Kirkcaldy mixed martial arts fighter Steven Ray took the Cage Warriors Fighting Championship lightweight champion title on Saturday
One of Europe’s top events in the sport took place at The Forum in London and the 23-year-old returned to Fife with the belt after defeating Sean Carter in the opening round of the final.
Speaking to the Press, Steven said: “I’m feeling great, it was an amazing win.
“It was a good opportunity for me and in terms of my career it’s a massive result.”
Steven had taken on Jason Ball in the 155-pound semi-final and was supposed to meet Ivan Buchinger but he had suffered a rib injury in his semi and couldn’t proceed. Instead, Steven met Carter whom he defeated with a rear-naked choke just 4.40 into the first round of the evening’s headliner.
He said: “To be honest the fights themselves weren’t too hard, it was the training that was the most difficult.
“The way the format was for this tournament meant that I could potentially have been fighting eight different five minute rounds - forty minutes of fighting. That’s tough so I had to make sure that I was totally ready. It was weeks of hard work.”
The former St Andrews High School pupil’s training regime had suffered a couple of set backs when he to go to hospital with a suspected broken rib, and then suffered a cut after a clash of heads.
“The rib injury meant I wasn’t able to roll or spar which wasn’t ideal. Thankfully I was able to recover in time from both, but it was a worry at the time.”
At the tournament Steven was cheered on by a small group of family and friends who had travelled down with him, but found he had a whole new set of supporters by the end of the night.
He said: “I’d sold 10 tickets to family and friends who came down to cheer me on but what was really surprising was that the crowd seemed to warm to me - I turned them around!
“By the time I got to the final half the arena was cheering me on.
“It gives you a bit of a lift but to be honest once I’m in the cage I’m completely focused on the fight - It’s me against him, but it was great to hear them chanting my name at the end.”
With his hands now on the belt Steven said it gives him belief, with a defence of his title at new year looking likely.
“Being able to beat someone like Jason Ball who is also a professional boxer, jiu jitsu brown belt, and much more experienced than I am does my confidence a world of good,” he said.