Gym 01 charge Riccard more than ready for professional kickboxing debut
CHARLIE RICCARD is more than ready for his professional kickboxing debut.
That is the verdict of Gareth Johnson, head coach of Fratton’s Gym 01.
Riccard meets Josh Bishop in the main event of Shock N Awe: Contenders IV on February 9.
The Barnstaple-born ace’s bout is the only pro fight on a stacked card at Southsea's Pyramids Centre.
He steps into the paid K1 ranks for the first time, after building up an amateur mixed martial arts (MMA) record of 2-1-1.
Riccard meets a highly-dangerous opponent in Bishop, who has won five of his six bouts, at 61kg.
Johnson feels his charge has the repertoire to compete at this level, however.
And the former University of Portsmouth student has been fine-tuning his game with leading Gym 01 prospect Elliott Hoye ahead of his fight.
Johnson said: ‘Charlie is keeping himself busy and is trying to test himself.
‘Although he's not a professional, he trains like a professional. In the gym, Charlie is always looking to improve.
‘So we have decided to match him in a kickboxing match against Josh Bishop. He's had six kickboxing fights and won five of them.
‘It's a real big step up for Charlie but he knows that he's perfectly capable of it and we do as well.
‘It’s such a good test for him, especially because his main training partner is Elliott Hoye, who is renowned for his striking ability.
‘Charlie has been doing a lot of work with Elliott, making a few tweaks to his game and everything.
‘He’s making sure he’s ready to go three rounds of stand up rather than having to go to the ground as well.’
Riccard delivered a convincing unanimous-decision MMA win over Nathaniel Baciley at Shock N Awe 28 at Portsmouth Guildhall in November.
Johnson feels that stands his fighter in good stead going into his battle with Bishop.
The Gym 01 head coach added: ‘Trying to be a good coach, I couldn’t put Charlie in with another debut kickboxer. That would be unfair because he's very experienced as an MMA fighter.
‘He fought on the big stage and not won, but won convincingly. He’s the level of a pro K1 fighter but has just got to put it to the test.’