Eddie Goldman interviews head of African Warriors Fighting Championship

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Every culture has a traditional form of combat sports. Greco-Roman wrestling is based on the ruleset used in the French countryside. Collar-and-elbow wrestling came from Ireland; George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were local champs. West Africa is no exception, with traditional wrestling and Dambe (boxing) being practiced since time immemorial.

On a recent No Holds Barred podcast, Eddie Goldman spoke with Maxwell Kalu, founder and CEO of the African Warriors Fighting Championship, Africa's first multidisciplinary fighting organization. Their second and largest event, The Battle for Lagos,  was on September 14 at the Jalisco Stadium, in the Nigerian capital.

"We really widened the pool in terms of where we sourced our athletes from. So we had athletes come from various states around Nigeria, and really saw a raise in terms of the level of competition," said Kalu. "We had 20 athletes all in all, competing in wrestling, competing in Dambe. So it was our first opportunity, our first time doing an event in Lagos, Africa's biggest city. So it was a step up for us."

"We consider ourselves from the very start to be a Pan-African indigenous sporting organization. And future plans also include welcoming athletes from any part of the world."

Kalu identified Dambe fighter Bahagon Ondo and wrestler Abba Ibrahim as emerging stars in the organization.

Organized in conjunction with the Nigerian Traditional Sports Federation and the Nigerian government, these events are the first steps in expanding to other countries.