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Monday, October 14, 2019

No Holds Barred: Maxwell Kalu on Next Steps for the African Warriors Fighting Championship 


On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again spoke with Maxwell Kalu, founder and CEO of the African Warriors Fighting Championship.

The African Warriors Fighting Championship is Africa's first multidisciplinary fighting organization and features competition in the indigenous African styles of combat sports Dambe, which is a form of boxing popular in West Africa, and traditional wrestling. They held their second and largest event yet, "The Battle for Lagos", on September 14 at the Jalisco Stadium, Oshodi, Lagos.

To discuss how that event went and their plans for the future, we spoke with Maxwell Kalu by Skype Saturday.

"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," he said.

"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."

Even in just its second event, some stars are emerging in the African Warriors Fighting Championship. Two who were mentioned by Maxwell Kalu as having the best performances were Dambe fighter Bahagon Ondo and wrestler Abba Ibrahim.

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

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

Already outside Nigeria, he noted that the African Warriors Fighting Championship has gotten support and interest from many people in many regions of Africa and the world, but most particularly from the African Diaspora in the U.S. and the U.K.

We also discussed how these events have already attracted major media attention with "a major documentary" expected out soon, how the next event planned for December in Lagos will be livestreamed, how they plan to grow an umbrella organization for these indigenous sports, and much, much more.

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