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Australian Fighting Championship

Always looking for a challenge

On July 28, New Zealand native Damian Maru will make his way to Melbourne and throw down with the heavy handed Phil Ikafunga. Every martial arts fan loves a heavyweight showdown and that’s exactly what a packed Melbourne Pavilion will get in just over 1 weeks time.

Damian is still relatively new to the sport having only been training for 3 years whilst initially focussing on building a business empire in the music industry. Damian has made the dreams of numerous emerging artists come true and as a result is recognised as a leader in his community. Now it’s time for Damian to take on an entirely new challenge and step into the AFC cage, he will however do so with a broadening martial arts pedigree:

“[Training] Japanese Jiu Jitsu from 27 years old at East Side; ground and pound with Benji Kenny then changed to CFC Canterbury Fight Centre aka Strike Force Canterbury to train with Karl Webber for the past 3 years doing BJJ, Wrestling, Boxing, Kick Boxing and MMA” 

As Damian mentioned above, recently he has moved his training under the tutelage of Karl Webber, a renowned trainer in New Zealand who continually produces genuine martial arts superstars. To ensure Damien can soak up as much knowledge as possible, he’ll also work across some other establishments with credentialed and experienced training partners:

“[Training at] Canterbury Fight Centre – Universal Vale Tudo under Karl Webber; Lega Kick Boxing South Island with Wayne Veaga and Groundworks BJJ with Hayden Wilson. Training partners include Kieran Joblin, James Bishop, Sam Belkin and Matui Thoms”

Coach Hostile is definitely one of my favourites; his approach to training martial artists and the value base he instills within a martial arts gym are truly admirable. Even in a short period, Karl has already had a big impact on Damian’s development as a martial artist:

“Major impact! He is a true role model and inspiration”

When Damian makes his MMA debut, he’ll do so against the heavy handed Phil Ikafunga. Damian doesn’t know a heap about his opponent all be it he’s confident Phil will definitely bring it come July 28:

“He looks tough, should be a good fight, always looking for a challenge”

Heavyweight fights can often turn into a slugfest and perennial test of wills (or chins for the matter). However in this instance, Damian is confident he’ll have the advantages in different elements of the game:

“Grappling and ground”

The AFC continues to grow and prosper with each day that passes, and as a result the opportunities for our athletes to live their martial arts dream ensure. Although the possibilities for Damian are no doubt endless, his ambitions are very grounded at this early stage:

“I wanna do well so I get more fights with the AFC”

AFC 20 goes down on July 28 live from the Melbourne Pavilion. Get your tickets now: AFC 20 Tickets

Article by Josh Warner AFC

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