Ian Entwistle is confident he can continue the promising start to his professional career next month – despite facing possibly his biggest test yet.
The Accrington fighter will aim to improve his 5-1 record during the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) championship at the Liverpool Olympia on March 3.
Entwistle has set up a fight with Liverpool’s Michael Bowman, which represents a big step up for the 25-year-old. Fighting out of the renowned Wolfslair Academy in Widnes, Bowman has an 8-2 record and starred in the ‘Ultimate Fighter’ TV series, in which he travelled to Las Vegas to train with some of the sport’s biggest names.
Entwistle now trains in Merseyside as coach Jimmy Hey sold the East Lancs Predators gym in Accrington last year to take the MMA coaching job at Sapphire MMA in Huyton, and Hey insists his fighter is ready for the challenge.
"People consider this a test for Ian but we feel he’s got all angles covered," he said.
"He’s stronger and faster and we think we have the formula to beat Bowman.
"Ian is working really hard to prepare for this fight and his training schedule is packed.
"We are in Liverpool every day and mix that up with pad work and running, which he does locally, so he probably trains three times most days."
Entwistle will be looking to build on his last win, at Cage Conflict in Liverpool in November, when he beat Andy Green in 24 seconds with a rear naked choke to bounce back from his first professional loss to Brad Wheeler last July.
And it seems his stock is rising as three of his last four fights were featured main-card fights on Sky TV, aired in 16 countries.
‘Enty’ is one of several fighters travelling from the Accrington area to train with Hey at Sapphire MMA.
Mark Ryder will be making his pro debut at Cage Conflict in Manchester on February 18, while Danny Brelsford and Joff Green will be making their MMA debut.