Africa’s Own Irishman
19 April 2013
Johannesburg (South Africa) - Tonight Henry ‘Herculeez’ Fadipe makes his EFC AFRICA debut against EFC AFRICA’s fastest KO record holder Tumelo Maphutha, a tough customer if ever there was one.
Fadipe arrived on African shores late last week, a homecoming of sorts as his family relocated from Nigeria to the tiny town of Lucan, Dublin, when he was still a young boy.
“I’ve been fighting my whole life,” says Fadipe of his early years in his adopted country. “My brother and I were the first black kids in my first school. It was a rough neighborhood, so it took a lot for us to get accepted.”
Fadipe’s early experience of bullying pushed him to trying various martial arts, Karate and boxing among them. It was later, as a young adult, that he discovered mixed martial arts when attending college.
“I started training,” he says, “and loved it. A friend and I attended a competition in Dublin and I saw a guy there wearing a Lucan jumper. I thought ‘hey, I live in Lucan’, and so I joined the club.”
Training out of Ryoshin MMA Lucan, Fadipe serves as a huge role model to the club’s other members. He’s their first pro fighter, and it’s hoped that he’s going to open doors for many more.
“The guys at the club have set up a big television,” says Tony Carrick, smiling proudly. “Our young kids, from five years up, everyone’s getting together to watch. This is a huge opportunity for us. We’ve come a long way in the last three years.”
At yesterday’s official EFC AFRICA 19 weigh in Fadipe got the crowd going by appearing in a Leprechaun outfit, complete with ginger beard, greet top hat and cane. “It’s the mix of Nigerian and Irish,” he says, grinning. “It’s the most dangerous combination you can have.’
“We’d like to thank to everyone in the EFC for having us over,” says coach Carrick. “It’s definitely a top promotion and we’re looking forward to bringing more of our guys over.”
“I’m going to do what I need to today,” says Fadipe, casting his mind to tonight’s battle. “I’m going to get that win. To all of the MMA community in Ireland and Lucan especially, I can’t wait to get home. See you guys soon.”
EFC AFRICA 19, presented by MusclePharm, takes place at the Carnival City Big Top Arena on 19 April 2013. Tickets on sale at www.computicket.com and tickets for the live broadcast to Nu Metro Cinemas available now at www.numetro.com.
Broadcast information and full fight card available at efcafrica.com