A Thai boxer brought the world title back to Wearside after proving a knockout success.
Sunderland coach Reece Mcallister has been crowned Topking World Series champion after competing against the best fighters in the world in a series of bouts.
After winning fights in France, Poland and the Ukraine, Reece won the title in a gruelling match against Russian fighter Dmytro Konstantynov at the finals in Hong Kong.
The 23-year-old brought the belt back to Made 4 The Cage Fight Academy in Villiers Street, Sunderland city centre, where he teaches future fighters.
“This is what I’ve always wanted,” he said. “I was pretty much born into the sport as my dad (Gary Mcallister) was UK No1 for ten years. I always wanted to follow in his footsteps and I’ve ended up taking it further than him.”
Reece from Country Durham added: “Thai boxing doesn’t get as much publicity as it should. When boxers win a world title they earn millions. Thai boxing is a poor man’s sport. We put our life and soul into it, six days a week. It’s hours of training to reap the rewards, it’s just the rewards are small.
“For me, the rewards come from teaching young people, and seeing their progress. It just requires dedication. The problem is when they reach 16 and discover girls and alcohol. I lived like a monk, I just focused on training.”
Reece is the latest successful fighter from the North East. Silksworth’s Tony Jeffries scooped the Olympic bronze medal in boxing at the Beijing Olympics, Ross Pearson from Fence Houses dominates in mixed martial arts (MMA) and won TV show The Ultimate Fighter: United States vs. United Kingdom, while a number of other fighters from the area have fought in the UFC, the world’s largest MMA promoter.
Reece, who has also won the WMC World Title and Kings of Glory World Title, said: “I got involved in teaching at Made 4 The Cage after fighting in their shows. They got in touch and asked if I was interested in teaching.
“It’s something I really enjoy doing, I want to give my experience and to help get the sport more recognised. In ten years’ time maybe it will get the same recognition as boxing. I’m three times world champion and I don’t even own my own house.
“But we do it for the love, not the money.”
I’m three times world champion and I don’t even own my own house. But we do it for the love, not the money.Reece Mcallister