Sunderland MMA fighter Phil De Fries retains world heavyweight title and breaks a new record
Sunderland fighter Phil De Fries has brought home the world heavyweight title for the sixth time running, smashing a new record for the belt.
The 34-year-old from Thornhill is back home from Poland after successfully defending his KSW World Heavyweight MMA title for the fifth time.
He took on Polish fighter Tomasz Narkun on the KSW 60 fight card, finishing the light heavyweight in two rounds.
It was the second time the two fighters have faced each other and Phil says this time around the victory was all the sweeter.
Speaking to the Echo, he said: “I threw him all over and totally dominated the fight. Everything went perfect, I went into the fight confident and I felt amazing.
"Despite being Polish, he doesn’t seem a very popular fighter and most people were on my side, the support has been incredible.”
Since Phil won the title he has defended it five times, making him the only person to have retained the KSW title for that long.
Signing to the Polish fight promoter has seen Phil’s career reach new heights.
It is the latest coup for his home gym, TFT MMA in Seaham which is home to a number of professional fighters. Phil trains alongside pro fighter Mick Parkin and coach Andrew Fisher.
Andrew said: “Since being released from the UFC, Phil has massively turned his life around. From maybe not taking it as seriously, he’s now a phenomenal fighter.
"He’s the strongest man I know. Often with heavyweights they get tired, but he just never quits. It was a great result in Poland and the promoter was so impressed they threw him a surprise party.”
After returning home, Phil is now isolating and resting some slight injuries gained in training.
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.