MMA heavyweight Oliver Chapman tells why title is so important on professional debut

Echo: MMA heavyweight Oliver Chapman tells why title is so important on his professional debut Picture: STEPHEN KING/WWW.HADLEIGHPORTRAITS.COM MMA heavyweight Oliver Chapman tells why title is so important on his professional debut Picture: STEPHEN KING/WWW.HADLEIGHPORTRAITS.COM

THE lure of a title would be motivation enough for most mixed martial arts fighters.

But Westcliff heavyweight Oliver Chapman has a handful of other reasons why he wants to be victorious in the cage tomorrow night.

Not only will it be Chapman’s 43rd birthday, it will also let him attempt to settle a grudge with rival Michael Piszczek and fight in his dead brother’s memory.

“Christmas is coming and I could not ask for a better present than the chance of winning this,” said Chapman, who will be competing for the East Anglian Region Heavyweight title belt in Norwich.

“This is my first fight as a professional and I want to come away with the title for a variety of reasons.

“I’m going for a knockout in the first round because that belt must be mine by any means.”

Chapman only took up MMA around six months ago because he wanted to lose weight after hitting 20 stone.

A friend who is a boxer suggested the sport and Chapman shed five stones after Team Sure Grip gym, in London Road, Westcliff.

He lost his first semi-professional fight against Tom Mabandia on the AWOL 2 card three months ago after a groin injury forced him to retire.

And Chapman was due to face Piszczek at the AWOL 3 show last Sunday but could not compete because of flu.

But he will face the Polish heavyweight in the cage in Norwich tomorrow as the main fight on the East Coast Fight Factory show.

“We used to do door work for the same firm and train at the same gym but things used to get a bit heavy during sparring,” said Chapman.

“We both thought we were better than the other but will settle it tomorrow night and then have a drink afterwards.”

The bout in Norwich will also be poignant for Chapman because his younger brother Lloyd lived near to the county town before taking his own life four years ago following the break-up of a relationship.

“If I win, I’ll dedicate the win to Lloyd,” added Chapman, who is likely to be 18kg lighter that 188kg Piszczek stepping into the octagon.

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