THE build-up was as long and as arduous as it gets, but you wouldn’t have known it given the performance Cork native Flobater Fares produced in just the second amateur MMA fight of his career.
The 18-year-old North Mon student, who began fighting over five years ago as he looked to follow in the footsteps of his brother Abanoub, was looking to bounce back from defeat in his debut brawl in September.
To do so, he had to overcome the local favourite in Norwich, as well as a tough travel schedule.
“The fight was in Norwich so I flew there, I went to some guy’s home town and got the win in his own backyard,” begins Fares.
“The night before I had a dinner night with my school so I was done with that at 12 o’clock but I had to get the aircoach then at 1am.
“From there I had to go to Dublin airport, I had to get a flight to London and from London, I had a three-hour bus journey to Norwich.
“But thankfully it didn’t affect me. It went to decision, it went all three rounds, but I knew by the end of it that I had won.
“I’m the type of fighter that I’m just going to go to the cage and have fun. Before I walked out I was like ‘I’m going to put it all out there and whatever happens, happens. I’m just going to have fun’.
“I was talking to the promoter while I was fighting, I enjoyed it. I hurt my foot though so I had to do that same journey all the way back to Cork and I was struggling to walk.
“But it was definitely worth it in the end, I would do it all again for the fight, no problem.”
And with that first win under his belt, his MMA career has been put on hold, his focus on studying for the Leaving Cert, although he admits that decision may have been largely influenced by some of his family.
“I really wanted to get the win this time because I actually can’t fight for a while now because I have to focus on my leaving cert.
“I was like ‘I need to get the win here so I can relax and focus on my Leaving Cert’.
“I’m still young so I have a lot of MMA ahead of me so I’m not pushed about the break. If I was able to fight I would, but it’s my parents’ decision, mainly,” he laughs.