“Cage Warriors is the show where I’m going to make my comeback and win the welterweight title.” – Tom ‘Kong’ Watson


Originally posted on 8th April 2019

Tom 'Kong' Watson
Tom ‘Kong’ Watson

Born and raised in Southampton, England, Tom Watson first started in combat sports at the age of 16, when he took up boxing.  A three-time ABA Southern Counties Champion and being awarded ‘Amateur boxing standout of the year’ in 2006 was his introduction into mixed martial arts.

Watson made his professional mixed martial arts debut on 19th February 2006 for a local show at the Copthorne Hotel and Resort in London. On ‘ZT Fight Night 1’ where he won via Guillotine choke in 71 seconds, he returned on the show’s second instalment on June 25th the same year where he won via decision.

In 2007, Watson competed in five fights for UK promotion Cage Rage gaining a record of two wins and three losses.  From 2008 – 2012 Watson fought a further twelve times for promotions Cage Rage, AFC, UCMMA (formerly Cage Rage), MFC and BAMMA.  With his sole loss to Jesse Taylor at MFC 26, Watson picked up the inaugural UCMMA middleweight title along with the BAMMA middleweight title when he fought Jack Marshman at BAMMA 9.

With news that Watson has signed to elite European promotion Cage Warriors and will be facing Aaron ‘King’ Khalid at Cage Warriors 104 on April 27th, 2019 in Cardiff, it was only fitting that I should re-introduce ‘Kong’ to the world.

You’d be forgiven if you are not familiar with Tom ‘Kong’ Watson as of late, with his last competitive fight being on August 8th, 2015 for the UFC.  Spending three years with the world’s number one promotion in the UFC, Watson had two wins and five losses (with those losses coming by way of decisions) for the UFC taking his overall record to 17-9.

Watson was not done with competing and was still actively seeking opportunities to fight in the UFC.  Having no success, Watson was released by the UFC and continued to explore roles outside of the UFC, doing some commentary jobs here and there.  It was at this point that promotion BAMMA contacted Watson regarding doing some presenting and commentary jobs for them. They also wanted Watson (who had been with BAMMA since their first event up until he signed to the UFC) to compete again for them. This news was music to Watson’s ears as he had not hung up his gloves and retired as many people thought due to his 3-year absence from the sport.

Unfortunately, due to issues out of Watson’s control, BAMMA was no longer a viable option as a promotion to make his long-awaited come back on. Instead, elite European promotion Cage Warriors signed Watson in the welterweight division (Watson previously competed in the middleweight division) in January of 2019.

Watson trains predominately at his state of the art gym called ‘Analysis’ which is located right next to him in Southampton, and with the occasional odd trip back to California to train. Watson is already preparing hard for his upcoming bout for his Cage Warriors debut.

Deciding to cut down to welterweight was an easy decision for Watson. He stated that “quite a few people had told me that I should have been a welterweight when I competed in the UFC as I never really cut any weight.  When I look back on my career I do wonder if 170lb was the weight, I should have been competing at, so this is an attempt to test out that theory.”

Not content with winning a UCMMA (formally known as Cage Rage) and BAMMA title, Watson has made it very clear that the aim is to win the Cage Warriors welterweight title stating “I’m not coming here to have a bit of fun or have a couple of fights.  I’m coming here to pick up another title to add to the two other titles I have held.  I don’t know if there is anybody that has all of those titles, so that is my goal.”

With his first love being boxing Watson is in the middle of applying of getting his trainers license as he has a few guys who are looking to make their pro boxing debut so he can be in their corner.

/With the legalisation of Bare Knuckle Boxing, Watson has a couple of guys that he trains. Watson stated “it is not something that interests me, I do like the idea of fighting without gloves more than with gloves, I think gloves are probably less safe, and bare-knuckle is safer. It’s a big misconception that people think Bare Knuckle Boxing is more dangerous.  I’d say it is a lot safer as you can’t do much damage as you break your hands more and you don’t have this protection and mould on your fist to keep punching the shots away.  I will say though on bare-knuckle when they wear the wraps; I think it’s like wearing gloves and its worse, so to me, bare-knuckle boxing should be basically without wraps or anything.”

Going back to his time with the UFC, Watson stated “ I competed against the best in the world, and I have never got finished by any of them, only losing by decisions. Quite a few were controversial decisions at best for me.  Fighting is fighting and if you are losing a decision sport contest– well I’ve said it before, in the UFC I don’t really see that as losing, just the system and the setup. For instance, if we changed the UFC fight to a no time limit would of I lost any of those fights? I doubt it.  It is what it is, that’s the rules you play by.  Strategy wise I probably didn’t fight too smart. If you look at the earnings of the people in the UFC, I’m still relatively high up there, and I didn’t win many fights, so, on that basis, well it was smart – possibly.”

For those of you that have followed Watson’s career from the beginning, you will recall Watson enters the cage wearing a gorilla mask, hence why he has the nickname ‘Kong’. As Watson made his last appearance for the UFC in 2015, a new British fighter in the name of Darren ‘The Gorilla’ Till was making his debut for the promotion. “I’m not bothered by Darren Till” Watson states, “I believe Dan Hardy gave him the nickname ‘Gorilla’, it is what it is. I think everyone knows ‘Kong’ more than Darren Till’s ‘The Gorilla’.

“Darren Till is a great fighter, but I don’t think he is synonymous with a Gorilla.”

“Cage Warriors is the show where I’m going to make my comeback and win the welterweight title.”

With his debut for his Cage Warriors bout being dubbed ‘King’ vs ‘Kong’, there will only one way to find out if this is the start of a resurgence for Tom ‘Kong’ Watson by tuning into Cage Warriors 104 on April 27th live on UFC Fight Pass.

Welsh Premier Promotion Pain Pit taking MMA to Higher European Levels


Premier Welsh promotion Pain Pit which is run by Tillery Combat Owner and Head Coach Richard Shore announced last night that they will now be including European level championship belts, and also including one high level card per year.

Pain Pit logo

Pain Pit took to social media last night to release the following announcement about their new plans after being one of the most reliable, stable and well run MMA promotions in Wales over many years, growing from strength to strength.

Here is the full announcement from Pain Pit Facebook page.

Pain Pit Fight Night has always been an event that has prided itself on being a professional grassroots MMA event. We have always known our place in the market and our aim has been to give promising amateur and professional fighters a platform to showcase their skills. This has led to many fighters moving on to the bigger events such as BAMMA, Cage Warriors, Bellator and Titan..

Since Cage Warriors has been inactive we have decided to put on one “High Level Show” a year to give some of the higher ranked more established fighters an opportunity to stay busy and face a high level of opposition.


Our champions have always been novice pros looking for a stepping stone to reach the next level of their careers. These “High Level Shows” now mean we have some very experienced fighters now fighting on the show. It would be unfair for us to expect fighters of the calibre of Lew Long and Jack Marshman to fight our domestic champions who have only have 4/5/6 pro bouts experience. Therefore I have made the decision to add European title bouts to our events to accommodate the higher ranked more experienced competitors.
So we now have:


Unified Amateur Pain Pit Title Fights
Domestic Title Pain Pit Fights
European Title Pain Pit Fights


This decision will enable me as a match maker to put on well matched bouts that are not mismatches, and are exciting for the fans to watch.


All our current champions will now be classed as our domestic champions.
We will offer the European title fights to the higher ranked fighters.
Owain Parry has been our domestic Lightweight Champion for over a year and has defended his Title in emphatic style at the last Pain Pit. We feel that it is fitting that due to the level of opponent he is facing in Scott Clist we are going to make their bout a European Pain Pit Lightweight Title Fight.


Therefore our biggest event to date at Ebbw Vale Sports Centre on July 25th will now see 3 Professional European Title fights and One Amateur Title fight


Owain Parry v Scott Clist competing for the European Pain Pit Lightweight Title
Lew Long v Lee Caers competing for the European Pain Pit Welterweight Title
Jack Marshman v Kent Kaupinen competing for the European Pain Pit Middleweight Title
Jack Shore v Billy Wilsher competing for the Pain Pit Amateur Lightweight Title

Pain Pit Conquest


This is going to be an unbelievable event that has a card that would grace any promotion in Europe. Lets hope that the MMA fans in Wales get behind us and support the event so we can ensure we are in a position to do more “High Level Shows” in the future, so fighters will get good exposure, until Cage Warriors decide to get back onto the MMA scene and put shows on in Wales again.

For more details on Pain Pit and their next event on Saturday July 25th at Ebbw Vale Sports Centre click on the link below.

https://www.facebook.com/painpit?fref=nf&pnref=story

JACK MARSHMAN HEADLINES CWFC FIGHT NIGHT 10 IN AMMAN MARCH 28TH


cage warriors aman jack marshman

With CWFC Fight Night 10 taking place at the King Hussein Youth City Boxing Arena in Amman, Jordan, on Friday, 28 March the main event for CWFC Fight Night 10 has been set.

The main event for CWFC Fight Night 10 has Tillery Combat Fighter Jack Marshman set to square of in a Middleweight  bout against Abu Azaitar.

This will be Cage Warriors Fighting Championship’s fourth event in as many countries so far in 2014.

Marsman (14-4) will be making his promotional debut, and will be looking to make his mark on a already stacked middleweight division with an impressive win over Azaitar (8-2). “The Hammer” an active serviceman with parachute regiment 3 Para, he is one of the UK’s top Middleweights and is most known for his later win as ECC 2 and winning the  British Middleweight title in December last year. Before that Marshman was a fan favourite with the british MMA promotion BAMMA, where he captured the BAMMA Lonsdale Middleweight title, as well as headlining BAMMA 9 against UFC star Tom Watson.

Azaitar (8-2) has dropped just one loss in his last nine outings and most recently disposed of former KSW middleweight champion Krzysztof Kulak by first-round TKO this past December. The 28-year-old German fighter of Moroccan descent, one of Azaitar’s two losses came via DQ – on his professional debut – and the other due to a cut sustained against Marcin Naruszczka, a loss he avenged last July.

An exciting bantamweight bout between Scotland’s John Cullen (15-7-2) and Russian star Marat Pekov (10-5) has also been added to the bill, along with the light-heavyweight clash of experienced Frenchman Malik Merad (16-11) and six-fight CWFC veteran Mohamed Ali (10-5), a fan-favourite in the Middle East.

However, an injury has forced Liam James (8-6) out of his featherweight bout against Dave Hill (11-3). James will be replaced by 21-year-old English prospect Sam Gilbert, who’ll be searching for back-to-back CWFC wins.

Three bouts have also been added to the CWFC Fight Night 10 prelims. Check out the full card below:

Abu Azaitar vs. Jack Marshman
John Cullen vs. Marat Pekov
Mohamed Ali vs. Malik Merad
Allan Love vs. Norman Paraisy
Marcin Lasota vs. Paul Marin
Sam Gilbert vs. Dave Hill
Jarrah Al-Silawi vs. Carl Booth
Elodie Puget vs. Vanessa Rico
Yazan Janeb vs. Hicham Laghzali

Press Release

JACK MARSHMAN SIGNS TO CAGE WARRIORS


Jack Marshman

 [Feb 28th] Tillery Combat Fighter  Jack Marshman (14-4), has inked an five-fight deal with Cage Warriors Fighting Championship which will see him compete exclusively for the promotion over a minimum period of 18 months. 

Marshman one of the UK’s top middleweights, has taken all but two of his 14 wins inside the distance, 10 of which have come via (T)KO.

An active serviceman with parachute regiment 3 Para, Marshman is a former middleweight champion for domestic British promotion BAMMA and holds notable wins over the likes of Lee Chadwick and Andrew Punshon.

“I’m very happy to have signed with Cage Warriors and I’m looking forward to some really interesting match-ups with Europe’s premier promotion,” said the 24-year-old Welshman.

“I want to thank my superiors at 3 Para for supporting me in my MMA career and allowing me the opportunity to train full-time. Also thanks to Graham Boylan for giving me this fantastic opportunity.”

Press Release

Photo Credit: Huw Fairclough Short & Round 

Last post for 2013 – A lot of Thank You’s and some pictures :)


2013 1

It’s been a challenging year for me but I wouldn’t change it for one second, after all I got to do what so many of you still want to do and I have achieved all of it in the six months that I started this harsh challenge – which fell into my lap purely by coincidence (you will have to refer back to my very first blog read about that one)!

I will however give a big shout out to the person who got me started not only in writing my own blog but who introduced me to what I currently do, and that is Jonathan Millard, for whom I am forever grateful to.

What alot of people, more than likely do not know about me, is that I have been in the ‘combat sport industry’ for just over 20 years now, so I have legitmately worked my way up the ladder  – although, it’s fine for you to believe whatever you choose to believe, I personally don’t give a shit, again those that really know me, know that also!

I got to cover local grass root shows, which to me I have always been a great fan of and will always take time out of my schedule to go cover them as much as I can, I  covered Pain Pit 3 times, Ultimate Impact,  Into The Cage, Neilson Promotions White Collar Boxing then I also covered Cage Warriors, BAMMA and UFC Manchester, not bad even if I do say so myself!

Then a great event happend for UKMMA – The UKMMA Expo in Manchester and I got to be part of the only Media Team that had Access All Areas and when I say that, I truly mean that; not like all the other Media people that came in, the team I was with we were set up in the ‘Green Room’ with all our equipment and at one point their was one great surreal moment that I for one will never ever forget 🙂

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It was a great run event by Darren Sherlock and Paul Crossley and of course Darren’s wife Michelle, all timed perefectly for when Michael Bisping would be in the UK, Manchester as it happens (his own town) and just after being announced he would be facing Mark Munoz, here also in Manchester in October (unfortuntaly due to Michael needing eye surgery he was forced to withdraw from the bout and Lyoto Machida replaced him)!

There were UFC athletes, Guest athletes, Guest speakers, Seminars to train with some of the  Guest athletes and stalls for the MMA community to come together and show there products of to the public; also there was the stall for SAFE MMA – for which I personally went over to Izzy Carnwath and spoke to her to see SAFE MMA  was all about, how promotions could get involved and WHY they should. I had such a better understanding afterwards.

Here is mine and Izzy’s SAFE MMA interview we also talk BAMMA 13

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBGFMXpvdHE

There was also a big NoGi BJJ competiton on, running throughout the Sunday which was awesome and six females took part amongst the hundreds of men.

At the show I managed to Video Interview (yes that was a very first for me) The Legend Ian ‘The Machine’ Freeman straight after his MMA Seminar – let me tell you know this guy is 100% gentleman when talking to him, Ian made my first video interview effortless (well I thought) 🙂

Here is mine and Ian’s interview:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLO5WYrGcCM

I would however like to say a very big thank you to all the athlete’s I have worked with (so far)  without you giving up your time I would not of had your stories/journeys to write about and some very memorable moments to say the least, so in list of when  they were interviewed  here they all are:

Leigh Remedios

Alexei Roberts

Mario Saeed

War Machine

‘Rowdy’ Bec Hyatt

Ian ‘The Machine’ Freeman

Hector Lombard

Colin ‘Freakshow’ Fletcher

Bryony Tyrell

Aaron ‘Smackwell’ Blackwell

Jack ‘The Hammer’ Marshman

Lew Long

Jorge ‘Michelan’ Bezerra

Rosi Sexton

Faisel Ghazghazi

Mark ‘The hand of’ Godbeer

Lauren Murphy

And of course it would not be me, if I did not add in afew pictures of me with some of the athletes I had met 🙂

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Have a great New Year.

Emma

PS I’ve kept all my boxing ones out of this one but look out for it next year  🙂 

Season One..Episode Five.. Jack ‘The Hammer’ Marshman


jack marshman

On August 31st I sat down with Jack Marshman before he headed off for cornering duties at South Wales prestigious event Pain Pit.

There will be a drop to Welterweight on the cards in the future, not this year more than likely next year I will be looking at doing that.

EB: We recently got to see you fight in Doncaster, unfortunately the decision did not go your way; firstly looking back did you personally feel that was the right decision? And secondly how was it to be fighting in an outside stadium in our unpredictable British weather?

JM:The decision was definitely a right decision; he won the rounds with his wrestling.  I went into the fight thinking he was coming to stand and I was coming to stand, as soon as I landed a straight right on him in the first round and put him down he went for the takedowns for the rest of the rounds, which fair enough he played the game really well I thought, he definitely took the decision, but it’s the type of loss I’d definitely like to avenge because I think my wrestling is much better than I showed.  As for fighting outside, I didn’t know if the fight was going to go ahead, two hours before we was told it was going to rain and I wouldn’t of gone out there in the rain to be honest with you, because there was too much at stake as there was no cover for the cage, so you could imagine what would off happened if it had rained, there was no fighter safety with no cover for the cage so it spoilt the show a little bit for me.

I don’t think I could ever bring myself to sit there and not try and finish a fight, that’s not what I am about, that’s not why I do this game; it’s to fight and to see who is the best fighter, not who can give the best ‘cuddles’!

EB: You’re returning to BAMMA 13 on September 14th to face Ion Pascu, a Romanian fighter who has recently fought on UCMMA 33 and UWC 23, do you know much about Ion?

JM: I know a little bit about him, I know he is from a kickboxing background, he is from Valentino Petrescu gym which is predominantly stand up fighters, I’ve seen a couple of bits of him on video, I’ve not studied him too much, I’m just going to do what I’m going to do, not what he’s going to do, I know his record, he’s got some wins against some guys that are not really rated, and some losses against some really good guys, so a guy like that is hard to judge really, because he’s lost too good guys, but been beaten too good guys, so you don’t really know where he is at level wise, but I’m confident I will be a bit too much for him.

EB: It is safe to say that you are a BAMMA fan favourite, having appeared on BAMMA since show 7 through to 11 and now back at 13, what can the fans expect from you this time around after the great performance at BAMMA 11, how do you top that?

JM: I’ve had a hard time fighting in Birmingham, the Noon fight was Birmingham, I won but I got beat up pretty bad, Watson and Professor X both were real hard fights and I did not come away with those decisions, but I have always had a good scrap there, I have been the distance there, I think you will see the same again but with me definitely coming out on top like it was against Noon.

EB: You train out of arguably one of the best MMA gyms to come out of the valleys in South Wales, Tillery Combat, owned and run by Richard ‘Shaky’ Shore, what do you think makes the gym so respected and having high calibre of fighters such as yourself come out of the gym?

JM: We come from a tough area in Abertillery,  high in drugs crime, general crime and no jobs , it seems that naturally it generates tougher fighters, as you are brought up tougher; like me and Martin McDonough used to be nightmares , we always used to be in trouble with the police and if it was not for Shaky, he was the one that got us out of all of that, same as a lot of the boys, same as all the young ones coming through now, the way people are brought up where we are, are tough, so when they jump up into the gym they’ve been fighting since they were kids, so they just learn how to do it properly.  I think what sells the gym is the way Shaky trains people, he gets you mentally prepared and it’s like a big family at the gym and that’s on a serious note, we all get along so well it’s such a laugh and that’s what I think makes better fighters, we got a good team behind us, it’s not just one individual fighter, it’s a full team every time we go out.

EB: Is it getting any easier for you fitting in your full time day job as a serving paratrooper in the armed forces, and the training needed for a full fight camp when a fight is upon you?

JM: Recently I have moved back to Wales due to my regiment giving me time off, 3 paras give me a lot of time off now, all I have to do is some bits and bobs at work, as long as I’m representing them and I’m heading to where they want me to be I’m keeping them happy, and I’m training full time so I’m in the best place I’ve ever really been because I’m training full time , fighting regular; I’ve had 3 fights in the last 4months, and I’m hoping to get another 2 in before the end of the year, and next year I will fight every month if I can, as far as fitting in with my job for the next 2years at least I’m on to a winner as I’m in the best place I could ever be really.

EB: How do you feel the weight management is going now? Do you feel you got the right mix of the weight cut spot on or is there still some tweaking to make things go a bit more smoothly for you? (In reference to not making weight in Dec 2012 and having a hard weight cut for Askham fight).

JM: I always make the weight cut hard for myself towards the end because I like to cut quite last minute,  but I make Middleweight quite easy really, the only time I ever missed weight was the BAMMA fight, to be honest, the it was to do with logistics involved, I turned up to the pre-weigh in 5mins late, and they would not let me step on the scales, and I thought I was on weight, then I had to go to the actual weigh in, I came in  1lb over, being in Wembley they gave me a postcode of a gym to go to, so I could cut the weight, bearing in mind they only give you 1 hour and the gym was 20 mins away I would not of made it there and back in time to be honest with you, so I pulled the car over and started running round the streets to lose the weight, and that is the only time I have missed weight not through anyone’s fault other than mine, I should have been earlier to check the official scales but I thought I was on weight and I felt comfortable;  so definitely there will be a drop to Welterweight on the cards in the future, not this year more than likely next year I will be looking at doing that.

EB: Is there anything new in this training camp you have been working on, or is it just improving on everything that there is to improve on?

JM: Just improving,  I’ve been working on so much more wrestling, from my takedown defence, if people are going to be happy to take me down and grind out a win and not actually really truly fight me, why shouldn’t I actually do it, so if I look to put someone on their back why shouldn’t I, but to be honest I don’t think I could ever bring myself to sit there and not try and finish a fight, that’s not what I am about, that’s not why I do this game; it’s to fight and to see who is the best fighter, not who can give the best ‘cuddles’!

EB: Anyone you would like to Thank?

JM: All my sponsors, Icon Nutrition, Top Ten, British Military Martial Arts, Vibram, Impact LPA, The Railway Inn, My coaches, Richard Shore, all the boys at Tillery Combat, Martin McDonough, Kris Edwards, Owen Parry, everyone that helps me get ready for my fights.

Quick Questions

If you could change one rule in MMA what would it be?

You could Tickle

Favourite food?

Pizza

If you held a dinner party and invited 3 guests past or present, who would it be and why?

The Banker from Deal or No Deal as he seems like a Top bloke, Gordon Ramsey so he can cook and Frankie Boyle because he is awesome.