Meeting the rising Manc MMA star gearing up for a huge fight at the AO Arena next month

Jack Cartwright, Manchester's rising MMA star, reveals his journey from childhood Thai boxing to becoming a top European fighter.

Jack Cartwright, the rising star in the world of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) hailing from Manchester, is gearing up for a colossal showdown at the AO Arena on November 4th.

We sat down with Jack, who shared insights into his journey, his training regimen, and the future of his career.

Jack Cartwright’s Journey

The Manchester United women’s captain Katie Zellem visited fighter Jack Cartwright at his local gym in Longsight as he prepares for the Oktagon

Cartwright’s foray into the world of combat sports started at a remarkably young age.

He began Thai boxing at just 5 years old, providing an outlet for his boundless energy.

By the age of 10, he was representing Britain in Olympic-style wrestling.

Simultaneously, his love for boxing grew, and around the age of 13-14, he added boxing to his impressive combat sports resume.

He said: “I started doing Thai boxing when I was 5-years-old to give me something to do.

“I was an energetic kid growing up and then I started wrestling when I was 8, just turning 9, because I always loved WWE growing up (Laughs).

“So my parents took me to a ‘WRESTLING’ gym and it was an actual wrestling gym, like an Olympic wrestling gym and by the time I was 10-years-old I was representing Britain, until I was around 16-17.

“But along the way I’d always loved boxing so when I was around 13-14, I started boxing, and as you can tell by that point I’d already been doing combat sports my whole life.

“Then I started to see Pride and UFC, so I saw Pride videos and videos of the UFC and thought ‘ahh I want a bit of that’.

“Growing up I was a big Dragon Ball Z fan as well, so I wanted to fight in world martial arts tournaments and be the best fighter in the world.

“So when I got to 18-years-old, it was a choice of being a professional boxer or a professional MMA fighter and we all know an MMA fighter would beat a boxer, so I turned to MMA and here we are.”

I: What do you think about MMA locally? It seems to be blowing up in the North West particularly at the moment

His path towards MMA was a natural progression, inspired by his fascination with Pride and UFC.

Cartwright’s childhood admiration for world martial arts tournaments and the desire to be the best fighter in the world fuelled his transition.

Boxing or MMA

At the age of 18, faced with a choice between becoming a professional boxer or an MMA fighter, Cartwright made the decision that has led him to his current status as a renowned MMA fighter.

“I started to see Pride and UFC, so I saw Pride videos and videos of the UFC and thought ‘ahh I want a bit of that,'” Cartwright said.

The North West growing MMA Centre

Today, MMA has been gaining momentum in the North West of England, with Manchester and Liverpool becoming epicentres of the sport’s growth.

Cartwright believes that the region’s strong MMA presence, coupled with the abundance of talented fighters, makes it an ideal location for the Oktagon event.

“We’ve got a really strong foothold, and it’s good that Oktagon are coming to Manchester first because we’ve got loads of good fighters from these ends,” Cartwright stated.

Training in Longsight

Cartwright’s training base is in Longsight, Manchester, and he occasionally trains in Bolton, his hometown, and travels to Burton for sparring sessions.

His dedication and hard work have led to his current position as a top MMA fighter in Europe.

“I’ve picked up my training, training really hard so that’s what I’m doing at the minute,” Cartwright said.

Manchester’s ability to produce top-tier fighters across various fighting disciplines has intrigued many.

Cartwright believes it’s embedded in the local culture, as the city breeds tough individuals who are inspired by local sports legends like Tyson Fury, Amir Khan, Ricky Hatton, Michael Bisping, and Tom Aspinall.

The city’s resilience and its somewhat gloomy weather, according to Cartwright, are contributing factors to the emergence of world-class fighters.

“I think that all plays a part in it, and it’s a melting pot, so put it all together, and you get some world-class fighters,” Cartwright explained.

The upcoming fight at the AO Arena is an exciting prospect for Cartwright.

He’s especially thrilled about fighting in front of a home crowd, given that most of his recent fights occurred behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

His last fight took place in Las Vegas, where he was alone, without the support of his fans.

“I’m excited to be able to fight in front of my home crowd, sleep in my own bed, wake up, drive down to a world-famous arena where many legendary fight nights have been held before and just add my name to the list of greats who’ve fought there and put on a fantastic show,” Cartwright said.

His preparation for this monumental event was rigorous, mirroring his usual dedication and commitment to his craft. He described his training camp as consistent hard work and preparation, emphasising his readiness to deliver the performance of his career.

“I’m ready to put on the best performance of my career and just prove I’m the best fighter in Europe,” Cartwright asserted.

Notably, the AO Arena card features other celebrities like Jake Quickenden and Paul Smith, not typically associated with professional MMA fighters.

However, Cartwright sees this as an opportunity to attract a wider audience to the sport.

“I think that people like that have built up their own audiences, they work really hard in their sector of life, and if they want to come over and be very respectful to the sport, which what I’ve seen of them both, they’ve both been very respectful,” Cartwright explained.

“If an extra few thousand people want to come to the arena to watch Paul Smith and Jake Quickenden fight, hopefully they leave there having seen some of the other professional fighters on the card and we gain some new fans of the sport.”

As for his future, Cartwright remains focused on his upcoming fight on November 4th, 2023, with little concern for what lies beyond.

“I do not plan for the future,” Cartwright stated firmly.

“I’ve got a cage fight on the 4th November and as far as I’m concerned there is no tomorrow.

“I fight for that date and people ask me ‘oh do you want to go for a drink?’ ‘oh do you want to go on holiday there?’.

“I really could not care less about any of that. I’ve got a professional fight in front of a packed crowd at the AO arena to take care of first and that’s where it all heads too.

“I couldn’t care less about after the fight, I care about getting my hand raised.”

Jack Cartwright’s journey from a young boy passionate about combat sports to a top-tier MMA fighter is a testament to his dedication and the vibrant fighting culture of Manchester.

The AO Arena is set to witness an electrifying showdown, and fans are eagerly anticipating his performance in front of a home crowd.

As the excitement continues to build, the eyes of the MMA world will be firmly fixed on Jack Cartwright and the potential for his future in the sport.

You can get your tickets to this monumental showdown by clicking here

Best of luck Jack, the whole city is behind you!!


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