When Indra Davis mentioned that one of the girls she had interviewed for this series of interviews was Lola Safronova, it was a name I had heard before.
At various points over the last year I often ask Facebook friends for interview recommendations and the Dundalk contingent on social media are always raving about her.
Lola Safronova started her Martial Arts odyssey a mere 3 years ago. At 16 she is another teenager that looks to have a very bright future ahead of her.
Similar to Kiya O’Sullivan, who we interviewed yesterday, her’s is a family that is also steeped in martial arts. Her dad was into Muay Thai while mum had a very successful time in jiu-jitsu back in her native Latvia.
Initially Lola was inspired by her brother’s early success training but now ironically though she was the last to start in the family she is the only one in the family left training and competing.
The whole family are a huge support and mum helps out with her diet and Dad makes sure she has all the gear that she needs.
Lola was bit with the bug from her first K1 fight. She KO’ed her opponent in roughly the same time it takes Usain Bolt to run a 100 metres.
Lola is the current Cage Legacy Atomweight and Super Atomweight champion.
Safronova fights out of SANDA MMA and her coach is the well regarded Darren Sonik.
When she started out fighting she was the only girl consistently training in the gym but now she has 4 or 5 other girls for company.
One of the most endearing parts of her chat with Indra was to hear how she clearly took as much enjoyment from inspiring her best friend to join up at SANDA as she does from all her own wins.
I had to laugh when Lola was asked about SANDA MMA; she rhymed off the win percentage of the gym for the past year as well as the number of fights the club had. (80.6% and over 130). Similar to Kiya O’Sullivan this is clearly a lady in love with what she is doing.
SANDA cover a mix of all the disciplines but at the moment, because of her age she is mainly competing in K1; to stunning success I might add.
MMA is the yellow brick road she is on though and turning professional and fighting in Invicta or the UFC are very real goals of Lola’s
In the beginning, sparring with the boys was a bit frightening but before long the gang were treating her like one of the lads.
” At the start they used to be like, I can’t hit you coz you’re a girl. After awhile I was saying Oh my God just hit me OK!!”
She strikes upon another common theme I hear a lot from clubs around the country. Lola wouldn’t be doing it; if it wasn’t for her Coach and teammates. She talks about them like family. A community of kindred spirits.
Indra hit on a good point during this point of the Interview. The atmosphere in good MMA clubs creates an environment where men and women, girls and boys, develop a friendship, kinship, respect and bond with members of the opposite sex that is hard to find in other sports and no doubt great for personal development. A bond hard to achieve in regular life.
Lola’s next step will be to start mixing it up in the Novice MMA scene while also continuing to fight in K1, all the while hoping to keep those belts shiny and at home!.
Interview with Indra Davis of Shaolin MMA Click here to see Info on their Women’s MMA classes.
Photos from Nicky Johnson click here to see more of Nicky’s work