By Ross Patterson
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) team will be looking to announce itself as one of the strongest teams in this year’s Africa Championships. They aim to build on their previous success in the competition, and their recent Olympic Committee recognition will only spur them on.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is a massive country with 92 million citizens. It is the 2nd largest country in Africa by land mass and the 11th largest on the planet. The main language spoken is French, however, there are an estimated 242 languages across the region. The DRC is world-famous for its biodiversity, hosting 50% of Africa’s tropical forests and home to more species of birds, mammals and reptiles than any other country on the continent.
From across this massive, diverse land, mixed martial artists have come together to form a powerful team for the 2022 Africa Championships. The squad was selected from provincial and national competitions, with the most impressive athletes chosen to represent the country.
Tailor Mayunga is a physical trainer and technical coach on the DRC team, he said:
“My general opinion is that it is an almost perfect selection that we have made and it is a team which is ready to meet the expectations of the public which will be present at the Africa Championships. We will make a good impression and will bring home medals.”
The team is made up of experienced IMMAF athletes along with some new faces.
Twenty-three-year-old Chadrack Lomboto is returning for his second IMMAF competition. In the 2019 Africa Championships, he secured a silver medal in the Featherweight division. He will be looking for gold this time around.
Bantamweight entry Bayanga Doris is touted as an athlete to keep an eye on. The rest of the team is new to IMMAF, therefore, we could see a star born at this competition.
Eliezer Kubanza is the most successful athlete to come from the DRC and has since turned professional. He is a two-time IMMAF Africa Championship gold medallist and holds a win over the current pound-for-pound number 1 athlete, Ramazan Gitinov. He had some words of encouragement to the team ahead of the competition:
“Wishing the best of luck to the DRC team that is going to compete in the All Africa Championships. Bring the Congo Power and get those Golds, give it all you’ve got!”
The team will also be spurred on by their recent recognition by the DRC Olympic Committee. This is a huge step for the sport of MMA in the country. Tailor explained:
“Today we are moved that the Olympic committee can recognize MMA. This has an important meaning because it allows us to extend the MMA discipline (teaching) in other structures such as in schools and a development program.”
Mixed martial arts is becoming an increasingly popular sport in the Democratic Republic of Congo. They have built a strong team that will be looking to make a statement at the 2022 IMMAF Championships. With Olympic Committee recognition, the future of the sport is bright in the DRC.
IMMAF is returning to the continent of Africa for the first time since 2019. Hosted in the EFC centre in Johannesburg, the 2022 IMMAF Championships will attract the best amateur talent Africa has to offer. You can watch the 2022 IMMAF Africa Championships live on IMMAF.TV.