The 13-Year-Old Fighting Machine

The 13-Year-Old Fighting Machine

In the ever-expanding world of mixed martial arts, Reshat Mati, now 13 years old and many times a champion in several different disciplines, all of them involving punching something (or someone) more substantial than the air, is Bryce Harper. He's RG3. He's Jabari Parker. Lean and quick-handed, and quick-footed, for all that, with a taste for mixing it up, Reshat is a genuine phenom in a phenom of a sport.

Yet, in many ways, his is the oldest immigrant story of them all. It is the story lived by thousands of Hispanic immigrants and, before them, by the Irish and Germans and Jewish immigrants who poured into the tenement ghettos of the big cities and, at almost the same time, by the African Americans who came north from tenant farming and sharecropping, immigrants from one part of their own country to another. Sooner or later, you find a way to punch your way out of these circumstances.

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