Eddie Goldman is the host and producer of the No Holds Barred international podcast, the publisher of the No Holds Barred blog, and a senior contributing editor at the ADCC News.

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

No Holds Barred: Leslie Koroma on Combat Sports in Africa 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman speaks with Leslie Koroma, the chairman and CEO of the African Sports Media Network, and the founder of the digital and print magazine African Sports Monthly.
While African Sports Monthly started as an online magazine in 2010, the first print edition is due out in late February 2012. The African Sports Media Network is also in the process of developing African sports television and radio networks.
We spoke with Leslie Koroma, who is currently based in Houston, Texas, by phone Thursday afternoon, about the history-making general growth of sports in Africa. We began, however, by noting the tragic deaths of over 70 people at the recent football riots in Egypt, what that signified, and why that was the biggest sports story in the world in the past week.
Africa is the birthplace of the combat sports, and we focused on recent developments in the combat sports there. Leslie Koroma explained that while there are several mixed martial arts organizations in Africa as well as a number of prominent boxers and boxing events, the biggest form of combat sports in Sub-Saharan Africa is Senegalese wrestling.
Based on the traditional style of wrestling in Senegal, Senegalese wrestling has developed into a major professional sport which is widely televised in the region, and has produced colorful stars with nicknames like Tyson and Yekini, with many of their matches available on YouTube.
We also discussed the need for Senegalese wrestling to have a more formal structure than it has now, the rise of new MMA groups in South Africa and Egypt, the enormous talent in Africa that deserves worldwide exposure, the improving economic climate in Africa, the possibility of Africa overtaking Asia in growth sometime later this century, and much more.
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