Anton Zafir

Anton Zafir – Clinical, relentless and focussed!

The name Anton Zafir is synonymous with martial arts in Australia based on the success that he has enjoyed both at home and abroad. When Anton was announced as one of the four men who would compete in the AFC Welterweight Tournament, the martial arts public in this Country were abuzz with excitement and anticipation, and back at AFC 20 in the first round of the tournament he didn’t disappoint.

For Anton, July 2017 marked the first time he stepped into an MMA cage in over 12 months. The elation he felt coupled with a few nerves is the crux of what makes a martial artist tick, and at that point Anton knew he was home:

“It had been a long time out, due to contracts, and then finding some interesting challenges and experiences. But it felt comfortable; you are always a little wary about “ring rust”, but once the bell went it just became automatic again and it was a nice feeling”

Not only did July 2017 mark the first time Anton competed in over a year, it was his first fight on home soil in a number of years. Most martial artists who compete at a professional level will tell you that there is no better feeling that competing on home soil in front of a ruckus; and what Anton got at AFC 20 was an audience full of energy, passion and support:

“The crowd always gets me amped up, even if I wasn’t the home town favourite in that fight. The energy in the room brings the best out of the fighters, and I am no different. The Aussie crowd always know how to pump up the energy in the room and that allows the fighters to take it to another level. So I love competing in Australia”

As Anton alluded to, although he was fighting on home soil, he wasn’t the hometown favourite in his first round fight as Melbourne local Hoshi Friedrich claimed that mantle. Hoshi is one of the hottest young prospects in the sport so Anton knew he’d have his hands full; however Anton impressively stopped Hoshi in the first round. Upon reflection, Anton was very satisfied with his performance:

“I knew Hoshi was tough, and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to make a mistake or he would capitalise on it, so I was happy with my performance and how I fought. I thought I fought very clinically and got the result. There are always little things that I can work on and improve after each fight, so I continue to develop and get better moving forward”

During his first round fight, Anton put on what some would call a takedown and ground ‘n’ pound masterless. Anton’s pressure was relentless; his persistence was unwavering and control was never threatened. From the commentary position it seemed as though Anton had a plan that was perfectly executed:

“I always go in with an idea of how I would like the fight to go, and I planned on feeling him out a bit before deciding. He came forward very explosively which set up the takedown well, from there I knew that I wasn’t going to let him up or give him any breathing room to work with. So I continued working the G&P and maintaining strong pressure which I enjoy”

It has now been over 6 months since Anton fought Hoshi and booked his ticket to a Welterweight Title Fight. This period has provided Anton with ample time to get back in the gym and work towards plugging the little holes he recognised in his first up performance. From the external, Anton’s performance seemed floorless, however the committed and dedicated martial artists is always looking to improve:

“Not one particular thing, I always strive to improve all aspects of my game to make sure I continue to improve across the board” 

So after dispatching Hoshi, perennial Welterweight standout Theo Christakos now awaits. It’s not often that two of the premier martial artists in a division will stand across from each other and compete, however that’s exactly what AFC fans are going to get in this one! Anton however is well aware of the dangerous that Theo posses:

“Theo is a technical fighter who has good all-round skill, as most of the fighters have at this level. It will be a tough fight and one that I am ready for and looking forward to”

Fighting a well-rounded martial artist is always difficult; finding and exploiting gaps becomes difficult and frustration can quickly arise. Whilst there is no question that Theo will be a trickly puzzle to solve, Anton is confident he’ll have the advantages in the areas that matter most. So for Anton, the plan is relatively simple:

“Being able to apply constant pressure, forcing Theo to make a mistake that I will look to capitalise on and secure the finish”

We are now only 6 weeks away from this genuinely mouth-watering contest, and Anton is well and truly focussing on his training and preparation for this monumental title fight. As far as his training camp goes, Anton is in safe hands in what has become very familiar surroundings:

“I will be preparing for this fight in Airlie Beach, where I have been for all my fights. My coaches are the guys I have had around me from the start; Dan Zealand, Ian Bone and Bruno Brandao, plus the rest of my team at WMA, who give up their mornings and arvos around their work schedules to come in and help me get rounds in. I really appreciate the team I have around me and the time that they give up to help me out”

The Title Fight will take place as part of the AFC’s first venture to Perth, Western Australia, as the promotion looks to continually expand and provide opportunities for martial artists all over the Country to realise their dreams. Competing on this card will be an accomplishment; headlining it is not doubt humbling, and Anton is very proud to be a part of this historic event:

“It means a lot that I can be a part of the continual forward movement of this great sport. Perth is a great city for sporting events, and to be able to compete in another great sporting city of Australia is exciting and one that I am looking forward to and proud to be a part of”

So Anton, one of Australia’s most accomplished Welterweights, will headline an historic card where two of the very best in the division will battle it out to determine who is number 1! Although Anton has already achieved a lot in his career, winning the coveted AFC Welterweight Title would be somewhat of a cherry on top:

“To have the AFC gold will be great as a representation of the hard-work and sacrifices that have been made in the strive to be the best fighter I can be. You don’t always get what you believe you deserve, but to be able to fight for the title is the first step, the second step is to fight the best fight I can, and thirdly to feel that belt around my waist”

“I will see you all March 17th. Thanks to my Sponsors who have been with me from the start  – SMAI, The Aim Companies, JPL, Ultimate Constructions, Coolum Therapy Clinic, UROBACH”

Tickets will be on sale Monday, February 5, 2018.

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