Jamie Is Fighting Fit
Thursday 3rd March 2016 @ 13:48 by Mark Phillip

A local MMA fighter is currently preparing to face off against a tough opponent in Barcelona.

Jamie Lester, 37, is hoping to make a good impression on Spanish soil, as the former Glossop North End player makes his first professional appearance on foreign territory.

Speaking ahead of the event at his Viva Combat Athletics Gym in Ashton, Jamie said: “The fight has been in the pipeline for quite some time now.

“I was out training in Valencia just before Christmas, and it’s somewhere I’ve trained regularly for the past 18 months.

“After a training session, the owner of the gym came to me and asked if I wanted to fight in Barcelona in March.

“I accepted, but they didn’t have an opponent lined up at the time.”

Despite the initial disappointment at not finding a suitable opponent, Jamie’s desire to enter the cage was quickly resolved. He added: “I was waiting through January and February for some kind of feedback, but they couldn’t match me with the weight that I normally fight at, which is 70kg.

“However, they managed to match me at welterweight, which is the weight above, so it will mark my first fight at that level.”

jamie and Joshua Nicholls

As experienced as he may be within the sport, Jamie can’t contain his excitement about the forthcoming clash. “The closer the fight gets, the more excited I get” he said.

“I’m in better shape and I’m sharper, so I feel I can do myself justice.

“I never feel any kind of excitement when it’s 6-8 weeks out, as I don’t feel as if I’m physically prepared to give an honest account of myself.”

As a fighter that places tough expectations on himself, Jamie has done all he can to fully prepare for the bout. He said: “My training has always been consistent since I started MMA, and I don’t think I’m off the mat for any longer than two days at a time.

“It was around November time when I started to feel as if things were bubbling beneath the surface, so I started to get myself prepared, upped my training and began to see specialist coaches.

“I started doing a lot of one to one work in the areas where I feel I needed to improve.”

As for his opponent, Mohamed Dial, Jamie admitted that he’s done as much homework as he can on the man he’s tasked to beat. “I’ve done as much research as I can do on my opponent.

“He’s a big guy and looks to be in good shape, and I know that he’s just won an amateur title of some description.

“I imagine things will be a little bit tricky on the day, such as the language barrier, and I don’t think I’ll understand what is being said to me or about me during the fight.”

Such is his commitment to the gym – not least its growing members – Jamie has turned down an opportunity to compete April.

Speaking honestly about the refusal, he said: “I was offered to compete in a fight in Malaga in April, and the opponent is contracted to a great promotion called oneFC based in Asia.

“I refuse any fight that’s scheduled for April, because I’ll already be away from Viva for two weeks, so I don’t really want to neglect our members any further.

“I always like two or three months in-between fights, so June or July would be ideal.”

While the fight is at the forefront of Jamie’s attention, the athlete is also going to be taking in some fine Spanish culture. He concluded: “I rent an apartment in Valencia, which is right on the beach, so I’ll be training two hours every morning, as well as going for a light jog at about 6am.

“You’ve got the beach to yourself when the sun is coming up, so I like to take advantage of that and do a little bit of moving around.

“I’ve also got tickets lined up for Levante against Real Madrid which should be good.”