I’ve been lucky enough to talk to New Zealand Mixed Martial Arts Champions Dan “The Hangman” Hooker and Kelvin “Crazy Horse” Joseph in the past few weeks and attempted to capture what it’s like to be at the top in NZ and about to blow up on the international scene.
But what about the new kids on the block; the up ‘n’ comers; that young guy that lives in the gym; the mat-rat; The Young Lion.
What is his story?
With that in mind, I caught up with Talor Wetere from Lion’s Den Ministries MMA in Whangarei, 2 hours north of Auckland City. The North. The Young Lion.
#The UW – 1st of all, thank you so much for your time and doing some Q&A with me, I appreciate it! Ok, tell us a little bit about yourself, your background/influences and heroes and how you found MMA.
I’ve been doing youth (related) work since I was 17.. (it was) during this time I met my good friend and now coach Ryan Anderson who introduced a group of us to the MMA world. So that’s where it all began for me I have had plenty of hero’s and influences but in the end its my man Jesus!
He is the reason I do what I do. If I would strive to be like anyone it would be Him
#The UW – Tell me about Lion’s Den Ministries and what you guys strive to do up there.
Well, it started off as a bit of fun [smiles], then we saw the potential the sport of MMA had for us to get alongside and mentor the young people of Whangarei. From there we’ve been able to use MMA as a medium to reach and engage with people of all ages, gender and background to share our faith.
I was raised without a father figure but was blessed to have older male role models, so for us to offer the same to other young people is important to me!
#The UW – How do you see the role of the modern MMA fighter?
Just like any sport, as it grows so does the fan base, awareness and the weight of influence the competitors have. Just like we say to our young guys – “Leading is simple. It’s where you’re leading that matters”
#The UW – How was everyone up there in the recent storms you’ve had in Northland so far this winter? My family is from The Hokianga and I know that they were heavily affected. Were people ok?
To be honest man, we weren’t affected as much as I thought we would be, just a lot of rain! The surrounding districts had it a lot worse, with homes losing power for weeks, farmers having to spill milk as trucks were unable to get to the farms, roads were closed down and a lot of damage done in the Far North.
It’s awesome to see communities coming together! [smiles]
#The UW – You gave an awesome performance in Auckland at Shuriken NZs Proving Grounds MMA Event at the end of July – tell us a little about your prep and camp for that fight.
Thanks man! [smiles]
I’m blessed to work where I train so it wasn’t too hard to get on the mats a few hours a day and work! Having an awesome group of guys in the fight team and a great coach to work with (in Ryan) made it a lot easier.
Coming in with the right mindset was my goal.
#TheUW – Goal achieved mate!
#The UW – How do you think that fight went for you? I was watching very closely (literally) from cage-side with your corner!
I really enjoyed this last fight, though my opponent James Hughes was a late stand-in, he was an awesome character and definitely had skills! I was happy with my performance. I came into the 2nd round focused looking for the finish, and it came!
Respect to James Hughes for an awesome fight.
Thanks for the wise words from my corner, Ryan Anderson, Chris Wetere, Joe Spiers.
#The UW – Where to from here? Do you have any fights lined up moving forwards? Where would you like to be in the next 18 months?
Back to life.
Looking forward to running Whangarei’s first ever MMA event ’GENESIS’ Fight Night on November 1st!!
I also have a couple of unconfirmed fights towards the end of the year but, we’ll see.
In the end bro, where the Lord leads.. I’ll go!
#The UW – Awesome my bro, thank you for taking time away from your vocation and training to catch up! See you again in November!!