A Derbyshire fighter is hoping an international competition in Prague will kick start his hopes of becoming a professional cagefighter.
Blackwell’s Josh Mottram has already tasted victory and clinched silverware as an amateur in his fledgling mixed martial arts (MMA) career.
The bantamweight has much loftier goals in mind however, in the demanding sport that blends disciplines like Brazilian Jiujitsu (BJJ), judo, karate, boxing and wrestling.
Having failed to land a place in an international competition last year, he’s earned selection for the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation European Championships in Prague this month.
It all started five years ago when he transitioned from judo to MMA at Alliance BJJ in Derby, training with coach Lee Bown – who is also his employer at barber shops in Alfreton, Matlock and South Normanton.
Dad Gerald explained: “He started off doing judo and progressed from there, training in karate. When MMA came on the scene the gym he’s at took it on and put on a schedule, and he got involved.
“He’s had seven fights in a cage and won a championship last year.
“Last year he entered a competition to go to Las Vegas and fight but didn’t get through.
“This year this one is being held in Prague and he’s been successful in the elimination process.
“There will be 32 countries involved, including America so it’s quite a big event.”
The Prague fights will be televised on Fight Pass, a global channel run by the sport’s biggest promoters, the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Mottram, 21, is in the process of securing sponsorships to help him achieve his dream of fighting professionally.
Gerald said: “He’s very dedicated and he’s hoping to bring back gold from this competition.
“His ambition is to fight as a pro and he’s had quite a decent response from people when it comes to sponsorship, his friends back him and he gets a good following.”
MMA is a dynamic combat sport with fights that can finish in the blink of an eye, often in a devastating manner if you’re the loved one of a losing fighter.
The Mottram family have mixed emotions about their son’s involvement, but Gerald sees the positives.
“His mother gets a bit more agitated than I do,” he said.
“I have mixed emotions, it’s a hard sport but it’s all controlled with rules and regulations.
“It’s very disciplined and as long as they both come out of the cage, shake hands and go home safely, that’s the main thing.”
Mottram, who made his competitive MMA debut at 17 and has competed in BJJ and kickboxing, begins his international debut on 21st November.
The European Championships last for five days, with Mottram fighting each day.