Gareth Johnson's Shock N Awe pride as he predicts 'mental' 10th-anniversary show

Gareth Johnson told of his pride as Shock N Awe prepares to mark its 10th anniversary tomorrow.

Friday, 18th October 2019, 8:15 am
Gym 01's Dale Hoare faces Henry Grimble for the Shock N Awe amateur lightweight title at Shock N Awe 30. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (160319-8)

The promotion has grown from humble beginnings to becoming one of the top MMA shows in the country.

Started by Johnson and his partner Brian Adams – who also run Fratton’s Gym 01 – they host their 30th show inside what will virtually be a sold-out Portsmouth Guildhall.

The promoter never imagined Shock N Awe would be in the position it is now – and he toasted the success.

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Johnson said: ‘It’s an amazing thing to achieve because we are just a small business with two of us who run it.

‘It’s been an absolute rollercoaster getting here over the past 10 years and I never imagined we’d be here.

‘So many promotions – from festivals to gigs to boxing shows – do a couple then fall by the wayside.

‘To be one of the shows that aren’t in that bracket is something I’m incredibly proud of.

‘On our sixth show, people who were quite highly thought of in MMA in this country were saying we’re one of the biggest shows in the UK but I never quite believed it.

‘At Shock N Awe 15, I thought we were making waves and now we’re just shy of selling out 2,000 tickets in Portsmouth Guildhall.

‘Capacity-wise, all bar UFC and Bellator, we are probably the best-attended show in the UK now, which is insane to think.

‘We could save about £10k on production but we do it because we want everyone to enjoy the whole event.’

Johnson and Adams have pulled out the stops to mark a decade of Shock N Awe.

A stacked 30-bout card consists of seven professional contests, as well as fighters coming from across the country and Europe.

Johnson is expected a high-octane night of action.

He added: ‘We’ve got five different teams arriving from all over the UK and Europe, so credit to all the local fighters because there is no-one on the card with an easy fight.

‘The south-coast collective of gyms have stepped it up and taking on some big fights, which is why it’s on pay-per-view.

'It’s going to be mental. For the amateur bantamweight title, Will Drayson – who was our flyweight champion – steps up to meet Ollie Gibson and I’m looking forward to that.

‘Going towards the main card, Ollie Southern meets Aaron Laleye. Both are talented but have come off the wrong end of some fights.

‘Kye Stevens, Havant's very own knockout specialist, steps up to pro because no-one would fight him and we’ve got him a killer from France who is undefeated.

‘I see Kye train every day and I see what he does to people in the gym – someone is going to sleep in that one!

‘Elliott Hoye and Shamsul Haque meet in the main event.

‘I’ve seen Shamsul and his brother compete and fight the who’s who. He’s had 17 pro fights and Elliott is 6-1 and that’s going to be incredible.’