CRAIG JOHNS BREAKS THE FIRST RULE Roly Poly Kid has eyes on the fu­ture

Sunday Sun - - Boxing -

MIXED mar­tial arts has not been the kindest of sports to Tommy Quinn, but the fight­ing Ir­ish Geordie says a love of fight­ing and his com­pet­i­tive na­ture keeps him go­ing.

The Ir­ish-born mixed mar­tial artist has lived and trained in New­cas­tle for years now – one of the old-guard of North East fighters who helped put the sport on the map in the re­gion.

He’s fought on Cage War­riors dur­ing the pro­mo­tion’s peak years, and shared nu­mer­ous epic bat­tles dur­ing a hard 11-year ca­reer. He’s still just 28, but is al­ready think­ing about life af­ter he hangs the gloves up.

“I’m think­ing three-to-five more years fight­ing as long as my body lets me,” the pop­u­lar Quinn, also known as the ‘Roly Poly Kid’ said.

“It’s been a tough ca­reer for me. I’ve been fight­ing 11 years but I bet five of those years have been spent with se­ri­ous in­juries. I’ve had some bad luck when it comes to in­juries.

“I’ve no com­plaints though. When I first got into mixed mar­tial arts it was just for the craic re­ally. I just loved fight­ing.

“I never got into it to make a liv­ing out of it. I made a liv­ing from work­ing on the doors. Now I make money as a full-time fit­ness trainer and MMA coach.

“If I’d have ever made it the UFC or any­thing like that, great, but it was never some­thing I was des­per­ate for.”

Feel­ing fight­ing fit again, Quinn is now fight­ing out of and also coach­ing the next breed of mixed mar­tial artists in the new­ly­opened MTK New­cas­tle gym.

On Novem­ber 17 he tops their sec­ond North East show at the Rain­ton Mead­ows Arena, bat­tling Poland’s Kon­rad Iwanowski for the MTK Euro­pean mid­dleweight ti­tle.

But given the amount of gru­elling pun­ish­ment his body has taken over the years, what keeps him go­ing?

“It’s the love of fight­ing and my com­pet­i­tive na­ture that keeps me go­ing,” he says.

“I’m still al­ways look­ing to learn and im­prove and still want­ing to test my­self against the best in the cage.

“I don’t plan on stick­ing around as an ac­tive fighter too many more years, but while my body is still al­low­ing it, I’m still en­joy­ing be­ing in there.

“I’ve never minded los­ing when I’m los­ing to top qual­ity op­po­si­tion, as long as I Tommy Quinn says a love of fight­ing has kept him go­ing through the hard times feel I do my­self jus­tice in there. I was on a bit of a bad run re­cently. But the losses to Lewis Long and Matt In­man were great fights that fans were vot­ing for as Fights of the Year.

“It was the Lee Chad­wick de­feat (in April 2017 at Cage War­riors) that haunted me though. That messed with my head be­cause I didn’t do my­self jus­tice. I think that one will haunt me un­til I die that one.”

Quinn has since re­bounded with a win on MTK’s maiden North East MMA show by beat­ing Vin­cent del Guerra de­spite car­ry­ing a bad an­kle in­jury into that one.

And now he’s feel­ing good head­ing into his lat­est ti­tle fight.

“It’s great to get back to win­ning ways and I’m feel­ing great ahead of this show. The train­ing camp has gone great.

“The plan is to win that MTK belt and then con­tinue to help build the pro­mo­tion here in the North East.

“They’re a big deal in box­ing, but MMA is dif­fer­ent and it’s a lot harder. There’s go­ing to have to be a lot of trial and er­ror be­fore we get it right.”

Tick­ets for the MTK show, topped by Quinn and fea­tur­ing many more MMA bouts, are on sale from eventbrite. The event takes place at the Rain­ton Mead­ows Arena on Novem­ber 17.

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