Driver en route to cage-fighting title

From punching tickets to tackling tough guys, ex-bus driver Colin Fletcher is on the road to success after launching a new career as a cage fighter.

The dad-of-two has gone from strength to strength since making the switch from the bus route to the ring.

"It's going incredibly well," said the 27-year-old. "I know it's a bit different from driving buses, but nothing compares to it.

"I'm in the gym maybe two or three times a day, for one or two hours at a time, so it's pretty much my full-time job now."

Colin, from Harraton, in Washington, was introduced to mixed martial arts about three years ago.

"My cousin got me into it," he said. "He has been fighting for about five years. I started training with him and that was that. I was hooked. I got more and more into it and it went from there."

Colin, who is nicknamed "The Freakshow" because of the terrifying clown outfit he wears in the ring, will compete for the welterweight strike and submit title later this month in front of a 1,200-strong crowd.

But although the former nightclub manager says he is enjoying the sport "more than ever", he admits it sometimes takes its toll on his family.

"My wife gets more nervous than me before a fight," said Colin, who tips the scales at 77kg. "It can be tough for her. She goes to the fights and so does my mum and dad.

"They all worry, but once I'm in there and it gets started, they are fine. They know it's what I want to do.

"The next fight is going to be a tough one, but I'm confident I'll do well. I've been putting the work in and I'm in good shape."

The strike and submit fighting championship will take place at the Lancastrian Suite, Lancaster Road, Dunston, Gateshead, on February 28 at 6.30pm.

Tickets are available on 07723079173 or at www.mmauniverse.com