By Caoilte de Barra
After being approved for membership in April, Grenada has worked quickly to put a team together to represent the nation at the 2022 Pan American Championships. The federation has been active from a recognition point of view as well, obtaining government recognition in May.
Now for June, the focus is on competing, and two athletes will travel to Monterrey, Mexico, along with the team coach and officials. The two athletes chosen to represent Grenada are:
Vincent Samawano [Featherweight]
Kemrond Moses [Lightweight]
Both men will create history, becoming the first two athletes to represent Grenada in an IMMAF competition. Competing at lightweight, Kemrond Moses faces stiff competition in a division filled with talent from Mexico, the United States, and Brazil, to name a few. He has an amateur boxing background and won gold at the 2019 Caribbean Boxing Championships, held in Trinidad and Tobago. His hand speed and movement will be worth keeping an eye on when the competition begins.
Vincent Samawano, on the other hand, comes from a kickboxing background and moved to Grenada four years ago from South Africa. He was eager to get back to competing and with the help of Jason Fraser, was able to make it happen with the Grenada team. Similar to his teammate, he faces a division with depth, so will have to overcome stiff competition to take home gold.
Coaching the team will be Sunni Imhotep, who is currently 2-1 as a pro. Speaking ahead of the Championships, Imhotep explained how he got involved with the federation.
“Funny story actually, I got involved with the Grenada Mixed Martial Arts Association because my mother always talks about me fighting professionally here in the states to all her friends. So word got around Grenada, and a martial artist on the island contacted me to help them bring awareness of MMA to the island. The rest is history.”
He has been very active with the federation since getting involved and is in it for the long haul, wanting to help develop the next generation.
“It is very important for me to be involved in helping the next generation of athletes. I have been doing martial arts for over 20 years now, and it’s been my lifelong passion since the day I started.
“To be able to help develop and grow the sport of Mixed Martial Arts in my home country means everything to me, and I will give everything I have to make sure that our athletes are some of the best in the world.”
In terms of his expectations for the team, Imhotep’s approach is admirable. He understands the pressure of competing and is not putting any unnecessary pressure on the team.
“My expectations for the championships is for our athletes to do their best. As a martial artist and competitor myself, I know that we can only control so much of what happens inside the cage. So all I can ask of any athlete is that they do their best and give their best effort.
“As long as we have that, I think we will have a great showing at the Championships and a very bright future in the sport of mixed martial arts.”
New federations always bring new looks to IMMAF competitions, and we can expect nothing different from Grenada. The strides they have made over the last few months have been exceptional, and a medal may be the cherry on top of their historic debut at the Pan American Championships.