South Africa-based Zimbabwean cage fighter Elvis Moyo says he has no hard feelings towards stripped former Extreme Fighting Championship (EFC) heavyweight champion Danie van Heerden, who likened him to an ape.By Ricky Zililo
Moyo, whose ring name is “The Bulawayo Bomber”, said van Heerden, whom he had engaged in a fiery war of words before, promising to hospitalise him in their October fight, took the “war of words” too far.
The two heavyweight fighters were set to battle it out in a bill dubbed “The biggest stand-up battle in EFC history” on October 15 at Sun City in Rustenburg, South Africa, but that clash has been cancelled following the stripping of van Heerden’s title.
Speaking from his Johannesburg base, Moyo said fear made van Heerden post the racially charged statement. He said van Heerden was trying to distract him ahead of the fight.
“I think fear got the better of van Heerden and he ended up doing a stupid thing that he genuinely regrets.
“I’m a fighter and I know that at times to distract your opponent you have to use some unorthodox means to get under their skin, and it’s unfortunate that he went overboard.
“I know van Heerden is not a racist because we’ve trained together before, but I was shocked by his post,” said Moyo.
The former Tshaka Youth Centre boxer said he accepted van Heerden’s apology, which he delivered in person.
“After posting that provocative statement and realising that I wasn’t responding, van Heerden drove to my gym and apologised.
“He told me that he didn’t realise that the post will be blown out of proportion. But my question was he had time to photo shop and put my picture side by side with a chimpanzee, add a caption and yet he failed to realise the mistake?
“Anyway, that is history and I know he is regretting and I have no hard feelings about it, as I’m concentrating on my next fight,” said Moyo.
Van Heerden’s post drew widespread condemnation with various posts on Moyo’s Facebook page lampooning the disgraced former world champion.
EFC also condemned van Heerden’s unacceptable behaviour.
“This type of behaviour is completely unacceptable by anyone, regardless of whether you are a champion or not, and will not be tolerated.
We will not tolerate any form of racism by our athletes,” EFC president Cairo Howarth told efcworldwide.com.
An official disciplinary hearing will be held with van Heerden and the sanctioning body, MMA SA.
Moyo will now trade leather with former two-time champion Andrew “One Gear” van Zyl at Sun City on October 15 for the now vacant heavyweight title. — @ZililoR. The Chronicle