Sunderland's heavyweight MMA champion Phil De Fries gearing up for KSW title defence

He’s the undefeated heavyweight champion.

He doesn’t know what it’s like to lose his heavyweight belt and he has no intention of finding out - city fighter Phil De Fries is preparing to successfully defend his title once again.

Phil De Fries at one his previous KSW bouts. Photos courtesy of KSWPhil De Fries at one his previous KSW bouts. Photos courtesy of KSW
Phil De Fries at one his previous KSW bouts. Photos courtesy of KSW | KSW

The 38-year-old from Thornhill is the KSW World Heavyweight Champion and is one of the promoter’s most successful MMA fighters ever.

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And the 6ft 4 Mackem powerhouse is preparing to beat his own record of the longest-reigning champion in his weight category, defending the title for an 11th time, which, if successful, would also make him the longest-reigning KSW title holder in all divisions.

He flies to Poland next week to take on Brazilian heavyweight Augusto Sakai as part of the KSW 95 card on June 7.

Sakai, 33, is a strong contender, having previously fought in the UFC.

De Fries vs SakaiDe Fries vs Sakai
De Fries vs Sakai | ksw

But the bout doesn’t phase Phil.

“Sakai is a great fighter and was at one point in the top 10 in the world before he had a couple of bad losses. He’s probably the best contender I’ve fought against in a long time,” said Phil, who is dad to Willow and Violet.

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“A lot of people think I can’t beat guys like these, but I’m going in there to show them I can. I train with some of the best guys in the world, so I’m not worried.”

Phil fights out of TFT gym in Seaham under coach Andrew Fisher alongside fellow Sunderland heavyweight Mick Parkin who fights in the UFC, as well as sparring sessions with UFC fighter Tom Aspinall in Manchester.

Phil is confident about bringing the heavyweight title home once morePhil is confident about bringing the heavyweight title home once more
Phil is confident about bringing the heavyweight title home once more | KSW

The hard gym work for fight training is now done, before a couple of days of tactical and visualisation work ahead of his flight to Poland, where Phil has a huge fan base.

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.

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

He said: “Now, I’m on top of the world. I’ve got cash, a beautiful family, I’ve got respect and I’m happy. I’m happy in myself and KSW has done that.

“I’m this close to becoming the longest-running KSW champion of all time. It will mean the world to my family and making those girls proud is the biggest motivation for me.”

You can watch Phil’s fight on June 7 on live stream via https://www.kswmma.com/

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