THE RISE AND RISE OF THE INCREDIBLY TALENTED SHANA POWER
By Makhosi Tshipa
In recent history, women have grown in prominence in sports. Athletes like Laila Ali, Serena Williams and have risen to prominence sometimes even eclipsing their male contemporaries in stature. In mixed martial arts, no athlete, as yet has achieved fame to the level of Ronda Rousey, the bantamweight destroyer who ruled women’s MMA with an iron fist from 2010 until she was eventually dethroned by Holly Holm in 2015’s upset of the year.
Enter Shana Power, the 24 year old phenom hailing from Johannesburg, South Africa. Shana was the first ever women’s MMA champion when she clinched the Fightstars Bantamweight title back in November of 2014, after just 4 amateur fights. Just two months after that she burst onto the Professional fight scene with a frightening first round TKO of Kirsty Davis at EFC 45, and she has never looked back since then.
Shana began her martial arts career at the tender age of four. At that age, the stereotype is for girls to busy themselves with pertinent issues like bonding with their Barbie dolls, and learning the joys of having (and maintaining) hair, but Shana was a different breed. She found contentment in putting herself against her male counterparts, rag-dolling them and leaving a trail of bruised egos in the wake of her adventurous childhood. By the time she reached the end of her high school years, she was the only girl on the school soccer team (having obtained full school colors) and had competed at a high level in various other sports like hockey, swimming and athletics.
But things were not always rosy for the feisty aptly named (‘Titanium’) Power. Her father and mother divorced when she was only 4 and she then had to grow up with her sister in a single parent home where her mother was forced to take on multiple jobs to put food on their tables and a roof over their heads. Looking back at those years, Shana believes that it was her upbringing that made her the fighter she is today. In her own words.
“my Mom worked multiple jobs just to put food on the table for me and my sister. I think a lot of my strength comes from that, from watching my Mom having such challenging times being a young mother and raising two kids. She is the woman I look up to, and I get a lot of my courage from. My fighting spirit comes from having to face so much adversity from a young age, and having to always find ways to overcome them’’
Indeed, Shana’s adversities seemed to have finally gotten the better of her when, in August of 2012, she was diagnosed with Pulmonary embolism, a rare condition where the blood vessels in the lungs are blocked by blood clots, leading to shortness of breath, sharp pains and even death if not treated timeously. After spending 10 days in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Shana was told that she could never train or participate actively in any sport again because of the warfarin (a blood thinning agent) that she had to have pumped into her system to clear the 28 clots that doctors found in her lungs, and because the condition is hereditary, she would have to have it administered to her for the rest of her life. Fast forward to exactly 18 months after that gut-wrenching prognosis Shana was defiantly competing in her first ever boxing match, and 4 years later she had lifted the Women’s amateur MMA Bantamweight Title having carved a bloody route to the top with a record of 4 fights, Four wins with only one of the fights ever having gone the distance.
Now she stands on the brink of greatness. Next week, at the Historic EFC 54 which will be held at Sun City Resort, Shana has the chance to etch another milestone in History by becoming the first ever EFC Worldwide Flyweight Champion and thus take another mammoth step toward becoming Africa’s greatest female combat athlete yet. But standing in her way is the fearless, ever aggressive Amanda ‘Mad Dog” Lino, another seasoned veteran who has a 100% KO ratio in all the fights that she has won, and only one loss to her name, which came via rear naked choke to Isabelle Pare at EFC 43. When asked for her prediction for her upcoming fight, as always, the soft spoken Power refused to commit, and simply remarked;
“MMA is a very tricky sport. You can only be as prepared as the outcome, I have full faith in my coaches, I trust my team, Amanda has a very aggressive fighting style, she has fought like that for her whole career but I think that I am ready for whatever she may bring and I wish her the best of luck”
…classy to the very end.
However the outcome of her next fight, Shana Power is definitely a fighter to watch. At just 24, her story is already an inspiration to people from all walks of life, a story of resilience, unbounded determination and triumph in the face of seemingly unsummable obstacles.
Below is a casual comparison based on breakout champions like Ronda Rousey to see if Shana has what it takes to be the next great MMA superstar.
|Solid support structure and good training camp/team||Adoring, supportive mother, trains with the legendary Fight Fit Militia(need we say more?)|
|Discipline||Trains 6 days a week, at least thrice daily…|
|Sense of humor||See’s herself as an incarnation of the Marvel character ‘Deadpool’|
|Determination and drive||Beat pulmonary embolism via unanimous (doctors’) decision in under 12 months|
|Combat Strength and skill||Combined amateur and pro record of 6-0-0 in MMA
KO ratio of 50% in pro MMA
|Beauty||(lies in the eyes of the beholder, but as you can see from the photos in this article…)|
She scores very highly on the Southafricanmma.com “watch this one” checklist. Be sure to remember that you heard this first, as always, from southafricanmma.com.