A KICKBOXER from South Tyneside has proved he has the fight stuff by winning his first professional bout.
Nathan McCarthy was offered the chance to compete for the British International Combat Organisation belt after a promoter saw his potential.
It was an opportunity both the 21- year-old and his coach, Steve East, knew he couldn’t pass up.
Nathan, a student at the Kuei-Ling Kickboxing Club at South Shields Fight Factory, in Frederick Street, since the age of seven, is already a World United Martial Arts Federation English, British and European full contact title holder.
And after taking on his opponent in his first professional fight, he has now added another belt to his collection.
Nathan said: “All the coaches at the club have been right behind me, so to be offered a professional fight was exciting.
“Even though it was my first fight professionally, I was going in to win. I really enjoyed it.
“I trained hard for it. I was in the gym three mornings a week, and I was going out for sprints two nights a week.
“When I started kickboxing at seven, I never thought I would be one day fighting professionally. It was just something I joined for something to do. It was only when I started to get older that I began to take it seriously.”
The fight, at the Barnsley Metrodome in South Yorkshire, lasted the full 10 rounds, with Nathan, a first-degree black belt, being scored the unanimous winner by the judges.
Mr East said: “We had been talking about Nathan going professional when we were offered the chance to compete for the British International Combat Organisation pro cruiserweight title against Thai boxer David Mahew.
“Nathan has built up quite a reputation within the kickboxing community and is doing really well, so it felt right that he should take the opportunity.”
“A coach full of supporters travelled to Barnsley to watch Nathan, and the win was greatly deserved.
“Last year was a training camp for Nathan due to the number of fights he had.
“He has sacrificed a lot to achieve his goals, and I can only see this continuing.”
Plans are already in place for Nathan, of South Shields, to complete in Dublin in March in the Irish open, hailed as one of the biggest tournaments in the world.
Kuei-Ling Kickboxing Club, run by Mr East, holds sessions for adults and children throughout the week.