Monday, August 8, 2011

Exclusive Q & A with EFC-Africa Welterweight Champion Adam "The Prodigy" Speechly

If you're not up on what's going on in South Africa, I'd suggest you pay attention...

There's a revolution in South Africa and it's called MMA. Mixed martial arts culture has taken Africa's southernmost country by storm, and the Extreme Fighting Championship-Africa is leading the movement. The EFCA's free online streamings have more recently caught on in the U.S. and Canada as EFCA 10 was highlighted on Sherdog.com and other major MMA websites.

The EFCA is the premiere fight brand in South Africa, and their stacked fighter roster proves why. Among EFCA's rising talent stands EFCA Welterweight Champion Alex Speechly, a 12-2 170lber, training under the instruction of legendary wrestling, grappling, and MMA coach Attila Barna in Fourways, Johannesburg.

Speechly is currently the top welterweight prospect coming out of South Africa. He's definitely a name to add to your watch list.

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FJ: How did you get into mixed martial arts?

AS: I started grappling in high school to keep fit during the rugby off -season ( rugby is one of the major school sports here in South Africa) and I found that I really enjoyed it. I started taking it more seriously and after a while I began boxing, from there I had my first professional MMA fight in mid 2008 and have been going at it since.

FJ: So what’s your disciplinary background? Who do you train under, and at what camp?

AS: Having come from a grappling background, my strength and comfort is always on the floor, but I have been working hard over the last 2 years to improve both my stand-up and wrestling capabilities. For my ground and wrestling game I work at team CIT with Attila Barna, he is a former Hungarian national Greco-roman wrestler who has also competed in MMA on an international level. For my stand- up I work at Smiths boxing gym with Peter "Sniper" Smith, a former professional boxer who now coaches several South African boxing champions. In each camp there are 3-4 other professional fighters whom I work with when preparing for my fights. On top of it all I have a Canadian Kinesiologist, Kevin Sawchuk, who is in charge of my strength and conditioning

FJ: Many of our U.S. readers might not be familiar with the MMA scene in South Africa. What’s the fight culture like there?

AS: In South Africa we live in a very violent, yet diverse society where people come from very different walks of life from area to area, and fighting gyms (as well as their fans and followers) are no different, as a result you will find that fans will rally behind the fighters or gyms that they feel best represent them, especially if he is from the same area or city as them. So what you have here is a fan base that is diverse, but still relatively niche. This may change though as the sport becomes more mainstream and people become more educated about MMA.


FJ: You’ve fought the majority of your fights with the EFC (Africa), which is hugely popular in the region, and gaining international attention. Do you see yourself ever moving on to other promotions, or growing with the EFC?

AS: EFC Africa has played a large role in the development of South African MMA and bringing it into the mainstream, which in turn has done wonders for the careers of many fighters (myself included), it is for this reason that as long as I fight in South Africa I will fight for EFC, which is likely to be the case until I finish my degree, but after that is anyone's guess.

FJ: You are the EFC’s current welterweight titleholder. Do you have one of their cool championship rings?

AS: Haha yes I do. I keep it safely in its box at home as not only a reminder of what I have achieved, but also what more there is to strive for.

FJ: At EFC 10 you will have a rematch with Dallas Jakobi, a fighter who has not been out of the second round. How are you preparing for this opponent?

AS: Having fought him before in what was a tough encounter for both of us, I respect his abilities as a fighter and I believe he has the capacity to see out the second round (and further). So I am preparing myself accordingly and taking no chances.

FJ: Any shout-outs???

AS: I would just like to thank my sponsors Comptronic Mojo, fightgear.co.za, Sprawl, Muscle Pharm and Fighting Twins. As well as my coaches and team mates for all the long hours of training, and of course all my family friends and fans who have supported me from the beginning!

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