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Combat Kickboxing Academy, in Thurston, near Bury St Edmunds, fighter Leon Dunnett, from Walsham-le-Willows, admits he rejected professional contract offers after world title win





After he went the distance to claim the ICO light Cruiserweight World title, Leon Dunnett admitted he has turned down professional contract offers to fulfil his goal of being a unified champion in the amateur scene.

The kickboxer from Walsham-le-Willows fought cleverly - as he won every round unanimously - to defeat Portuguese champion Adriano Lopez in Birmingham on April 14.

The victory came after he earned the British and European titles following a five-year break from the sport and Dunnett, part of the Combat Kickboxing Academy (CKA), based in Thurston, near Bury St Edmunds, has rightfully caught the eyes of many professional organisations.

Leon Dunnett (left) is declared the winner of his world title fight after the bout went the distance in Birmingham Picture: Michael Ault
Leon Dunnett (left) is declared the winner of his world title fight after the bout went the distance in Birmingham Picture: Michael Ault

The 26-year-old’s phone did not stop ringing the day after the fight, with people bombarding him with professional contract offers. But Dunnett is staying true to himself and is hoping to ‘unify the divisions’ - win every world title fight possible for his weight - come the end of the year.

“To have that sort of interest makes it very tempting,” he admitted.

“I still sit on my goal that I set for myself last year. I’d like to achieve that before I then look to see what the future holds.

Leon Dunnett lands a strong kick on Adriano Lopes. Picture: Michael Ault
Leon Dunnett lands a strong kick on Adriano Lopes. Picture: Michael Ault

“I still like the sound of (being called a) unified champion, then I can finish my amateur career by saying I won everything that there was to win.

“It’s a bit surreal. I do just have to keep reminding myself of how far I have come since coming back. Obviously, juggling it with my current life situation, with two little boys and a full-time job is an achievement on its own really.

“I can’t really believe how far I’ve come in such a short space of time. I suppose I then think to myself ‘well, where could I have been if I didn’t have the five years out?’But life gets in the way, doesn’t it?”

Dunnett, who believes he will need to win another two or three world title fights before he has unified the divisions, is wasting no time in attempting to rack up more victories, as he has his next bout in place - a fight for the ISKA world title on July 6, in Birmingham, where he will face Jeremy Allonge from Germany.

Leon Dunnett with his world title belt. Picture: Michael Ault
Leon Dunnett with his world title belt. Picture: Michael Ault

His bout two weeks ago was the first time he has been forced to go the distance since his return to the sport, but more than 100 supporters who ventured from Suffolk dragged him over the line to leave Dunnett full of gratitude.

Of his plans now, he said: “I’m just keeping the ball rolling, keeping the momentum going and staying fit and strong. I’m not really having much of an off-season.

“It’s definitely my strongest form (to date). My confidence going into the fight was really high, off the back of a good run of wins and a good calibre of opponents as well. While I’ve got the momentum I just want to keep going and hopefully unify the division.”



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