The championship belt. A symbol of triumph, hard work and accomplishment.
Most common in the fight game – either boxing, pro wrestling or MMA – the championship belt resonates amongst sports fans young and old.
For Tamuning resident Mike "Big Mike" Taijeron, growing up a big boxing and pro wrestling fan carried into his adult life as he started his own belt-making company called Big Mike’s Championship Belts.
There was no better feeling as a kid for Big Mike than seeing his favorite pro wrestler Hulk Hogan lift that World Wrestling Federation championship belt, sweaty and bloody (fake or not) after a huge match.
“Those were the days,” Taijeron recalled. “The champ would wear it around the waist or over their shoulder. Wherever they went, that championship belt went with them. It was a symbol of strength and hard work, and I respect that.”
Taijeron remembered making his first championship belt out of cardboard at the age of 5.
“Then, one day, my parents surprised us with a kids championship belt! It was plastic, but we didn’t care, we were so excited,” Taijeron said. “It was the same belt Hulk Hogan had. For fun back then, my dad would get my mom, my little brother and me to watch boxing and WWF wrestling on TV. It was a family thing we did every week and, after the matches, we would wrestle or box. Tag team matches with my dad and my brother versus me and my mom or vice versa. This would all go down in our family living room, and whoever won, would get that championship belt. That’s how my love and respect for the championship belt all started.”
Growing up playing baseball and football, practicing karate and swimming, Taijeron had his share of trophies, plaques and medals, but it was that championship belt that has always caught his eye – and heart.
Taijeron’s passion for belts turned into a collection and borderline obsession. He had to get the classic belts and the one-of-a-kinds. It got to a point that he was making a name for himself in the championship belt business.
“I found myself meeting fellow belt enthusiasts online,” he said. "I started buying some of my favorite belts from when I was a kid and got into collecting classic championship belts. As I started to get more into the hobby and started to upgrade my belt collection, I met more and more people. I had a few one-of-a-kind belts and it led me to meet some of the top collectors in the hobby. They reached out to me and people started buying my belts and asking me to find certain belts for them for their collection.”
Taijeron’s progression reached a level of trading before a belt-maker made contact. They became business partners and, as they say, the rest is history.
Taijeron is now a member of a belt-making company in charge of the Asia Pacific region. He’s already done some amazing work on local events such as cooking contests, karaoke contests, fantasy football leagues, jiujitsu tournaments and fighting events.
You can reach out to Big Mike on Instagram @bigmikeschampionshipbelts and see for yourself what he’s done and what he can do for you.
“I’m starting off here at home and working hard to become the go-to company for championship belts on this side of the world,” he said.