Johannesburg (South Africa) – Martin ‘The Punisher’ van Staden has been forced to withdraw from his scheduled bout at EFC AFRICA 12 due to injury. Van Staden had been suffering from a persistent neck injury for some time, and after seeking medical advice, made the decision to withdraw from his welterweight bout with Dino Bagattin in order to avoid further damage.
“This is the first fight I’ve ever pulled out of,” said Van Staden. “I’m really sorry about this because a lot of people were looking forward to this fight and no one wanted it more than I did. Unfortunately, I have an inflamed disc that is pinching a nerve, and it needs time to heal so that it does not cause permanent damage.”
While Dino Bagattin initially thought the news was a prank, he did not let the cancellation of this particular fight impact on his march toward the title. “I didn’t take the news seriously at first, I thought he was having a dig at me for pulling out of my previous fights due to injury,” said Bagattin. “I shrugged it off and went about my training. When it turned out the news was true, that changed things, but only slightly. Martin would have been a good opponent but he wasn’t my goal; the EFC AFRICA welterweight title is my goal. I’m ready to fight, I want to fight and I’ll fight whoever I must to move towards the title. I hope the social media warriors don’t get stuck into Martin too badly because I know how quick people can be to jump in and question your character when you withdraw from a fight due to injury. Martin, I hope you heal fast but I don’t have time to wait around for you, I’m fighting at EFC 12 because I’ve never been more ready to beat one of the top contenders on my way to the belt.”
EFC AFRICA will release news on van Staden’s replacement soon. EFC AFRICA 12 takes place at the Carnival City Big Top Arena on 2 March. Tickets on sale now at Computicket www.computicket.com and tickets for the live broadcast to Nu Metro Cinemas available at www.numetro.co.za