WITH 20 years of fighting under his belt, and a few belts to his name, Arvind Lalwani wants a younger breed of fighter to emerge.
The second you see him, the nickname “The Juggernaut” makes complete sense.
Arvind Lalwani, owner and head coach of Juggernaut Fight Club, is built like a brick house. He actually looks like he would be capable of dismantling a brick house with considerable ease. He bashfully disagrees “I’m not even in my best shape anymore. I will leave the fighting to the younger generation now,” says the 36-year-old, laughing.
Lalwani started boxing at 15 and admits he “always liked combat sports”. He says his father was a big influence in this. “We used to watch Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson fights together,” he explains. It was the unfortunate passing of his father during his teenage years that gave him the push to pick up boxing.
“I was getting into a lot of bad company so I told myself that I needed an avenue for me to release my angst.”
Boxing became a place for all his energy, with his natural size, strength, and athleticism; combat sports gave a positive space for Lalwani to express himself. His interests also led him to study kickboxing, Brazilian JuJitsu, wrestling, and MMA. Naturally, he moved on to coaching and opened his own gym in 2011.
His latest project is the Singapore Fighting Championships (SFC). He dubs it the premier amateur MMA promoter in Singapore, giving up-and-coming fighters the much-needed avenue to fight, compete, and better themselves as athletes.
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Since 2014, SFC has promoted two shows, SFC 1 and SFC 2. While fight events are held in the Southeast Asian region Lalwani felt that no options were available locally. Lalwani chose to move into a market where he saw an increasing demand with little supply of events for budding fighters to take part in. He hopes that the SFC would be the shot in the arm that the local fighting scene needed to spring into life. “Nothing was being done over here. That’s why I had to step in and do something about it. The scene had stagnated. Hopefully the SFC can try to make something out of it.”
A Tough Sport
He however contends that dreaming is a lot easier than doing, and building the sport requires a unified effort from the industry. “It’s a tough sport (and business) to be in. But I’m happy that there are those (gyms) that have stayed on and they are reaching out, helping out, and getting the fighters out,” he explains.
He says that the barriers and risks, especially in financial terms, make many averse to the idea of building in Singapore. He hopes that his passion and drive to create opportunities for local fighters, that were scarce during his own time in the ring, will steer him in the right direction.
“I treat it not only as a business, but also as something I love doing, and eventually things will happen. It will grow, the money will come in. And I can put it back in, support the fighters (and the sport).”
And as his name suggests, he remains steadfast in his pursuit of progress. He says he will continue to push through, continue forward, and become unstoppable.
“Maybe we can sell out a nice big arena, maybe the Indoor Stadium, with 10,000 people. That will be my goal in the next five years.”