A GREAT Sutton father-of-two will step into the ring this weekend to make his debut in the hard-hitting world of cage fighting.
Tim Sharratt, 29, took up the mixed martial arts discipline as a hobby – but on Sunday he will make his competitive bow in the Gladiator School show at Chester Racecourse.
Cage fighting is one of the world’s fastest-growing sports and the rules allow the use of striking and grappling techniques, both while standing and on the ground.
A site engineer by day, Sharratt trains with Chester kickboxer Dave Newbrook in Saltney and at the Wolfslair gym in Widnes, where he has been able to get tips and advice from Ultimate Fighting Championship superstar Michael “The Count” Bisping.
On Sunday he will face Liverpool’s Mark Austin in the semi-professional 77kg weight division.
Sharratt said: “I had done a little bit of martial arts as a youngster but when I got to 18 I was looking for a hobby, something to keep me fit. Mixed martial arts seemed to work well and I have developed that over time.
“At Wolfslair I saw friends going into cage fighting and I thought I would give it a go.”
To get ready for his debut fight, Sharratt has been sticking religiously to a strict diet and training regime.
“It has been great because I have had a goal, a target to reach and I have worked intensely as a result,” he said.
“I don’t see this as a career option because I am a bit old and I have my children to support, but it is an interesting experience.
“I am really excited and pumped up about it. I’m sure the night before and on the day I will be nervous but right now I just want to do it.
“I don’t know how I will react to the crowd because I’ve never done anything like this before.
“I will have my family and friends at ringside and my son Bradley, who is 11, will be there to watch too.”
There will be 15 bouts on Sunday’s card, showcasing both amateur and professional contests. The show is being staged by Cage Gladiators, the UK’s biggest mixed martial arts organisation, and gets under way at 2.30pm in the racecourse’s pavilion. Also in action will be Liverpool pro Jay Gladden and Wigan’s Shawn Jones.
Tickets are £22 or £35 for VIP ‘cage-side’ seats, which include a Heathcotes luxury buffet. They are available from the Chester Racecourse box office on 01244 304610 or online at www.cagegladiators.tv