South Coast Watch: Winter is coming

on-the-road-with-addictedmma-1Can you feel that, Can you smell it in the air? As the ground begins to dampen, as the neighbourhood starts to smell of bonfires in the evening. People aren’t so quick to jump out of bed in the morning, T-shirts are turning into long sleeves, the furrowed brow of Winter is upon us, but let’s take solace in the abundance of fight shows that are coming our way, crackling like the comforting log fire in your local pub. If we treat these colder months as an old friend, they will gift us with a bounty of treasures, but if the fighters on our shores show it no respect, it will take their health and lay them down with injury, stealing their opportunity at greatness. Yes Winter is upon us, things will be different as the season changes, but it’s not all bad, especially here in the South, in fact our most bitter Winters are simply a lovely Northern Summer. So put your slippers on, boil the kettle and share the contents between a steaming mug of Horlicks and your humble but loyal hot water bottle. There are fights down South to discuss, as ever the South Coast Watch is on the case.

Whats James Brum been up to people have been asking? Well judging by his social media he has only gone and fallen in love, gone are the beard photos, and the training pictures have become a minimal component of his Facebook and Twitter, these have been replaced with shots of romantic meals and jaunty strolls in the parks. All’s not lost though! One of the South Coast’s favourite sons has still been keeping the training going, this has been happening over in Thailand at the Tiger Muay Thai and MMA training camp. For ages now it has been believed that Job Done’ Brum has been teetering on the brink of a UFC call up, his performances, popularity and results screamgive me a shot’. Frustratingly though it has never come to fruition, this coming weekend Brum steps back into the cage, this time in Glasgow, Scotland as growing promotion ACB look to put on a European super card that includes such names as Robert Whiteford, Saul Rogers, Norman Parke, John Maguire and Danny Mitchell. Brum will be facing heavy handed Russian Sayd-Khamzat Avkhadov who is riding a three fight win streak. I had the chance to get in touch with James as he was wrapping things up in Thailand, his usual upbeat self he had a message for everybody:

14446155_10153808568087031_3544703630691784587_n“Looking forward to fighting on ACB 47 in Scotland! You can expect the usual intensity & fireworks that have made me a fan favourite on the European MMA scene, but with a host of new skills to entertain the Scottish fans in attendance & the ACB fans watching live around the globe. Looking forward to being back in the cage & getting the job done”

It is a risky fight for sure but we all know Brum likes a good challenge, we wish you all the best at Addicted James.

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On the same night that James Brum will be looking to leave his mark in Scotland, Shock n Awe will be having its twenty third show in Portsmouth, at its spiritual home the Mountbatten Centre. Now 23 shows is not to be sniffed at and is a fantastic achievement if you take into account the incredibly high standards the promotion has kept over the years. There is nothing ten a penny about Shock n Awe, promoters Brian Adams and Gareth Johnson have grafted hard to produce flawlessly matched bouts and an amateur division that is turning out battle scarred but professional ready athletes. Shock n Awe is one of a very few crops of pure proving grounds, many talk the talk when it comes to flourishing well challenged amateur battlegrounds, but Shock n awe truly walks the walk.

So this weekend it all goes down once again on the South Coast, as expected the night is completely littered with new talent facing off against each other, and a smorgasbord of exciting professional ninjas looking to roundhouse punch each other in the mush.

13719468_10154363362115477_6340032104819574381_oHeadlining the card will be local superhero Owen Gayle as he looks to snatch the 125lb title from the steely grip of Lurie Bejenari. Gayle is hugely popular down South and it is no mystery why, the extremely explosive striker can turn a man lights out in the blink of an eye and with these great powers has collected a historic highlight reel of finishes, that the likes of Mary Whitehouse would have had banned and labeled a video nasty back in the day. I spoke to Gayle briefly this week and he asked me to pass on a stark warning to Bejenari:

“I’m coming for two things come Saturday night….. His belt and his soul!”

Yep! I’m looking forward to that one, Bejenari will be no pushover though, he has a steely resolve and skills for days, could be the makings of a classic.

Molly McCann is back, another hugely popular fighter that the South Coast has adopted from Liverpool, Not much needs to be said about Molly, we all know she loves a scrap, she loves punching people in the face but like many of Jeff Lawson’s students she has continually added unconventional flair to her martial arts arsenal. Coming in to face McCann will be Macicillia Benkhettache, bet the commentary team are looking forward to that!

13006693_10154146078188024_1659042658400105688_nJade Barker, hell of a competitor is Jade, and as well as a vicious kicker she has got subs too, she likes to stalk her opponent down and is always looking for a finish, of course this makes her a very exciting fighter and she is no stranger to the fight of the night award. Coming in to exchange un-pleasantries with Barker will be the super tough Helen Harper who had some success on The Ultimate Fighter reality show, it was a tight decision that saw Harper lose her place in the competition but she certainly impressed a lot of people with her skills. I was able to catch up with Jade to get her thoughts on fighting on Shock n Awe again:

“Ever since going to my first Shock n Awe I wanted to compete on it! Now to be able to fight for a title is literally a dream come true, So a win against a tough girl like Helen will be the highlight of my MMA career so far.”

I’m going to stick my neck out here and say I fancy this one for fight of the night, I am confident that both ladies will battle until the bitter end.

13707797_10153598571516594_311332666614199268_nHoly Moly did I get excited when I heard Jay Butler and Jamie Pritchard signed to fight each other, now I really like both of these fellas and they are both gentlemen of the fight game, but sweet baby Jesus this has the potential to be a cracker. Both men are as mustard as a promoter could hope for on fight day, both have sick skills on the canvas but also indulge in a very aggressive style of fisticuffs, this will be an explosive battle for sure and there is a high likelihood of a finish from either of these crowd pleasers. I caught up with both men this week to get some words from them, Butler was the first to speak:

“I have huge respect for my opponent, but this fight is kill or be killed. One of us is going out in the first round”.

Jay is clearly aware of how important a victory is for both guys, Jamie echos the same sentiments:

“I’m coming back to Portsmouth on Saturday night to put on a show – We both have legit jiu-jitsu and everyone knows that, so Jay, I beg you, for one night only, grow a pair of balls and let’s put on the type of fight that people will still be talking about in years to come!”

Well I guess there are nicer ways he could have said it, but it’s the fight game, so who cares? Best of luck to both Jay and Jamie from us at the Watch, both men are honourable fighters, nice guys and family men, may the best man win.

Starting the professional segment of the fight card off will be none other than the returning Darren Hession, you never ever have any idea how it will go down with this powerhouse. A little warning if you suffer from epilepsy, you may want to look away when this fight starts because the talent this man has for cracking out flash knock-outs should come with a public health warning. There is power in them fists and he is crafty with it, Jonathan Bosuku will be travelling over from France to face Hession, the possibilities of what could occur are endless.

This is not to be missed.

13775992_638103746338167_5336616837954042719_nAs we have said the undercard is stacked with amateur talent but the main talking point has been about two fighters who wouldn’t look out of place in the professional ranks. Now I did chat about the title fight between Ethan Charlesworth and Chris Tallis in the last edition of the South Coast Watch, so I won’t bore you by regurgitating it all. This is simply an epic fight and what Shock n Awe is all about. I caught up with Charlesworth this week to get his thoughts on the fight:

“I cannot wait for this fight, to me belts mean nothing. Tough fights and strong opponents mean everything to me. I’m looking to test myself with each battle and I’m always looking for the hardest fight, this is what gets my blood pumping. Saturday night win, lose or draw, Chris and I are going to put on the best amateur fight you will ever see. 3×3 minute rounds of chaos”

See this is what I am talking about? That spirit, that sense of adventure, that will to overcome all odds, Tallis also let me know what it would mean to him to take that belt home on Saturday night:

“It means fucking lots mate, got a belly to cover up init”

Ahh! Good old Chris, he will never change bless him. The belts may have different meanings for both of these guys, but when that cage door slams shut on Saturday night both men will give everything they have to have their hand raised.

Now I could go on all night about the abundance of fights, but my limited vocabulary forces my brain to start shutting down around the 1800 word mark, so I’m going to start wrapping it up.

Nicholas Fielding and Jawany Scott guarantees a fantastic fight for the fans, as does Aaron Lalaye and Dillin West. The talent between these four young men alone puts them on the watch list, but the actual matchmaking is delicious, followed by a dessert, probably a sticky toffee pudding. (Thats my favourite)

Keep your eye out for young GYM01 fighter Sam Green, we got to see him compete recently and if he follows the same path he has been on, he could well become a big name of the future.

Gareth Hales, Alex Hinton, Luke Tanner, Bradley Wills, Jack Lowe, Ashleigh Kilvington and Ollie Southern are all names you should be looking out for, all are talented, all are capable of great things on Saturday night.

Now I must get back to my real life, Its leg day today so I’m trying to decide between KFC and Nando’s. The South Coast Watch will be back soon, not sure when, haven’t got anything pencilled in, haven’t signed anything, haven’t made any promises, but it will be back… Probably..

See you at Shock n Awe.