ACB 87 is stacked top to bottom, and the Welterweight encounter between Ashley Reece (6-0) and Adam Proctor (8-1) is no exception.
Two young fighters desperate to break out in the talent-rich UK rankings, neither man will want to take a step back after posting the biggest wins of their respective careers.
Before his fight next week, Ashley Reece took some time out to talk with Gary Friel of MMAUK about his preparations and the upcoming clash.
You had 6 fights in your amateur career with some tough wars in there. How much do you owe your current success to this background?
I see a lot of my fights as lessons and even after winning them, I would go back to training and push myself to get better. Nothing has changed now and I only look to improve massively from my last fight.
It’s rare to see a fighter with as many total fights as you to have fought for only two promotions. What do you think has led to your commitment to Full Contact Contender and now ACB?
I like to grow with the promotion I’m in, especially ones that treat me well. FCC treated me well when I was fighting under that promotion, and ACB are doing a fantastic job.
You welcomed your daughter into the world a few months ago. Have there been any changes to your preparation as a fighter since becoming a father?
There are no excuses whatsoever now as I’m doing it for my family. Whenever it gets hard, I think of my wife and my daughter and give that extra bit more that I wouldn’t have otherwise. They are my world.
Your home gym, HAMMA, is located pretty close to what seems to be the epicentre of UK MMA right now; Liverpool. Have you felt a different kind of buzz as of late in the area?
The buzz at HAMMA is like no other. We work as a team and push each other massively. Everyone has a very good understanding of one another.
Your last fight with Sam Boult was arguably the toughest of your career. What did you learn from this fight that you feel will benefit you coming into this clash with Adam Proctor?
I learned that I can hang with guys that have high-level skills and even though everything won’t go my way, I’m always in the fight to win. Adam Proctor is a high-level guy and I will show that I belong fighting high-level competition like him. I can hold my own against the high-level guys and I look to start finishing them now, starting with Proctor.
You face Adam Procter at ACB 87 on May 19th. How do you feel Adam Proctor stacks up in comparison to your previous opponents?
Adam is the best opponent I have faced so far. He is well rounded and a finisher. It will be fun. I’m looking forward to the fight.
Do you have any predictions about how the fight is going to go?
I’m fully focused on winning my fight and that’s all.
All 3 of your ACB fights will have taken place in the UK after next Saturday’s fight, all three against fellow UK fighters. Would you be interested in competing against the Russian contingency of ACB in the future, perhaps in their own backyard?
I’m ranked just inside the top 20 at the moment. There are plenty of UK fights for me to take and climb the rankings. I have to be higher up in the rankings, like the top 5, before I can think about fighting outside of the UK.
The current ACB Welterweight Champion is Mukhamed Berkhamov. How do you rate Berkhamov as a fighter and is he someone you’d specifically like to challenge in the future?
He is levels above me at the moment. I’ll doubt we will ever cross paths, however, if I carry on winning in ACB and he keeps defending, you never know.
ACB 87 takes place on May 17th in Nottingham, England, headlined by Robert Whiteford and Kane Mousah.