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Flying Knee: A feast of fighting – from Contenders 24 to Cage Warriors 99

PUBLISHED: 17:15 15 August 2018 | UPDATED: 17:47 15 August 2018

Fabio Wardley will be back in action in Ipswich on September 14.  Picture: SARA THOMAS

Fabio Wardley will be back in action in Ipswich on September 14. Picture: SARA THOMAS

Copyright Photos by Sara 2017

In his latest Flying Knee column, Mark Heath looks at the incredible few months of big-time boxing and MMA shows we have to look forward to in the region.

Billy Bird, left, will fight for an English title in Ipswich. Picture: MARK HEWLETTBilly Bird, left, will fight for an English title in Ipswich. Picture: MARK HEWLETT

After a month off this column for a summer break, we’re back with a bang as some tremendous shows and fights have been revealed for the autumn.

We are blessed with a lot of fighting talent in these parts, and many of our best will be putting it all on the line before the end of the year – all are worthy of your support.

Without further ado, here’s what we have to look forward to...

- Championship Boxing, Friday, September 14, Ipswich Corn Exchange

Big-time boxing returns to Ipswich again, and this time there’s a championship belt on the line.

Ipswich heavyweight prospect Fabio Wardley (4-0, 3KO) brought pro boxing back to the town for the first time in almost 20 years in May, and he’ll again be a big part of this bill.

But the man main-eventing is the much-liked Billy Bird, an Ipswich Town fan from Braintree who trains under Graham Everett and Jon Thaxton in Norwich.

Ryan Copland will be in action in Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNRyan Copland will be in action in Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Bird (18-1, 2 KO) will face Adam Harper for the vacant English Super Welterweight Title, in what is easily the biggest fight of his career so far.

Ipswich super-welterweight prospect Ryan Copland (1-0) will also be on the bill as, I’m sure, will a lot more local fistic talent.

Visit www.shamrockboxing.co.uk for information and tickets.

- Contenders 24, Saturday, September 29, Epic Studios, Norwich

The excellent Contenders promotion returns for the first time since April with what looks to be one of their best shows yet. The promotion mixes MMA, K-1 and boxing fights, all inside a championship-sized cage.

Only a couple of fights have been announced so far, but they are crackers. In the main event, unbeaten Dereham lightweight Scott Butters (2-0) faces by far his biggest test yet in the far-more experienced Kim Thinghaugen (7-6), in what will be a serious examination of how far he could go in the sport.

Thinghaugen’s mixed it with the likes of Suffolk UFC star Arnold Allen, plus Cage Warriors signees Steve Aimable and Jack Grant, and scored an upset TKO win over Thetford talent Andre Goncalves back at Contenders 17.

Scott Butters will headline Contenders 24 against Kim Thinghaugen. Picture: BRETT KINGScott Butters will headline Contenders 24 against Kim Thinghaugen. Picture: BRETT KING

Butters, 30, told me: “My thinking is I don’t have the same amount of time as if I was still 21 or 22, so I want to be taking the best route to the top.

“Yes, he is dangerous and yes, he has a lot of experience, but I have the heart, the drive and the determination to beat anyone when I’m at the top of my game.

“I know it’s going to be a totally different fight than the last two (first round wins) – I can’t see it being an early finish. I’m training for, and hoping for, a war to show people that I can still go out and put on the type of display needed to break somebody’s will, and grind them down for the full three rounds.”

In the other fight announced so far, Cromer’s super-talented Jack Mezzetti faces the very exciting Samir Bouamrane for the pro 73kg K1 title.

Visit www.contendersea.com for tickets.

- Cage Warriors Academy South East 22, Saturday, October 20, Charter Hall, Colchester

One of the feeder leagues for Europe’s top promotion Cage Warriors, these shows bring you the very best up and coming MMA talent in the region.

I hope to see Jack Mason in action on Cage Warriors 99 in Colchester. Picture: STEVE ARGENTI hope to see Jack Mason in action on Cage Warriors 99 in Colchester. Picture: STEVE ARGENT

This event will boast the semi-final bouts of the Grand Prix tournament which will crown the undisputed Cage Warriors European Amateur Champions by the end of 2018. Tickets are at www.bcmma.co.uk.

And it will set the scene for the big one, which is...

- Cage Warriors 99, Saturday, November 17, Charter Hall, Colchester

Europe’s leading MMA promotion comes to the region for the first time, in what is a major coup for the area. The promotion, which helped launch the careers of superstars Conor McGregor, Michael Bisping and Dan Hardy, is the feeder league for the king of them all, the UFC.

No fights have been announced yet, but I’m hoping to see the very best of our fighting talent in action – the likes of Jack Mason, Cory McKenna, Sean Carter, Kerry Hughes, Corrin Eaton, Steve Aimable, Tom Mearns and Andre Goncalves, and more!

Cage Warriors president Graham Boylan said: “Fighters are our priority, and we added this show to our already-packed schedule to help keep our fighters active.

“We’re here to showcase the best European talent and provide them with a platform to achieve global greatness.”

It would be superb to see Kerry Hughes in action at Cage Warriors 99 in Colchester - her hometown. Picture: SAL GOMEZIt would be superb to see Kerry Hughes in action at Cage Warriors 99 in Colchester - her hometown. Picture: SAL GOMEZ

Visit www.cagewarriors.com for tickets.

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