Nick-named the ‘Python’, Andreas Pantelides is one of the returning medallists competing in the 2024 GAMMA European Championships in Slovakia this week in the U18s at -70.3kg.

The 16-year-old earned a bronze medal in GAMMA’s inaugural 2023 U18 World Championships in his home country of Greece, hosted by the MMA department of the Hellenic Wrestling Federation last September.

Hailing from the city of Alexandroupolis, where the Youth Worlds took place and training at MMA Alexandroupolis gym under the coaching of his father Aris Pantelides, the Euros marks Andreas’ first away GAMMA tournament. Outside of GAMMA, his amateur MMA record stands at 3 -1.

Here with teammates Nikolaos Gkrisikioudis (U16, -58.7 Kg), Alexandros Bozic Pavlos (U18, 70.3 Kg), and Ilias Tsakalidis (U18, -56.7kg), we caught up with Andreas today after registration with some quick-fire interview questions.

What is your sports background before MMA? Wrestling and grappling.

How did you get into MMA?  My father is also my coach, so he got me into MMA training from a young age. Since that day I understood that MMA was the perfect sport for me.

You come from a family with a long wrestling history. Can you tell us a bit about that?
My ancestors have been wrestling teachers and champions, so as you can guess, wrestling and martial arts in general runs in my blood.

What are your other responsibilities and how do you balance them with training?
I follow a principle that originates from ancient Greece “Νούς υγιή εν σώματι υγιή” which directly translates to “a healthy mind inside a healthy body”. So, I am top of my class both in school and in training. Of course, this means many times I have had to sacrifice going out with friends or having time to relax, but in the end it’s worth it.

Whats the biggest challenge you have had to overcome and what keeps you motivated?
The biggest challenge l have had to face was the GAMMA World Championships that took place in September of 2023. What has kept me motivated still is the goal of getting the GAMMA World MMA gold medal.

What are you aims at the Euros and how are you approaching training?
My aim is getting the gold medal. My training is done very professionally with four trainers, a nutritionist and a physical therapist watching over me.

What would earning a medal for your country mean to you?
Everything. I feel proud and honoured to be representing my country at the highest level of European MMA.

What are your ultimate goals in MMA?
Becoming an MMA World Champion with GAMMA and getting a professional MMA contract with ONE championship.

Do have any other hobbies or special interests? I like swimming, chess and admiring nature through hiking.

You can watch the 2024 GAMMA European Championships live on GAMMA Facebook and YouTube from Tuesday 14 May.