By Frank Bonada
IMMAF veteran Veja Hinda is currently preparing to compete in the 2023 IMMAF Africa Championships as he aims to become a two-time IMMAF Champion.
The elite featherweight talent clinched gold in the 2022 IMMAF Africa Championships, representing his home nation of Namibia in sensational fashion with three jaw-dropping performances that instantly marked him as a standout with immense potential.
In his first challenge, he faced Tresor Vermaak, with both making their IMMAF debuts. However, it quickly became apparent that he was in a league of his own, submitting the South African Vermaak in the first round with a slick triangle choke.
Next up, in the Semi-Finals, the returner from Namibia faced Mauritius’ Geraldo Moise and once again displayed why he is considered one of Africa’s top prospects in the amateur ranks. Landing a stunning head kick just 52 seconds into the fight, it earned recognition as one of the most spectacular finishes in IMMAF history by commentators.
Reaching the finals of the 2022 IMMAF Africa Championships, he squared off against Nicholas Vermaak, an experienced amateur fighter with an impressive 6-2 record at the time. Vermaak provided Namibia’s featherweight star with his toughest test to date, becoming the first athlete to take him to the second round. However, he ultimately succumbed to his elite skills, tapping out to an armbar submission one minute and four seconds into round two.
With this victory, the IMMAF alumni claimed gold for Namibia, becoming the nation’s first IMMAF Africa Champion. Buoyed by this success, he competed in the 2022 IMMAF World Championships but suffered a unanimous decision loss to Finland’s Mikael Räsänen after an impressive win against England’s Mo Zubair.
Undeterred, he is now solely focused on once again claiming IMMAF Africa gold. In a recent interview with IMMAF, he discussed the prospect of becoming a two-time champion, saying, “I’m sure it’s every athlete’s dream to become a Champion. Imagine becoming a double Champion. I think that speaks for itself.”
The upcoming event will mark a significant point in the development of MMA in Africa as it will be the first IMMAF Africa Championships to take place outside of South Africa. He and his fellow African athletes will compete in Luanda, Angola, a stronghold of MMA in Africa.
While some might be intimidated by fighting in this new environment against elite Angolan athletes who have risen through the ranks in recent years, Namibia’s brightest prospect is embracing the occasion. The 2022 Africa Champion has a chip on his shoulder, stating, “I’ve got something to prove. That I’m one of the best Mixed Martial Artists coming out of Africa. To be the best, you have to beat the best, and I’m open to all challenges.”
The 2023 IMMAF Africa Championships will officially take place in Luanda, Angola, from September 14 to 17.