbu (Sylvester), the ZNBWCB have added Mixed Martial Arts to its product portfolio as part of a long term strategy to develop the game and increase opportunities for athletes.”