The Tiger planning to hang up MMA boots to teach youngsters
- Credit: Archant
He’s nicknamed the Tiger – but Harwinder Singh Sira is not as scary as he might seem in the ring.
The MMA (mixed martial arts) champion has won all of his fights since taking up the sport just under a year ago.
But now he has set a date for his final fight, and is planning to hang up his boots to help youngsters get involved with martial arts.
The 33-year-old lost his way after his kickboxing club closed when he was just 16.
“I didn’t really find another club and I ended up getting into quite a few problems,” he said.
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Harwinder said he started getting in to fights, thinking he was “helping out friends”.
“I’ve been in very bad trouble because I thought I had friends – the best environment was the martial arts environment,” he said.
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“My life has got back on track since I started to train again.
“The main message is don’t let people use you.”
Harwinder, who lives with his parents in Newbury Park, had been working as a builder, but when the recession hit, business went dead.
And after his relationship also broke down, he said he realised he needed to sort his life out.
“They were bitter blows for me to get through,” he said.
“Everyone was saying ‘you can’t do this, you’re too old’. But I said, you’re not me, I believe in myself.”
And on June 13 last year he took part in – and won – his first fight.
As well as competitive fights, the Tiger also raises money at charity fights including for Midland Langar Seva, which provides food and other items to homeless people.
But he said Friday June 12 will be his last fight.
“I want to start teaching,” he said. “I just want to give back to the community.
“When you’re doing athletic work, you’re staying away from drugs and alcohol and that type of stuff.
“If I’d had martial arts in my life, it would have really helped me.
“You meet decent people, everyone’s like a family.”
As for his nickname, he said he has always had it – even before his fighting days.
“It’s what my parents call me,” he said. “We are Sikhs, we are warriors – we are the warrior race.”
The fight is at Troxy in Commercial Road, Whitechapel.