Flying Knee: Corrin Eaton set for K1 title fight at Contenders Norwich 19
- Credit: Jerry Daws/ Contenders Ltd
There’s a lot happening on the MMA and combat sports scene locally over the next few weeks, with big shows and big fights aplenty. MARK HEATH brings you all the latest news in his Flying Knee column.
Contenders Norwich returns to the Norfolk Showground in June - but this time with a twist.
While the hugely popular event is usually a mix of MMA, K1 kick-boxing and boxing, their summer show this year will be a showcase of stand-up fighting.
So, on June 3, fight fans will be treated to around 20 bouts, all K1 or boxing – and this time in a 21-foot boxing ring as oppose to the usual cage – while earlier in the day the Showground will host a light continuous kick-boxing show.
All in all, it’s set to be a real feast for fight fans.
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Top of the bill, and fighting for the Contenders 66kg title, will be Ipswich MMA star Corrin Eaton, testing himself in a bout where he won’t be able to take the fight to the floor and employee his trademark ground-and-pound.
He faces stylish striker Modestas Andrijauskas in a battle which is sure to entertain as well as intrigue - how will Eaton, a real rising featherweight star in the MMA game, fare in a purely stand-up fight, wearing bigger gloves than he’s used to?
“I spoke to Brad (Pickett, British MMA legend and one of Eaton’s coaches at Team Titan) and he said ‘you know what, I like that!” said Contenders promoter Steve Newman.
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“It will be a really interesting fight, for the title. Corrin is a big draw and he’s always exciting, so I’m really looking forward to that.”
Indeed, the card is stacked with fascinating fights from top to bottom.
Norwich’s Ben Sell, a really slick, exciting fighter, defends his youth K1 title against Ipswich kick-boxing ace Jack Purdy, while Kings Lynn boxing talent Stevi-Ann Levy faces fellow Norfolk pugilist Tia Sayer.
Dom Barnard and AJ Antonio will meet in an eliminator clash for the right to fight for the 70kg title Barnard lost to Bury St Edmunds’ Unit 1 fighter Som Haddow, while Piotr Panczak will defend his 77kg title for the second time.
Ipswich’s Dennis Turner, of Mamba Martial Arts, will enjoy his last fight, a boxing battle with Sean Williams, and hotly-touted Norwich fighter Evan Norman will make his K1 debut.
Rounding out the fights signed so far is an interesting 61kg battle between Unit 1’s Fran Clarke and Cromer’s Beth Boland, plus seriously skilled kick-boxer Jakub Doman will be in action.
“K1 is a very, very exciting form of fighting to watch, especially when you get talented fighters like we have in there,” said Newman.
“With the kickboxing show earlier in the day too, that Saturday is going to be a real celebration of combat sports - it’s going to be really exciting!”
For tickets, visit www.contendersea.com. Anyone who attends the kick-boxing show earlier in the day (10am start, tickets from £5) and who wants to attend the Contenders event will get the price of their kick-boxing ticket off the later show.
You don’t have to wait until June to get your fix of combat sports locally though - there is a cracking night of fights in Colchester this weekend!
BCMMA 19, at the Charter Hall on Saturday, is the first event under the Cage Warriors banner, BCMMA having signed a deal with the latter to feed some of its top talent through to Warriors shows.
It’s a major boost for BCMMA and its fighters, with Cage Warriors seen as one of the top European promotions, screening shows live on BT Sports. And there’s certainly a lot of talent worth keeping an eye on this Saturday.
Top of the bill is the always entertaining Kerry Hughes, making her cage return after losing her bantamweight title last time out. Hughes, just back from a month training at the famed Jackson Wink gym in New Mexico, is rarely in a bad fight and packs serious power in her hands and feet - she has the talent to go a long way in the sport.
Also keep an eye on two super-talented amateurs on the card - Leigh Mitchell defends his flyweight title, while straw-weight champ Cory McKennna looks to add the women’s flyweight belt to her collection. Visit www.bcmma.co.uk for tickets.One fighter who’s appeared on both Contenders and BCMMA shows is Jamie Powell, and his next fight will be his biggest yet.
The Wisbech flyweight, 7-1, faces unbeaten Swede Amir Albazi (9-0) on the undercard of Bellator 179 at the SSE Arena Wembley in London on May 19.
Powell, a formidable wrestler and slick boxer, truly deserves a shot on the bigger stage which Bellator brings. It will be fascinating to see how far he can go.