SOUTHEND heavyweight Stav Economou will take his own brand of south Essex violence up north on Saturday.
The mixed martial arts destroyer – known as Crazy Bear – faces one of the toughest tests of his career in Newcastle.
Dan Burzotta, his trainer at the Westcliff-based Team Sure Grip gym, says the European heavyweight Made4TheCage title clash will be a bruising affair.
He said: “Stav’s in the best shape of his life. We don’t care the fight’s up in the north east.
“They’re saying that it’s a north against south fight, but Stav is not the sort to be worried by any hostile crowd.”
The battle pits Economou against James Mulheron at the Rainton Meadows Arena, where the tickets are already sold out.
Burzotta said: “We’re going into his backyard for this one.
“Mulheron is the reigning European champion, but he called Stav out because he knows that Stav is the best.
“Both fighters have a good chin and both are brawlers.
“But somebody is going to get knocked out here.
“Stav’s 21 stone and has sledgehammers for fists. We’re not leaving this one for the judges to decide.
“Stav’s going for the knock out at a venue like this, then there’s no argument about it,” he added.
The title fight comprises three five minute rounds and Crazy Bear will have plenty of support on the night.
Almost 70 fans, family members, friends and fellow fighters will be making the trip to cheer him on.
One of the TSG fighters making the journey to back up his friend will be wishing that he could be fighting too.
Walter Gahadza – one of TSG’s most explosive MMA fighters – was due to fight on the Newcastle bill with a welterweight title as the prize.
Gahadza was supposed to square up to Ryan Scope, but last week the Southend 26-year-old broke two fingers while sparring and the fight was postponed.
Ironically, the pair were due to have met last summer, but on that occasion it was Scope who cried off – with broken ribs.
The 77kg battle will now take place at Southend’s own Ultimate Warrior Challenge promotion on April 19.
Burzotta said: “The fighters are doing so much physical training – locks, punches and putting their body on the line – and injury is always a risk.
A second Southend man will, though, be fighting in Newcastle. TSG veteran Alex O’Tool will face undefeated judo specialist James Thickell.
Burzotta said: “Thickell’s opponent pulled out at short notice and I know that Alex is always in good shape and he was up for it.
“He has not had much notice but he’s a great fighter and trains a lot and I wouldn’t put him in unless I thought that he was going to win.”