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Smacktalk Fight of the Night

The Smacktalk Fight of the Night has to go to Denzil Waite and Loukie Botha.

Denzil Wait won what must have been one of the best fights we have ever seen. He fought Loukie Botha who only took the fight the night before the event after Denzil’s original opponent changed his mind,  after seeing Denzil in full flight we don’t blame him. This is without a doubt our fight of the Event, month and even year so far. Welterweights  going toe-to-toe for 2 rounds solid is  a beautiful sight to behold. It almost doesn’t seem possible that two guys could take that much punishment and still keep fighting. Both fighters gave so much  and left a little piece of their souls in the cage. Our headgear goes off to them both.

After this fight and seeing what heart the man has we are going to run a featured article on Denzil in May.  We will also catch up with Loukie Botha later in the month.

Here’s what Denzil thought of the fight.

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Fight Force invasion Official Results

Here you go fight fans.  The official results from the Invasion event presented by Fight Force.

Pro Am
Etienne van Wyk vs Dean Austin (w)           – Round 3  – Points
Alfred Glad vs Zander Cilliers (w)                 –  Round 1 – TKO
Steven May (w) vs Shane Niemand               – Round 1 – Choke
Tyson Chelin vs Ashley Calvert (w)              – Round 1 – Disqualified (knee to the head)
Daniel Sinclair (w) vs Duane Marshall         – Round 1  – Choke

Professional
Paul Cunningham (w) vs Victor Temlett     – Round 1 – Triangle Choke
Clinton Young vs Machiel Opperman (w)   – Round 1 – Choke
Johan van Staden (w) vs Brandon Fourie   – Round 1 – Rear Choke
Loukie Botha vs Denzil Waite (w)                   – Round 2 – TKO
Jeremy Scheepers vs Paul van Vuuren (w)- Round 1 – Rear Choke
Mawade Vapi vs Leon Mynhardt (w)            – Round 2 – TKO
Donald Nzirawa vs Neil Diesel (w)                  – Round 1 – TKO (stoppage)
Donavin Hawkey (w) vs Wade Henderson  – Round 1 – Armbar
Martin van Staden vs Brian Ebersole (w)    – Round 3 – Reverse Triangle

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Fight Force | Official Weigh-Ins

Smacktalk was at the Walter Sisulu Hall to cover the Fight Force Invasion weigh-ins. Based on some of the coversations had with the fighters and coaches tonight promises to deliver some of the best Cage-Fighting seen in SA to date.

Here is a little taste of what went down.  Neil “The Original” Diesel and Donald Nzirawa weigh-in for their bout.


Here are the official weigh-in results bought to you exclusively by Smacktalk

BLUE CORNER Base WEIGHT RED CORNER Base WEIGHT
Etienne Van Wyk Pretoria 76 Dean Austin Gauteng 74
Alfred Glad Gauteng 105.5 Zanver Cilliers Pretoria 96.4
Steven May Gauteng 71.2 Shane Niemand Gauteng 68.9
Tyson Chelin Durban 75 Ashley Calvert Gauteng 77
Daniel Sinclair Durban 83.1 Duane Marshall Gauteng 82.7
Paul Cunningham Durban 82.5 Victor Temlett Gauteng 84.3
Clinton Young East London 100 Machiel Opperman Pretoria 91.7
Johan van Staden Durban 77.7 Brandon Fourie Gauteng 79.3
Loukie Botha Bloemfontein 73.6 Denzil Waite Gauteng 72.9
Jeremy Scheepers East London 94.1 Paul Van Vuuren Gauteng 89.3
Mawande Vapi East London 83.5 Leon Mynhardt Pretoria 78.1
Donald Nzirawa East London 74.3 Neil Diesel Gauteng 72.7
Donavin Hawkey Durban 93.4 Wade Henderson Gauteng 92.4
Martin van Staden South Africa 83.6 Brian Ebersole USA 85
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Fight Gear's Justin Navetta talks to us about and their brands

It is often said that in business you need to find your passion, look for, and fill gaps with your product or service, outwork your competition and the rest will fall into place.

This could not hold more true to anybody than entrepreneur and founder of Fightgear Justin Navetta.  In 2009 when many of us where cutting back in the face of the recession Justin made the ballsy decision to follow his dreams and start a new business importing and distributing fight related brands.

“I started training in MMA with Attila at The Fight Club in Fourways, Jhb. The more I trained the more I loved the sport and it became an obsession.  My training got to a point where normal sport gear just didn’t cut it anymore and I was tearing (literally) through shorts all the time.”

“I looked around locally and saw that there wasn’t much fight gear on offer.  Right then and there I knew that I could change that (the lack of fight gear available) and do something I loved”.

An already-successful business owner; Justin knew the importance of jumping at an opportunity the second it presents itself.

“I contacted the brands from overseas immediately and secured interim contracts with them and placed some orders.”

The international brand houses were eager to secure the deals in order to enter a market which is emerging as rapidly as South Africa’s.

“The concept started in June of 2009, by July I had my first stock land in SA”.  A one-month turnaround time from first-contact to product delivery is generally unheard of in the corporate world and was testament to the commitment the international guys had in supporting the growth of MMA in South Africa.

Globalisation powered by the internet and email has truly revolutionised the way that business transactions are completed, however personal interaction, especially with new suppliers, is critical to the long-term success of any venture.

“Once our local orders started growing we flew straight to America and sealed exclusivity contracts, in person, with relevant manufacturers.   I felt it was incredibly important for me to meet the guys face to face, it gave everyone a sense of comfort and we all knew exactly who we were dealing with from then on.  Now I have the kind of relationship with the owners of the brands that I can call them on their mobiles and they help me immediately which is really important.  South Africa is not necessarily the biggest buyer of product from them but I need that level of service to, in turn, service my customers better.”

The choice in which brands to market – from all the hundreds available – was as easy and straightforward for Justin as any he had ever made.

“At this stage we have three brands that we really focus on.  We have Sprawl which is renowned as the world’s leading fight shorts, they are indestructible, look good and feel comfortable. Cage Fighter is ours too, the range is really wide and is well known for walk-in Tee’s, normal fashion Tee’s and fight shorts.  We also needed a premium brand and Dethroned was an easy choice for us.  It’s unique and really sets itself apart from any other MMA fashion wear.  It was important to us to get the rights to the best products in each category and we have definitely accomplished that with those three.”

With the contracts buttoned down, the relationships cemented and stock on its way the marketing plan needed to be formulated, and fast.

“We realised straight away that the best way to show the masses just how good our shorts are was to sponsor the best fighters in SA.  We scouted the gyms and found a group of fighters that are the best in the country (Darren Daniel, Jeremy Smith, Richard Quan and the Joubert brothers to name a few).  We backed those horses and the results have been mind blowing. Last year we had a perfect season and went 14 and 0 in the pro ranks which has been great for the brands. This year we are looking to do even better.”

So where do the fans and avid trainers, wishing to emulate their heroes, get there wrapped hands on these industry leading products?

“We have 2 websites that can be ordered off www.sprawl.co.za and www.fightgear.co.za. We also have outlets around the country (Smacktalk will be composing a list of all outlets of all products soon) and are in negotiations with a couple of really big mainstream retailers.  So no matter where you are we can get you into our shorts and Tee’s.”

With so much achieved already and in such a short time what more could we possible expect from Justin and Fightgear moving forward?

“We were the first Fight Company to have a dedicated on-line store in SA and we are going to continue leading the industry by becoming the biggest retailer of fight gear and fight-based fashion wear in the country.”

We thanked Justin for his time and, more importantly, for making the leap of faith in himself and the brands he represents.

It is often said that in business you need to find your passion, look for, and fill gaps with your product or service, outwork your competition and the rest will fall into place.

This could not hold more true to anybody than entrepreneur and founder of Fightgear Justin Navetta. In 2009 when many of us where cutting back in the face of the recession Justin made the ballsy decision to follow his dreams and start a new business importing and distributing fight related brands.

“I started training in MMA with Attila at The Fight Club in Fourways, Jhb. The more I trained the more I loved the sport and it became an obsession. My training got to a point where normal sport gear just didn’t cut it anymore and I was tearing (literally) through shorts all the time.”

“I looked around locally and saw that there wasn’t much fight gear on offer. Right then and there I knew that I could change that (the lack of fight gear available) and do something I loved”.

An already-successful business owner; Justin knew the importance of jumping at an opportunity the second it presents itself.

“I contacted the brands from overseas immediately and secured interim contracts with them and placed some orders.”

The international brand houses were eager to secure the deals in order to enter a market which is emerging as rapidly as South Africa’s.

“The concept started in June of 2009, by July I had my first stock land in SA”. A one-month turnaround time from first-contact to product delivery is generally unheard of in the corporate world and was testament to the commitment the international guys had in supporting the growth of MMA in South Africa.

Globalisation powered by the internet and email has truly revolutionised the way that business transactions are completed, however personal interaction, especially with new suppliers, is critical to the long-term success of any venture.

“Once our local orders started growing we flew straight to America and sealed exclusivity contracts, in person, with relevant manufacturers. I felt it was incredibly important for me to meet the guys face to face, it gave everyone a sense of comfort and we all knew exactly who we were dealing with from then on. Now I have the kind of relationship with the owners of the brands that I can call them on their mobiles and they help me immediately which is really important. South Africa is not necessarily the biggest buyer of product from them but I need that level of service to, in turn, service my customers better.”

The choice in which brands to market – from all the hundreds available – was as easy and straightforward for Justin as any he had ever made.

“At this stage we have three brands that we really focus on. We have Sprawl which is renowned as the world’s leading fight shorts, they are indestructible, look good and feel comfortable. Cage Fighter is ours too, the range is really wide and is well known for walk-in Tee’s, normal fashion Tee’s and fight shorts. We also needed a premium brand and Dethroned was an easy choice for us. It’s unique and really sets itself apart from any other MMA fashion wear. It was important to us to get the rights to the best products in each category and we have definitely accomplished that with those three.”

With the contracts buttoned down, the relationships cemented and stock on its way the marketing plan needed to be formulated, and fast.

“We realised straight away that the best way to show the masses just how good our shorts are was to sponsor the best fighters in SA. We scouted the gyms and found a group of fighters that are the best in the country (Darren Daniel, Jeremy Smith, Richard Quan and the Joubert brothers to name a few). We backed those horses and the results have been mind blowing. Last year we had a perfect season and went 14 and 0 in the pro ranks which has been great for the brands. This year we are looking to do even better.”

So where do the fans and avid trainers, wishing to emulate their heroes, get there wrapped hands on these industry leading products?

“We have 2 websites that can be ordered off www.sprawl.co.za and www.fightgear.co.za. We also have outlets around the country (Smacktalk will be composing a list of all outlets of all products soon) and are in negotiations with a couple of really big mainstream retailers. So no matter where you are we can get you into our shorts and Tee’s.”

With so much achieved already and in such a short time what more could we possible expect from Justin and Fightgear moving forward?

“We were the first Fight Company to have a dedicated on-line store in SA and we are going to continue leading the industry by becoming the biggest retailer of fight gear and fight-based fashion wear in the country.”

We thanked Justin for his time and, more importantly, for making the leap of faith in himself and the brands he represents.

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Fight Force | Niel Diesel "THE ORIGINAL" Returns

It seems that every conversation we have either had, or overheard, about the immanent Fight Force Invasion has been centered around a very specific topic.  The number one subject on the lips of both fans and pundits alike is the return of Neil “The Original” Diesel.  We literally could not have a discussion with anyone without “The Original’s” long overdue comeback ultimately dominating the dialogue.

“The ironic thing is I never really left.  For the 5 or so years that I have been out of action I’ve just been battling to get a fight.” Neil told Smacktalk when asked why a fighter with such an obviously strong following decided to take a sabbatical from the sport, and fans, that clearly worshiped him.

“I had about 6 or 7 opponent’s turn fights down.  Nobody wanted to fight me and that became difficult to deal with.  You know, you lose a bit of interest when you keep getting let down but thank God Donald (Nzirawa) decided to agree to sign a contract to fight and now it’s on.”

The question still remained that why after an absence of 5 years was he still so strong in the minds of the often fickle fans?

“Well if you look at all 17 of my wins not a single one has gone past the first round.  I have never gone to round 2 in a pro fight.  That’s what the fans want to see.  I always finish the fights within a minute and they are all expecting a similar show from me on Thursday.”

Surely returning from such a long and unwanted break from Competitive Mixed Martial Arts compounded with the high expectations of “The Original” faithful the pressure has to be felt.

“Sure, there is a lot of pressure to perform and like any professional athlete being out of the game for so long there is going to be a bit of ring rust.  I have been training and sparring really hard and things are going well. The cage is my home and I can’t wait to get in there.”

What can we, as fight fans, expect from Neil on Thursday night?  A little more of the same perhaps?

“I’m comfortable anywhere and I’m going to feel him out for the first part of the round and decide how to finish him from there” he answered.  The prospect of a second round not even a consideration for him, which bodes very well for all of us in the stands.

“The Original” faithful can rest easy knowing that the 5 year cycle will not repeat itself and this is the first of many fights to come in the very near future.

“Mark Strydom from Fight Force has given me a contract for 6 fights over the next 2 years so I’m going to be really active again and fighting often”

Cage-Fighting in general, the fans and us at Smacktalk welcome Neil back with open arms and our tanks ready to be filled; with all the Diesel we can handle.

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Fight Force | The Punisher is set to Peak

Technique wins fights; but conditioning keeps you in them.  In today’s professional MMA era fighters need not only have bone crunching, joint mangling weapons in their arsenals but they need plenty of gas in the tank too.  Smacktalk spoke to Martin Van Staden about his training camp for the up-coming fight against American Brian Ebersole in Fight Force’s  Invasion event.

“This international fight is a huge stepping stone for me” Van Staden told Smacktalk, in his usual up-beat tone.

“We have really stepped up our training all-round and I’m feeling stronger and fitter than I have ever felt before a fight. I’m in the best shape of my life” says Martin.

Based on the list of training routines and methods that he rattled off when asked exactly what had changed and what he and his team had done differently to prepare for this fight we are pretty sure that the man is fit and ready to go.

“We train twice a day 5-6am and 5-6pm in the week and then a session on Saturday and Sunday.   We also mix the training sessions up with technique, cardio and gym work.

“For stamina we do a lot of fight-simulation training like grappling and sparring which has really helped my cardio, explosiveness and muscle endurance; which have been a big focus of mine coming into this fight.”

When asked if he felt the higher altitude in Johannesburg would impact the fight the answer was pretty emphatic.

“Yes, definitely, which is why we have been training so hard, to make sure there is still gas in the tank if the fight goes past the first bell.”

Based on this answer we had to assume that he was predicting a first round knockout -we were right.

“Just look at my record; the fight is not going past the first round, but if it does I’m coming out harder in the second and even harder in the third.  I’m fit enough to give more each round than the last”

As Martin already confirmed this International fight is a huge stepping stone for him – international experience on your resume is always a massive plus when dealing with any new potential employer or sponsor-  and surely with additional opportunity-and ultimately exposure-comes additional pressure to perform.

“No, not at all, a fight is a fight.  I think that’s what separates me from the rest of the guys, I don’t let the pressure get to me, I get in the cage to do my job, it doesn’t matter who or where I’m fighting.”

“The Punisher” looks set to peak physically, and career wise,on the 15th of April when Fight Force and his American opponent Invade Johannesburg. We wish him well

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Fight Force | Henderson’s hallowed GROUND

Wade “G.O.A.T” Henderson (25-18-7) is fighting Donavin “Bam Bamz” Hawkey (16-11-5) for the SA Light Heavyweight title on Thursday 15th April in the Fight Force Invasion event.

A title fight is the reason why all the countless hours are spent in the gym; banging away at heavy bags, rolling with the biggest guys you can find and taking more punishment on a daily basis than mere mortals could endure in a lifetime. A shot at the title is what makes it all worthwhile and is a dream- come-true for every Mixed Martial Artist.

Although fastening the SA Light Heavyweight belt around his waist is within reach for Wade he has not allowed the pressure to get to him or change his preparation for the up-coming fight.

“It’s business as usual for us and next Thursday is just another day at the office” he told Smacktalk “It’s definitely a bigger occasion fighting for the title but I haven’t let the pressure get to me, I’m treating this as a normal fight.”

“What we have really focused on for this fight is cardio, defence -keeping my hands up-and my Jits.  We know where Donanvin is strong and what he is good at.  I know exactly what he is going to throw at me and we have been working at that.  But like I said when it hits the ground Donavin is not going to know what’s hit him and what’s going on.  He has been telling everyone that he is going to test my ground skills and he is more than welcome to do that.”

Wade feels so strongly about the focus that has gone into his BJJ that he has called the round and way the belt will become his.

“It’s going to be a second-round win for me, by submission” he said calmly and with enough conviction that it’s impossible not to believe him.

Wade ended the interview with “Donavin has been a good champion, but it’s time for a changing of the guard”.  Enough said.

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Fight Force Invades Jozi

On the 15th April 2010 Fight Force Invades Jozi at the Walter Sisulu Hall in Randburg, Johannesburg.

Usually, and by definition, an Invasion is not a good thing and one group generally doesn’t want the other landing in its back yard, setting up camp, imposing new methods of thinking and generally causing the local folk extreme levels of discomfort throughout the whole process.

This invasion, however, is one we as Jo’burgers are welcoming with open arms and red carpet treatment.  We can wait.

Our hosts have been kind to us and are giving us 5 amateur, 8 pro, 1 Title and 1 international fight all in one evening – more than this we could not have asked for.

In the Main Event section of the card Donavin Hawkey is set to defend his SA Light Heavyweight title against Wade Henderson and Martin Van Staden is defending South Africa’s honour against Brian Ebersole of America.  Both of these fights are going to be as bang-filled as you can handle with all four fighters wanting to leave a lasting mark on Jo’burg- and their opponents.

All of us at Smacktalk love having something to look forward to, especially Invasions of such epic proportions and we will be there to cover the event as well as snap some video footage at the weigh-ins (these will be up on the site 2 hours later), some behind the scenes training action and our exclusive post fight pressers. Look out for all the video the day after the fight.

We can’t wait to see you there!