Cage fighting popular with juniors

Ipswich cage-fighter Pacer Allen believes more youngsters will start to take up the sport as it continues to grow in popularity.The 40 year-old former UK strong man and show wrestler is planning his own professional cage-fighting debut.

By Stuart Watson

Ipswich cage-fighter Pacer Allen believes more youngsters will start to take up the sport as it continues to grow in popularity.

The 40 year-old former UK strong man and show wrestler made his professional cage-fighting debut at the Corn Exchange last Friday in front of a crowd of hundreds.

The imposing heavyweight is now hoping that the sport, known as mixed martial arts due to its combination of the likes of boxing, karate and jujitsu, will be accepted as a recognised discipline of its own that youngsters can train in from an early age.

Allen said: “There is a total misunderstanding about the sport and I think that comes down to the blood. If you get punched on the nose it looks messy, but to be honest I find boxing more traumatic because you don't see the head injuries being caused.

“The cage fighting tag puts some people off, but those involved prefer to call it mixed martial arts. It really does define the ultimate fighter because it incorporates all the different styles.

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“It is extremely difficult to not only learn all the different techniques, but then combine them and make them flow.

“I want to show people that it is not as barbaric as they think, like other martial arts it is very disciplined and takes a great deal of dedication.

“There are specific MMA clubs emerging and I've already seen a few lads as young as 14 giving it a go. At a young age it is obviously all non contact, but by teaching all the different skills early we could produce some phenomenal fighters.

“The sparring is very restrained and those that come along just looking for a brawl wouldn't last long. I've broken a rib and had my jaw put out of line slightly before, but those injuries are just as likely to happen in a rugby match.”

At present the only dedicated mixed martial arts club is the Blue Wave Gym in Bury St Edmunds, however it is likely to be confirmed that a new club will open in Ipswich in the next few months.

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