By Tudor Leonte
Yani Zaharia wants to prove that he is an all-around entertainer. Representing Romania, Zaharia aims to take home the light heavyweight gold medal at the 2022 IMMAF European Championships.
Training under his father, Amatto, Zaharia wants to put on a show for the audiences inside and outside the cage. In addition to being a skilled mixed martial artist, Zaharia is also a successful musician. His first song, Ola Mami by Yani Zaharia, is already a success on YouTube, reaching almost 400k views. The young artist confessed that he isn’t struggling to manage his combat sports and musical career.
“To combine sport with music, and to be successful in both, you need a lot of ambition. Above all, you need a lot of discipline. I am a tenacious worker because I know that all the IMMAF fighters are exceptional fighters, top fighters. I respect all of them, so I have to be well prepared to offer an entertaining show for the audiences.”
Zaharia already tested himself in the IMMAF cage during the 2019 Youth World Championships. On that occasion, he fought five times on the same day. Earlier that year, he overcame a freak accident that nearly cost him two fingers on his right hand. At the end of his training session, he injured his hand after breaking a mirror in the gym. Despite the critical situation, he managed to bandage his own hand before his father called for an ambulance. After a four-hour medical operation, the surgeons managed to save his hand. It was one of the hardest lessons he had to learn in his life.
“My family and I passed through some extremely difficult moments. Everything in my life had fallen apart in a split second. I had to work very hard for months to recover the flexibility of my hand alone. Then, I had to put in other months of preparation to be fight-ready. When I was able to compete again, I regained the national MMA championship and won the Full-Kempo world title. It was a fantastic feeling to be on the podium again.”
A new tough test lies ahead of Zaharia as he is scheduled to compete in the junior light heavyweight category. Yet, he is hopeful that he’ll make his home country proud.
“I hope to score a victory at the 2022 IMMAF European Championships. IMMAF is the strongest and most respected organization for amateur MMA fighters.”
Watch the 2022 IMMAF European Championships live and exclusively from Bella Italia Efa Village in Lignano Sabbiadoro (Italy) from 27 September and 1 October 2022 at immaf.tv, with the tournament draw taking place on 26 September.