Gambia’s Junior Fatty on MMA Fighting: A Reminder of Life’s Hardships
Junior Karanta Fatty is the first athlete with roots from West African nation Gambia, to take up Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) as a career.
Born in Sweden to a Gambian father, Fatty has an ambition of one day competing with the very best in the sport.
Prior to settling for boxing, MMA took root at a tender age of seven for Fatty with the 25-year-old five years later trying his luck at a number of other sporting disciplines, but the cage gained prominence in his heart.
Being steadfast in spite of the rigors, he won gold during the Swedish National Championship in 2005 a feat which propelled a then 15-year-old Fatty to switch to MMA, setting him on a path to claim a stake in the heavyweight category.
Brian Douwes knows much about the Gothenburg-born after the Holland international bit the dust in his professional duel with Karanta which to date, is the Swede-Gambian’s only victory.
Injuries have had a toll on Karanta and kept him inactive for a long period but the six-footer fighter prefers to derive positives from the time on the treatment table.
“This sport is the ultimate combat sport where you need to learn, boxing, wrestling, kickboxing, and jiu-jitsu,’ he tells DucorSports from Sweden.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“For me, this is not just a sport it’s a lifestyle. It is a reminder of what life is about because life is hard and it will keep knocking you down but you always try to get back up and keep fighting.[/perfectpullquote]
“The sport involves a lot of injuries depending on how you train and how you recover from the workouts. I always try to train smart and effectively so I can keep on developing myself.
“I think it’s a choice you have to make before entering the cage (regarding injuries). The risk is always there. Centuries ago, they fought with swords and shields like it was nothing. I think we can manage MMA,” he adds.
The 25-year-old in an interview from his Swedish base, placed in the final touches for his much-anticipated fight against England’s Sam Stockdale who has four wins in five amateur fights.
Stockdale trounced Mike Felding in 2.20 minutes, then Steve Smith (26 seconds), Adam Dreschar (1.01 minutes), and Kieren Jerret (2.29 minutes) in 2014 in the South West Fighting Championship.
The battle was initially scheduled for March 13, 2017, and Karanta has been focusing his energies on cardio workouts coalescing it with various other training drills but organizers announced ten days to D-day, that the fight won’t be going ahead as planned after Stockdale inexplicably pulled out of the duel.
Karanta, who styles himself as a ‘Mandinka Warrior’, was disenchanted by the news but has moved on and is now focused on the next offer that crosses his path.
On what he would have done differently had it not been for MMA, Karanta ‘The Mandinka Warrior’ said,
[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“I really don’t know what I would have done. I have a certificate as a vehicle technician. But it’s nothing that I am interested in doing now.”[/perfectpullquote]
The fighter easily glides into a new subject regarding his current status.
“At the moment I’m competing for France because my current manager is from Paris. But of course I can represent Gambia or Sweden it is in my blood.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“It really doesn’t matter who I’m competing for or which country, as long as I know where I’m from and what’s in my blood. I am a Mandinka Warrior like my dad,”[/perfectpullquote]
Mandinka Warrior’ is a term often used in reference to a Gambian warrior, Kunta Kinte of the popular tale in the 1750s during slavery at the time.
Featured photo: Facebook