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Sunderland MMA fighter Phil De Fries brings home world heavyweight title - for the seventh time running

There’s just no stopping Sunderland fighter Phil De Fries who’s brought home the world heavyweight title – for the seventh time running.

Wednesday, 2nd March 2022, 4:55 am

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Dad-of-two Phil, from Thornhill, is one of the city’s most successful fighters ever, winning the KSW World Heavyweight belt seven times.

He’s fresh from successfully defending the title for the sixth time after going up against No 1 contender Darko Stosic in Warsaw, Poland, as the main event on the KSW 67 fight card.

Phil is one of the promoter’s most-popular fighters and he delighted the crowds with his title win, but the 35-year-old says Stosic put up a good fight.

Phil De Fries successfully defended his title for the sixth time at KSW 67

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"He was a tough guy and I don’t know how he hung in so long,” said Phil. “I kept battering him, but he didn’t tap out until the last minute of the final round. All credit it to him, he’s the toughest guy I’ve ever fought.”

On winning his belt, Phil had a message for those watching: “With everything that’s going on in the world at the minute, people should be making love, not war. The only fighting that should be going on is when it’s controlled in sport.”

Phil fights out of TFT MMA in Seaham, which is home to a number of professional fighters, with coach Andrew Fisher and training partner Michael Parkin flying out with him to Poland for the fight.

He’s having a week off training while he recovers from his title win, but he’ll then be getting back on the mats and is hoping to fit in two more fights this year.

Phil says Darko Stosic was his toughest opponent yet. Photo by Sebastian Rudnicki

Phil gets a lot of support in Poland, which is the home of KSW, one of the world’s biggest MMA fight promoters, but his home city fans were able to watch a live stream on KSW TV.

"The support from home is fantastic and gets more and more each time I fight,” explained Phil.

Phil first got into martial arts when he was 14 and began doing BJJ before moving on to MMA when he was 20. He fought for the biggest fight promoter in the world, UFC, in his 20s.

But it was joining TFT gym and signing to KSW when he was 30 that’s led to his greatest success in the sport.

Phil says it was great to be back fighting in front of a crowd again after Covid restrictions were lifted

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