In Ismaila, the north-eastern Egyptian city, amateur boxers have a dream to replicate the famous American world wrestling in Egypt.
In an Egyptian schoolyard, these boxers come dressed in various costumes with their faces painted to put up a show for spectators.
The boxing ring is lit up with light effects with rock music in the background.
We are not at the same level as the WWE wrestlers because of the lack of resources, and as individuals, we have high stamina in combat, even though our resources are very limited.
‘‘We hope that the name EWR will be known around the world, like World Wrestling. We want everyone to know our names, as everyone knows about WWE wrestlers. We want everyone to know who is Ashraf ‘Kabonga’, who is “Spiderman”, who is “Commando”, who is “Tiger”, “Lumberjack”, “Dracula” and “Batman.” Each of them should be known to the world, said Ashraf Mahrous, founder of a self-acclaimed Egyptian professional wrestling federation.
But the joy of nearly one thousand spectators was short-lived as enthusiastic young people got up and approached the ring. Organizers said was not in line with safety rules and decided to end the show.
‘‘We are not at the same level as the WWE wrestlers because of the lack of resources. And as individuals, we have high stamina in combat, even though our resources are very limited. We do it all ourselves, but the WWE wrestlers have people who support them financially and provide them with places to train, which makes it easier for them. They have a lot more experience than us, but as individuals, we have better endurance and better performance. God willing, we will reach and surpass them, said 28-year old wrestler, Momen Mohamed, nicknamed “Commando”.
37-year old, Ashraf Mahrous is married and a father. He founded the Egyptian Professional Wrestling Federation (EWR), an unofficial group of eight wrestlers in 2012. The group includes girls who dream of the famed American professional boxers. It now has some 50 fans across the country.
Nicknamed ‘ Kabonga, Mahrous has set up a rudimentary ring infront of his family home in a nearby village. Here, wrestlers come to practice in the middle of fields and small brink buildings under construction.
These dreamers are using social media to spread the word about the sport in Egypt. They hope the North African nation will have a wrestling federation to support the sport.