KIRKCALDY man Kevin Cottrell first joined the Fighting Fit gym in order to lose weight.
Little did he know that it would be his first steps towards becoming a national Thai boxing champion.
Kevin won the UKMF Scottish super-welterweight title last weekend, defeating Andy Cairns from Glasgow at the Corn Exchange in Haddington.
It marked the completion of a long journey to the top of the sport for the 29-year-old father of two.
“I’ve pretty much trained for this moment for the last eight years,” he told the Press.
“It’s my best sporting achievement and for it to come in one of the most competitive weight divisions in Scotland makes it even better.
“I joined the gym when I was 21 to try and lose weight but after training for a wee while I got addicted to the fighting.
“I’ve dedicated everything to it – training at night in the gym and getting up early for extra running before work.
“When you have a full-time job and two kids at home it takes up your whole life, but I love the sport, and the whole feeling of winning.”
Kevin’s record as a fighter stands at an impressive 15 wins, seven losses and one draw.
One of his defeats came in his only previous title fight in May, which he was keen to make amends for.
“There was no way I was going to lose this one,” said the Dunnikier Estate resident.
“My last title fight was in a heavier weight, but this was my first title shot at my proper weight.
“I’ve been around the top of the rankings for a while, and I’m one of the most active fighters.
“It was a title shot that was well overdue, and that made winning it all the sweeter.”
Kevin’s fight went the full five rounds before going to the judges scorecards, where Kevin was announced as the champion, receiving the UKMF belt, and the £250 purse.
“It’s not much but it managed to cover costs,” Kevin added. “I do it for the glory – if I did it for the money I’d have stopped a long time ago.”
Kevin’s Fighting Fit team-mates Euan Irvine and Liam Stoddart were in his corner, along with trainer James Graham.
“We’re all in it together,” Kevin added. “Train as a team and everybody is as happy as you are when you win a fight.
“It takes a team effort to get to the top level.”
There was disappointment for stable mate Euan, who had hoped to follow Kevin’s success by defending his Scottish ISKA 75kg title won in 2011 at a show in Motherwell on Saturday. However, he lost on points to Aberdeen fighting Keith Middleton.