2017 Africa Open: Opportunity to showcase national depth for South Africa

Pictured above: 2016 Africa Open, Stephen May picks up a unanimous decision victory over Axel Karlsson

This week South Africa takes on the opportunity of showcasing the nation’s depth in amateur MMA talent, just three months ahead of the 2017 IMMAF World Championships.

Mixed Martial Arts South Africa, the nation’s governing body under IMMAF, hosts the IMMAF Africa Open Championships for a second time this week, handing run outs to a squad of 22 individual athletes against opposition from Bahrain, India and Ghana.

South Africa’s lineup sees a mix of returning veterans who have competed on the international IMMAF platform over the past year in addition to number of fresh new prospects looking to break through.

National standouts include returning medalist Stephen May who clinched African Open silver in 2016 and went the distance in the final of the welterweight bracket, losing out on the scorecards to countryman Douw Eksteen. May ascended to the no.8 spot in the IMMAF World Rankings and picked up a victory in the semi-finals over Sweden’s Axel Karlsson who went on to claim bronze at the 2017 European Open. In this year’s bracket May will be joined by 19-year-old hopeful Alon Berger, the nation’s youngest representative, currently 2-1 in his amateur career. Also among the newcomers to South Africa’s national amateur team; Men’s lightweight challenger Nkosi Ndebele stands out in the 155lb bracket. Ndebele is a 5-1 contender with all amateur victories coming by way of knockout.

South Africa’s full national team for the 2017 Africa Open Championships includes:

Imke-Marischca Smit – Flyweight, age 39
Wade Kerspuy – Flyweight, age 29
Kyla De Vries – Women’s Bantamweight, age 21
Katiso Matime – Bantamweight, age 21
Shaun Joubert – Bantamweight, age 28
Daniel Duda – Featherweight, age 27
Ryan Roets – Featherweight, age 20
Dylan goosen – Lightweight, age 26
J.C Roets – Lightweight, age 25
Shane Higgins – Lightweight, age 31
Nkosi Ndebele – Lightweight, age 22
Sheldon James Victor – Welterweight, age 20
Stephen May – Welterweight, age 30
Riyaad Pandy – Welterweight, age 34
Alon Breger – Welterweight, age 19
Joubert Grigor – Welterweight, age 26
JT Botha – Light Heavyweight, age 26
Dimitri Fogg – Light Heavyweight, age 23
Frikkie Bendeman – Light Heavyweight, age 26
Richard Zoutendyk – Heavyweight, age 37
Dwain Meredith – Heavyweight, age 31
Delano Human – Heavyweight, age 23

For live tournament updates visit MyNextMatch.com.

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