Young Vygieskraal kickboxer fights his way to the top

Fighterz Inc's strength and conditioning coach Fidaah Edries, centre, shares some inspiration with Juanid Fredericks and Faeez Jacobs

Vygieskraal’s Junaid “Hand Granade” Fredericks, 17, lived up to his moniker as his explosive hands earned him a victory by judges’ decision, in his first boxing bout at last month’s PFC7 fight night, at the Goodwood Correctional Services sports hall.

Fredericks, along with his sparring partner, Faeez “Troublemaker” Jacobs, 21, was in fine form on the night. A serial belt hunter, Jacobs, has claimed four titles and three belts in the last 10 months. The Troublemaker upset the home crowed when he knocked out Thaiholics’ Michael Clacher, to claim the 60kg belt at PFC7.

Their mental and strength conditioning coach, Fidaah Edries, said the two have come a long way in a short periodof time – and, that they both are admirers of the three-time world heavyweight champion, Muhammad Ali, who died a fortnight ago.

He said when the two fighters warmed up before their fights, they’d utter some of their favourite quotes by Ali, among them: “Champions have to have the skill and the will, but the will must be stronger than the skill.”

Junaid said it took a bit of adjusting in the ring when he made his boxing debut. “I was supposed to fight a 60kg junior but ended up fighting a senior. I went the full three rounds and won via points.”

Meanwhile, sparring partner, the Troublemaker, has exceeded all expectations on the SA kickboxing scene. He won the 60kg title at the SA championships in Pretoria, last month.

He also knocked out veteran kickboxer, Lucky van der Mokata from Young Guns to win the vacant South African Kickboxing Association (SAKA) sanctioned belt.

“I’m a three-belt champion now and the number one kickboxer in South Africa. Last year, I said I wanted to get one belt, and I did that. This year’s goal was to add another three belts, and I’ve already won two.

In my 10 months of kickboxing, I’ve cleaned out the 63kg division and am thinking of moving over to boxing. I’d like to get ranked as the number one boxer in South Africa then move to MMA,” said Faeez.

“Faeez has always gone up against more experienced fighters. But, his will and determination has been much stronger,” said Edries.