A KIRKCALDY mixed martial arts fighter overcame a hostile home crowd to win his first bout on English soil – and claim a European title in the process.
Steven Ray, a member of the Dunnikier Road based Edge MMA fight team, took on Davey Parker at the Spennymoor Leisure Centre in Durham on Saturday for the Total Combat professional welterweight belt.
The former Kirkcaldy High School pupil took a minibus of 20 fans down to the event, but the majority of the 1000-strong crowd were backing his more experienced opponent, 30-year-old Parker, who trains at the local gym.
But Steven, who turns 21 before the end of the month, further enhanced his growing reputation in the ‘cage fighting’ scene by securing victory, knocking his opponent unconscious after two minutes and 14 seconds of the first round.
The delighted Fifer told SportsPress: “That was the first time I’ve fought out of Scotland and it was an experience.
“My opponent’s fight team were based five minutes along the road, so he had a lot of fans there.
“I came out with the Scotland flag tied around my waist and once all the English fans saw that, they all started to boo.
“They were booing me again at the end when I won the fight.
“They all came to see Davey Parker win so they were obviously disappointed.
“But once the paramedics woke him up, Davey gave me a cuddle then put the belt on me.
“After that, the fans started clapping.
“I’ve never trained so hard for a fight, so it was well deserved.”
As a professional MMA fighter, Steven’s preparation for fights involves a rigorous 10-week training programme.
“I had a drink at New Year and ate all the Christmas chocolate I could, but since then I’ve been on a total health kick,” he said.
“I’ve been training full-time every night, eating healthily and losing weight, which is hard when all your mates are party animals.
“It was all worthwhile though because I came out uninjured – he never hit me at all.
“I managed to get a few strikes in with my hands before getting him into the arm triangle and choking him to sleep.
“I’ll probably need to go back down to Durham in a few months to defend the title, so I won’t be celebrating my 21st with a drink.”