Saturday, March 17, 2007

Cumbrians fight for British titles tonight

By Helen Thompson

ULTIMATE Fight fans will be treated to four professional title bouts on tonight’s War in Workington III show.

Whitehaven mixed martial arts expert Martin Thompson will challenge experienced Cage Rage fighter Brian Adams, from Portsmouth, for the War in Workington light heavyweight British title at Moorclose Sports Centre.

Workington’s Neil Bragg will attempt to win the WIW British heavyweight title by taking on Michael Kita, who is also very experienced and from the Portsmouth area.

There is a British lightweight title bout between London’s Aaron Blackwell and Dave Smyth, from the north east.

Brazilian ju-jitsu black belt Cristiano Ribas is one of the top attractions on the night. He flew into the UK this week and has been training at the Hokushinko Fight Academy, in Workington.

He will take on Newcastle-based Aaron Barrow for a European lightweight title.

Organiser Mark Hodgson said: “I have got high hopes for all the title fights. I haven’t made any of them easy. The two local lads are fighting good opponents, so they will all have to be on their game.

“A lot of promoters wanted the clash between Blackwell and Smyth on their show too, so I was pleased to have that. And Ribas is a really big name.

“To have him on my show is phenomenal and the local lads who are fighting are going to be on the same bill with these top names and they can only learn from that.”

Fourteen bouts are lined-up for tonight, with up to 700 people expected to attend.

Other local names on the bill include Distington’s David McKerritt, who will be fighting Gareth Storman, of Wales, in a professional middleweight bout, and Tommy Smith, of Salterbeck, who takes on Yorkshireman Mark Haig in the light heavyweight division.

Local boxing coach John Rice, of Workington, will face Yorkshire’s Jamie Wilkinson in the light heavyweight bout.

Workington’s Jonathan Short is fighting at welterweight against Oliver Barrass, from the north east, while Carl Fearon and Craig Dolan, both from Workington, will fight at lightweight. Andrew Reeves, also of Workington, has a welterweight clash with Andrew Treen.

Hodgson is on the lookout for opponents for Whitehaven’s Russell Burns at welterweight and for bantamweight Warren Straughton, of Workington, as their opponents have pulled out injured.

Some tickets are still available on the door, priced £25. Doors open at 5.30pm, with the first fight at 6.30pm.


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