MIXED Martial Arts sensation Azi Thomas is expecting big things from two of his stable stars when they step into the ring this weekend.
Mark Sweetman and Sian Naomi Jones, from Rhyl and Prestatyn respectively, will part of the British Boxing Union’s Crunch Time show on Saturday, March 25 at Lyons Robin Hood Camp.
The pair both have success in their sights, with Sweetman set to lock horns with Welsh light-heavyweight champion and bitter rivals Ryan Macmillan in what is expected to be the fight of a stacked card.
Jones was due to box close friend and rival Katy Horlick for the vacant Women’s Welsh Boxing Union (BBU) Wales light-welterweight belt, but the Llandudno fighter was forced to pull out at the last minute due to a broken thumb sustained in a bout a fortnight ago.
She will now take on Manchester slugger Michelle McKenzie, who has agreed to step in as a last-minute replacement.
Thomas, who has been training both fighters at his Paradox Gym in Colwyn Bay, is predicting success for both of his proteges on what is a huge night for semi-professional boxing in the region, with more than 700 tickets already sold for the show.
He said: “I am really looking forward to Saturday. Sian been in really good shape and Mark is hitting very hard.
“He knocked out a top level English ABA light heavyweight just before I went away due to my MMA commitments and he has been training like a man possessed.
“The only thing Mark has lacked during his semi-pro career is will, you could never dismiss his skills and now he has put them both together.”
The mother-of-two spoke of her disappointment of Horlick’s pull-out, but insisted that her focus remains on victory with the fight set to be arranged for June.
The 34-year-old, added: “I’m disappointed for Katy, and for myself given that I have trained so hard in preparation for her.
“But that training has not gone to waste now than Michelle has stepped in at the last-minute to take me on. I’m raring to go and can’t wait to get out there on the night.
“I’ve been lucky to train and work alongside some very good fighters – it’s been a real pleasure working with Mark as we’ve helped each other a lot – and I feel like I’m in a really good place.
“Boxing is a tough game, and it will be tough on March 25, but I’m ready.”