Thunder MMA students set to compete at nationals in Durban

Five local fighters were selected to represent Gauteng at the MMA SA Championships.

Five Thunder MMA students received invitations to compete in the MMA South African Championships taking place in Durban on April 18 in the DLI Hall.

Fighters from around the country are expected to display their abilities, aptitude, and diligence in the competition.

The selected Thunder MMA athletes will compete for Gauteng in the championships.

This is a chance for athletes to secure selection in the SA National squad competing at the IMMAF International Mixed Martial Arts Federation Africa Champs in Namibia, the Youth Worlds in Abu Dhabi. and the Senior Worlds in Uzbekistan.

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The title holders will look to defend, and new champions will be crowned.

Piete Coxen, the Thunder MMA coach, expressed his happiness at having his five fighters chosen to compete for Gauteng.

“Voughn Pretorius (17), Kayden Wesson (17), Donna-Leigh de Plooy (13), Johandre Fourie (13) and Nathan Graaf (11) are the five chosen to be a part of the GP team.”

Along with providing moral support, the martial arts expert, coach, and fighter who has graced the EFC and Bare Knuckle boxing rings will fly with his students.

Coxen said, “I was asked to coach the Gauteng team in the past, but I turned that offer down this year because I want to support my fighters fully. I will cheer them on and get them warmed up before the match.

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“Any coach who had students competing for championships would be proud of them. They went to the Gauteng trials, where they received peer nominations according to age groups.

“Donna-Leigh is a formidable opponent. She recently competed in exhibition boxing or white-collar boxing, and she won via first-round TKO. She manages herself well and trains with the boys. She is fast to adjust and eager to learn,” said Coxen.

Michael Triton (nine) is a versatile fighter and hopes to be a UFC champion in future.

“Kayden Wesson is a skilled combatant. He will be an asset to the team. Johandre Fourie pledged to elevate his bronze medal from the previous year’s competition to a gold one.

“Nathan Graaf is a machine and has no fear. He has talent, skill, and a passion for this sport. He does not care about size; he will confront the opponent squarely,” said Coxen.

Voughn qualified for the championships round for the third time. In the first year, he won a bronze medal.

“He is back this year and hopes to take gold,” said Coxen.

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