Just before I went to away on a trip this last weekend, I managed to grab hold of local Amateur fighter Harry Davies and get a few of his thoughts.
By Chris Scadden @ChrisScadden
Art Jimerson, What Have You Started?
“I first became interested in MMA when, as a young lad, I used to sit in an upstairs room with my elder brother and we’d watch videos of Cage Rage, Pride, and UFC,” Harry explains. “I remember UFC 1 with the ‘one boxing glove guy’ and the Gracies taking down giants, but I couldn’t quite understand how they were winning it.
“I was interested in the sport from then on, but it wasn’t until around 2013 or 2014 that I started to think that I would like to get involved.”
“I was starting to become a bit of a fat lad, so I decided that I needed to get back into shape. I tried a ‘normal’ gym, but it wasn’t quite cutting it for me, so I rolled up at Eagle Wrestling MMA in Crawley to train under Saied Gholami, alongside Paul Bentley and George Sharman – amongst others. I also did some training with Greg Bradbury from the Gatwick kickboxing club.”
Harry’s first fight was on a WCMMA card at the Troxy theatre in London in March 2015. He finished his opponent with ground and pound at 0:19 of the first round.
“Getting that first win under my belt was just an amazing feeling. I just didn’t’ know where I was to be honest. I even went to leave the cage straight away without getting my hand raised.
“Buzzing isn’t the word!”
Two more fights followed at the same venue in fairly quick succession, with Harry taking a first round win by way of an impressive standing guillotine in his second fight, and taking the unanimous decision in his third.
Born To Fight
“I’d stopped training for a while after the third fight because I was looking forward to a nice Christmas, but around October time I ended up getting pulled into a reality TV show called ‘Born to fight’. I got into the last sixteen people chosen, then into the final ten, then we went into boot camp – which was more or less an assault course. I made it through that to the final eight.
“I was out of shape during all this, and to be honest, my heart wasn’t fully in it because I’d had three fights earlier in the year and I wanted to relax with my family. My body wasn’t trained and my mind wasn’t either.”
I’d not trained properly and I pretty much got up off the couch to fight him.
Harry knew he was taking a risk. “The thing is though, this was an opportunity and I had to take it. Opportunities like that don’t come around that often.
“I took a fight with a guy called Hristo Hristov on Warrior Challenge 23, which was all part of the Born To Fight show. I’d also stepped up from welterweight to middleweight. Hristov is a kickboxing champ and was coming down from light heavy.
“I’d not trained properly and I pretty much got up off the couch to fight him. I ended up losing the fight on points.”
WCMMA/UCMMA bossman, Dave O’Donnell was obviously impressed with Harry’s heart and performance in that fight because Harry was soon to receive the news that a competitor in the semi finals of the tournament was injured and had to pull out, and he was the first asked to stand in.
“I still hadn’t really trained properly, but we flew out to Bulgaria where I faced Henry Pulfer over three rounds. Henry won the fight via split decision, but I personally feel that was a fight that I won. In both of my fights with Hristo and Pulfer, I ended up in full mount and was landing ground and pound. In the Pulfer fight though, I was the more aggressive.
“The judges gave it the other way. I think the judges fucked it up, to be honest. (laughs)”
On Friday, March 18, Harry will be back at the Troxy, where he will again test his mettle. This time against Keddle gym’s Shane Nolan, when they contest the WCMMA 77kg title.
“The fight I have coming up is against a tough in Shane Nolan. This time though I have been training properly. After I had gotten Christmas out of the way, I started training at least ten times a week for three hours at a time. It’s pretty hard getting the amount of training needed because of my day job (as a builder), but this time I have been putting the hours in.
“Shane was on the same reality show as me so I’ve seen him fight. He is a good standup fighter, but I haven’t seen him take anyone to the floor. He is taller than me – I’m 5’10” and he is 6’3″ – and he has a good stiff jab, that’s why I have been working on my head movement. It’ll be interesting to see if this does go to the floor.”
“When I win this title, I want to defend it once. No matter what happens, family come first. I have a lot going on this year. I’ve promised the Mrs that I’m going to do the house up and stuff like that. After this fight you won’t see me fight until later on this year. I’ll still be training but not at the level I am now. Nobody’s body can take the punishment that my job dishes out plus training for ever. I’m 26, but if I’m not careful I won’t be walking by the time I’m 35. I do have aspirations of turning pro though so maybe I will be talking to my trainer Saied about that. We have done everything together so far, so that would be the way to go”.
Warrior Challenge 24 takes place at The Troxy, London on Friday, March 18. Tickets are still available HERE until 15:00.