After four months of anticipation, Srikant Sekhar and Afghanistan’s Zahoor Shah are all geared up for the clash that they have been waiting for at Matrix Fight Night eighth edition here at Siri Fort Sports Complex on Friday.
Ahead of the bout, both the fighters are focused on themselves and not worried about the opponents as they will enter the octagon.
“I don’t have any thoughts on my opponent. I am really focused on myself. I don’t have to worry about anyone but myself. If I keep thinking about him, then I will not go anywhere. The opponents keep on changing – the only thing that does not change is you. You have to be rock solid in yourself and your confidence. So, I am working on myself,” Srikant said.
“I have not thought about my opponent or who I am facing. My concentration has been on my hard work and I am confident that I have worked hard and hence, will come out as the winner,” Zahoor added.
The two fighters have trained extensively during the period. Zahoor has regained his fitness completely and trained alongside another MMA star Angad Bisht at his camp in Dehradun, Uttarakhand.
“I have really prepared for this fight. I travelled to Dehradun to work on my techniques and improve my skills. I focused on different areas including kickboxing, wrestling and JuJitsu. I feel I have improved my wrestling skills, which I feel is my strength,” Zahoor said.
Srikant also spent weeks gearing up for the fight at his training camp and is eager to perform in front of the houseful Delhi crowd. “The preparations have been going good. For me, fighting is about putting food on the table for my family. We don’t do anything besides fighting. It has been building up for months, I have spent a lot of my time and money on the training camp,” Srikant said.
As Matrix Fight Night (MFN) returned to India in December 2021 after three editions in Dubai, Srikant Sekhar, who hails from Odisha, was ready to face off against Afghanistan-born MMA fighter Zahoor Shah.
But an untimely injury to Zahoor led to the cancellation of the fight just a few days before the event at the Taj Falaknuma Palace in Hyderabad, and by that time it was too late to find another opponent for Srikant.
“It was a really hard moment for me. I had a fracture in my hand, because of which I had to pull out from MFN 7. I was looking forward to performing in India. I felt really bad,” said Zahoor, when asked about the injury that led to him pulling out of the event.
Srikant, who also had a previous fight of his suspension in Dubai in the previous edition of MFN due to similar reasons, also felt disappointed about the cancellation. “I was ready to fight in Hyderabad. I found out last minute in the fight week, so no replacement could have been made. I was upset because it happened for the second time. Not a lot of people are ready to take fight with me on short notice,” he said.
Now, with four months of fan anticipation and build-up, the two fighters are set to compete against each other as MFN returns for its eighth edition at Siri Fort Sports Complex, Badminton Courts on Friday.
“Now, what will happen will happen in the cage, and I will make it happen,” said Srikant as he gears up to take on the rival that he has been waiting to face for over four months.
“More than anything, I am looking forward to performing in front of Indian crowds. It will be in Delhi the fight capital of the country, so it will be houseful. It will be a memorable experience,” he added.
This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.