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Combat Kickboxing Academy, Thurston, fighter Leon Dunnett to compete for ICO light Cruiserweight World title after being crowned ICO European full-contact kickboxing champion





After he was recently crowned the ICO European full-contact kickboxing champion Leon Dunnett admitted he did not think he would ever be fighting back at the level he is - though he now has a world title fight to gear up to.

The Walsham-le-Willows fighter, from Combat Kickboxing Academy (CKA), based in Thurston, near Bury St Edmunds, was victorious in round three against the undefeated French champion Pierre Arisvaud in the ‘Fight night 13’ event held at White Rock Theatre in Hastings on February 17.

This came after Dunnett won his first fight after a five-year absence from the sport in December, when he claimed the WRSA PRO-AM British full-contact kickboxing title in Wolverhampton.

Leon Dunnett came back from hitting the canvas for the first time in his career Picture: Carl Denne
Leon Dunnett came back from hitting the canvas for the first time in his career Picture: Carl Denne

“I’m really proud. After the time I had out, and the weight I got to, I didn’t think I’d ever be fighting back at that level, that soon anyway,” he said.

“I feel proud for what I’ve done but proud for what the team around me have done as well. Behind the scenes, there’s a lot more than yourself.

“To get the offer for the European title after one fight back was quite a big achievement, and it was against a tough lad as well. It was a big challenge but one that I was willing to accept.

Leon Dunnett was victorious in the third round of his fight for the European title Picture: Carl Denne
Leon Dunnett was victorious in the third round of his fight for the European title Picture: Carl Denne

“It was something that I wanted. Because I’d won the British I was looking a little bit further afield and I jumped at the opportunity.”

With the British and European title chalked off in the space of two-and-a-half months, Dunnett has his eyes on securing the treble in just six weeks’ time as he prepares to fight Portuguese champion Adriano Lopez for the ICO light Cruiserweight World title in Birmingham on April 14.

He received a message from a promoter, just hours before his fight in Hastings, telling him that if he was to be victorious against Arisvaud, the world title fight was his.

Dunnett described the battle in Hastings as a ‘frustrating’ bout, as he had to alter his style to make it a ‘dogfight’, rather than one of his traditional ‘skilful and flashy’ displays.

Leon Dunnett with his trophy after claiming the ICO European full-contact kickboxing title in Hastings Picture: Carl Denne
Leon Dunnett with his trophy after claiming the ICO European full-contact kickboxing title in Hastings Picture: Carl Denne

And it was almost a different outcome when, in the first round, the 26-year-old hit the canvas for the first time in his career, after a strong overhand right from the Frenchman.

But Dunnett, revived by the support from his 110 travelling fans, beat the count with ease and went on to win the contest after a dangerous combination of head and body shots.

“I don’t know any other fighter at this level to have that sort of backing behind him,” he said.

“I view it as a big achievement and the win goes to them as well. It’s hard to say if you would beat counts without them.

“When you start to tire and hear 100-odd fans cheering your name, you always find that extra energy.”

Dunnett has had a lifestyle change to ‘act like a professional’ and to try to gain an edge over his opponents.

He has welcomed a new nutritionist, stuck to a strict diet and kept himself in peak condition with a personal trainer.

Tickets for his next fight can be purchased at ukbattlehub.com



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