Contenders Kickboxing preview, timings and fight card information - everything you need to know
PUBLISHED: 14:25 30 March 2018 | UPDATED: 14:25 30 March 2018
One of the region's premier combat sports promotions launches a new era this weekend - Contenders Kickboxing. Mark Heath previews the action.
What, when and where
You’ve probably already heard of the Contenders brand - known as one of the premier MMA promotions in the country. Tonight, promoter Steve Newman puts on his first official Contenders Kickboxing card as the promotion continues to go from strength to strength.
Focused fully on purely stand-up fighting, the event will see 10 bouts battled out under either K1 or boxing rules, all inside a Championship-sized ring.
The event will be held at Epic Studios in Norwich, with the first fight set for 7pm and main event expected around 10pm.
Titles on the line?
You bet - it wouldn’t be a Contenders show without a belt or two up for grabs! In the co-main event, Samir Bouamrane, of the Knowlesy Academy, faces Sam Cottam from Tsunami Cambridge for the 74kg WKO Southern Area pro K1 title.
Then, in the main event, late replacement Milen Hristov, also from Tsunami Cambridge, faces Dean Pattinson, who hails from the Gorilla Fight Team, in a clash for the 79kg WKO English pro K1 title.
Both are fascinating match-ups, pitting fighters from some of the best gyms in the country against each other.
Grimsby’s Pattinson was originally due to trade leather with the much-decorated Liam Cullen at the top of the card, but he was forced to pull out with illness.
In his place steps the powerful Hristov, and it should make for a very compelling fight. Pattinson, unbeaten as a pro and boasting a 16-2 overall K1 record, is a swift, slick and stylish southpaw, who throws a beautiful straight left hand.
Hristov, 15-3 overall, is his opposite in many ways - a squat and muscular orthodox fighter, who unleashes bombs with either hand and favours a clubbing hook. It is a classic clash of styles, and will be fascinating viewing.
Does size matter? That could be the key here, as Bouamrane, who has won a British K1 title at 70kg – in a thriller against current Contenders 66kg pro K1 champion Ben Wooliss – moves up to 74kg to fight Cottam.
Bouamrane is a captivating fighter to watch, throwing heavy hands from either stance and mixing in the fancier techniques too – spinning backfists, axe kicks and more.
But will the tall, technical and evasive Cottam – who has fought higher than 74kg – just prove too big? We’ll find out when they start trading!
Rest of main card
The first two fights on the main card should also be exciting match-ups. There’s a Norfolk v Suffolk clash up first as Dom Barnard, of Function First, throws down with Ali Shenz of Ipswich’s East Coast Muay Thai in a 70kg K1 dust-up.
Indeed, this is a big show for Gary Staff’s East Coast stable, with three fighters in total on the card – Tomas Syska and Jessy Pickerill will also be in action.
Then, in the fight before the title bouts, Frank Collin of the GB Boxing League will meet Brandon Wilmore of Norfolk’s Heroes Gym in a 86kg boxing battle.
I’ve heard good things about Will Paddison, of Gorilla Fight Team, who will face Adrian Wu in a 60kg K1 clash, so it will be interesting to see how he fares under the bright lights of Contenders.
Danny Bryan, of Optimum Martial Arts, missed out on his debut fight at last month’s Contenders 22 after a late withdrawal, but gets his chance here against the aforementioned Syska.
And the wonderfully-named Armani Liberachi will open the night in a 70kg boxing bout with Irvidas Juskys – can he hit the right notes in the ring? See what I did there? Apologies.
Don’t miss out
There are still tickets available on the door, so head along to Epic tonight and support the sport and the fighters, who train incredibly hard around day-to-day jobs and put it all on the line to entertain.
Tickets start at £30 and go up to £50 for a VIP seat.
I’ll be there commentating on the action, so say hello if you get a chance - also good to talk fights with fellow fans!