Sunderland fighter Phil De Fries retains KSW world heavyweight title after beating ex-Chelsea goalkeeper
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Phil De Fries, from Thornhill, is one of the city’s most-successful fighters ever after defending his World Heavyweight MMA title for the seventh time, winning it eight times, the only person in the world to do so for a major organisation.
The 36-year-old travelled to Poland, the home of KSW, to take on former Chelsea goalkeeper Ricardo Prasel in the championship bout, winning by first-round submission via rear-naked choke.
It was another great fight for the 6ft4in city fighter who won against his 6ft7in opponent much to the delight of his huge fan base.
"I love coming to Poland and being part of the big fights,” he said. “The support there, and at home, has been phenomenal. I felt great going into the cage. I wanted to knock him out standing up, but once I got hold of him that was too easy not to take.
"He’s actually a really nice guy but someone has to win and I’m glad it was me.”
Phil, who fights out of TFT in Seaham, is undefeated since he signed to KSW, one of the world’s biggest fight promoters.
He’s one in a wave of successful fighters who hone their skills at the gym in Strangford Road, which is run by fellow Sunderland fighter and coach Andrew Fisher.
Phil’s sparring partner, heavyweight Mick Parkin, 26, from Castletown, recently jabbed his way to glory to earn a place with the world’s biggest Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) promoter, UFC, after winning Dana White's Contender Series at a bout in Las Vegas.
Other UK fighters, such as Tom Aspinall and Paul Craig, also travel to train at the gym.
Phil said: “It really is a great gym, it’s world class. Fisher is a great guy and coach and great people gravitate towards him.”
Phil is hoping to smash one more fight this year. A real family man, he fights for his daughters, Willow, four, and Violet, five – who are only shown the more family-friendly snippets of his fights - who are hugely proud of their dad’s successes.