Nawfel Belacem scored a nasty knockout at Battle Arena Wolverhampton that left many wondering who the newcomer was. It turned out to be Tunisia born 43-year-old Nawfel Belgacem, who was making his return after over 20 years out of the ring. We found out more in an interview with the Wolverhampton BJJ fighter.
Nawfel Belgacem Scores Nasty Knockout
Nawfel Belgacem Interview
Hi Nawfel, thanks for answering a few questions following your big knockout win. How are you feeling a few days after the fight?
Hi, I went to the fight with a couple of injuries, so I’m feeling a bit sore. That hasn’t stopped me from going back to the gym, though.
Other than training out of Wolverhampton BJJ and having heavy hands, it’s hard to find out a whole lot of your story. Who is Nawfel Belgacem, and why haven’t we seen him, knockout people, sooner?
I’m originally from Tunisia with a boxing background. There were few successful years, collecting four championships, but I had to stop competing to go to university. I studied law and economic science. I came to the UK in 2003, only just making a living, working. There wasn’t much in the ways of martial arts locally.
If I am correct, this is your first fight in 24 years. That’s quite the layoff. Why did you stop in the first place?
Yes, It was a very long time. As I said previously, life was very busy, and the inconveniences that life throws at you sometimes prevent you from doing the things you enjoy.
Belgacem Talks Return the Cage
What made you step back in the cage again after all these years at the age of 43?
About three years ago, I decided to join Wolverhampton BJJ Gym. I enjoyed getting back to martial arts and learning new things. It has been and still is a fantastic journey with a great club and a great team. Coach Hugh has suggested that I should have a go, and after a bit of thinking, I decided to.
At the very beginning of the fight, you were dropped with the very first punch. Were you hurt, or was it more of a slip?
It was definitely a slip. As I charged forward, I lost my footing. You can’t be hurt if you get up and keep coming forward. It was still a mistake on my part. I should’ve known better.
Very quickly, you seemed to assert yourself, at one point throwing him all over the cage. Did you feel a big strength difference in there?
Look, man, I don’t want to sound big-headed, but I always knew I would be a lot stronger when it comes to strength, even before starting the fight. Yes, I’m 43 and may not be as strong as I was in my 20’s, but when it comes to strength, I have been blessed with a lot of it. My teammates at Wolverhampton BJJ know what I’m talking about.
Belgacem Rains on Bout
You were hitting your opponent with heavy shots for what seemed like minutes at a time, yet he survived. Did you ever doubt being able to finish him?
I have a lot of respect for my opponent. He’s really brave and took a lot of hard shots. I didn’t doubt that I’d got the fight under control. Especially in the second round, I dominated the fight in all aspects. I knew the fight was over when I hit him with a roundhouse kick. I could see him in a lot of trouble, and it was just a matter of one or two more assaults, and the ref would have to stop it.
You managed to hit the switch in the finishing sequence and put him out cold. Just how good did that feel?
Job done. Even if I wasn’t that convinced with my performance, I mean, okay. I’m 43 and took more than two decades away from the ring, but I know what I can be when I’m at my best.
Do you plan on taking any more fights after that performance?
Look, man. I just went for the experience. I did enjoy myself and would love to have another go, but let’s see how things go.
Thanks for your time Nawfel, anything else you want to add?
A massive thanks to Wolverhampton BJJ for offering me this opportunity. Also a big thanks to all my teammates that have been there for me, we are a great multicultural family. I respect every single one of them and won’t forget who was there to support me.
The Big Three
Favourite Fighter – Tyson Fury
Favourite Fight – Fury vs Wilder 3
G.O.A.T? – Tyson Fury
This is the toughest question by far. There are too many great fighters out there in all kinds of martial arts. I think at this moment Tyson Fury is the man. Great fighting spirit to come back from a dark place.
Is Nawfel Belgacem the longest time between fights you can remember?
Featured image credits to Battle Arena