Egypt’s Kickboxing Champion

“When I was a young boy I was not so strong, but I have always been big and tall,” he says. “In fact, I was already 72kg when I was just 12-years-old.

“For that reason ,everyone told me to quit water polo and shirt lighting.” From then on kickboxing took its hold and without even understanding all the rules or having a strict training discipline, Fahim won his first competition at his home club in Zamalek. The winning streak has continued virtually uninterrupted.

Fahim speaks with confidence, which may be construed as arrogance, but his record of 32 wins and four losses speaks for itself. “I’ve only four competitions in my life – all of which were in international competitions. I’ve never lost a match in Egypt.”

Watching one of the many videos of him on YouTube, it’s obvious that he can take down the most formidable opponents easily. So easily in fact that you would think he was born to do this. Both his younger brothers are accomplished lighters as well, so it seems that power and strength run in the Fahim family.

“I thought all those wins came easily,” he says. In fact, his record win came in less than 30 seconds. “To be honest, during the competitions, when I lost I was really shocked.”

Fahim turns heads wherever he goes. Tall, muscular and lean, he walks with an imposing gait as if he’s in charge of everything around him. Beyond mere athletics. Fahim is exceptionally handsome and naturally charming, but it is not that he is the lucky winner of the DNA lottery – it takes a lot of training and discipline to get this way.

By the time the first muezzin’s call to prayer drifts above the roofs of Cairo, Fahim has already been at the gym, punching at a sandbag. Rising at 4.30am, he puts in a tough cardiovascular workout before beginning his day job in a bank.

“In the mornings, I do an hour of rigorous fitness and cardio training to prepare my body for the day. It sets the tone for an intense day.”

Most people would be laid out the rest of the day after such a workout, but Fahim attends his day job and then returns to the gym before heading home. “After work, I do fighting techniques, often sparring with my brothers or other lighters at the club.”

A day of good nutrition and healthy habits keeps him in tip-top shape. Before a competition Fahim kicks into overdrive. His coach, the famed Mohammed Ghonim, has been training lim since he was 14. “There’s a lot of trust between us,” says Fahim.

“He knows my body, my mind. He’s known me since I was a boy. When I go to kick or punch. Ire knows what my body will do before I do.” Fahim strongly believes in his own training philosophy. “Sport and strength start on the inside and work themselves out,” he says. The muscles or the power are reflections of what’s inside.” just Dedication, discipline and a pit bull instinct of never quitting are essential to achieving greatness, according to Fahim

Some people get bored of their hobbies quickly,” he says. “I’ve been fighting since I was a boy and I will always be a fighter.” Regimented practice is obviously the key and the term ‘practice makes perfect’ comes to mind as great champions are not built overnight. “Doctors do not heal people by only applying what they read in a book,” says Fahim. “They only learn to treat the human body after working with it everyday.”

At first glance his charming persona and sportsmanship appear incompatible to the sport’s violence. However, Fahim disputes the violence of kickboxing, and who am 1 to argue,

“Kickboxing is not violent,” he insists. “In fact, you feel closer to the opponent after the match. You have done something together.”

After seeing heads knocked around in the ring, I am not entirely convinced, but who am I to argue?

“It’s about strategy and respecting your opponent.” But in the same breath Fahim recalls breaking an opponent’s jaw at a competition in Moscow.

“I saw his whole face become like jelly and I Just thought, ‘This man has a wife and family. God forgive me,’ and I was kissing his hands when the medics came.” Before his matches, Fahim often goes to the Ali mosque in Cairo’s Khan el Khalili district.

“In Islam, there’s a story about Ali, who was so convinced of his righteousness that when he entered battle, he viewed his opponent as a partner in his victory.b“I look at my opponent the same way: he is there to help me win.”

Similarly, Fahim’s life influences his sport. “My family has always been supportive. Even my mother comes to my matches but she sometimes wishes that I could win without having to hurt the opponent.” As Fahim continues to lay out his opponents, his mother rarely gets her wish.

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