Gareth Johnson spoke of his delight after Gym 01’s successful inter-club event on Sunday.
Around 80 amateur kickboxing, submission grappling and mixed martial arts (MMA) bouts took place at the Southsea facility, with fighters from gyms across the south involved.
The inter-club events are hosted for upcoming fighters to work on their technique in a competitive environment, while those with more experience can ensure they don’t pick up any ring rust.
Bouts are decided on ability, with any close match-ups earmarked to be scheduled for future Shock N Awe – Gym 01’s sister company – shows at the Pyramids and Mountbatten Centre.
Johnson believes the event attracted so many fighters because of the reputation the gym has built.
‘It was absolutely crazy,’ said Gym 01’s director.
‘We had somewhere in the region of 80 fights.
‘Because we host the best-attended inter-club events within a 50-mile radius, everyone knows what they’re getting when they come to us and we have a good rapport.
‘We had people who have only been training a couple of months to those who have been there and done that who want to keep the rust off.
‘Everyone is matched on a level system from one to five we invented and that is now used pretty much across the south coast for everyone’s inter-clubs.
‘They’re matched according to weight and then their level.
‘I might put a level two up against a level five, but the higher-graded fighter then has to tone it down and work on their technique rather than boost their ego.’
In the inter-club fights, kickboxing and MMA bouts are stopped prematurely if it is one-sided and grappling contests are cut short if a submission is locked in.
Johnson revealed that rule is in place to protect upcoming fighters from injury.
He added: ‘Fighters aren’t going to walk away black and blue, but instead know they have had an experience to develop further.
‘It’s a win-win for everyone. We make sure we’re still developing the sport, no-one is getting injured and they save face by telling their friends the referee took it out of their hands.
‘We want these guys to come back having enjoyed it and don’t want them to be going to work with an injury because their ego got in the way of tapping.’