Bedford’s very own Tim ‘TNT’ Thomas is set to fight it out at the venue Muhammad Ali won a gold medal for boxing in the 1960 Olympic Games.
He is one of world’s best eight kickboxers to enter the ring for Glory Final 8 and a grand prize of $300,000 at the historic PalaLottomatica in Rome on Saturday.
It started with 16 fighters fighting in Sweden in May and the eight winners will take part in the one-night knockout tournament to determine who is the best.
Thomas was drafted into the final 16 as a late replacement, taking the spot against Dennis Schneidmiller on one week’s notice, but triumphed to progress. In a random draw in Monaco Thomas was paired with Dutch power-puncher Robin Van Roosmalen in Group B and their fight will open the action on the night.
On his draw, he said: “It’s pretty good for me, I’m quite happy with that.
“He is a lot shorter than me and I’ve always done well against shorter fighters in the past.
“Plus the only thing he has ever seen of me is when I fought Denis Schnedimiller at the final 16 in Sweden earlier this year.
“I took that fight on a week’s notice and so I had very little time to prepare, because I lost a day or two travelling to Sweden as well. So if Robin is preparing for that version of Tim Thomas, he is going to get a surprise.”
Former ISKA Muay Thai welterweight champion Thomas, 29, stands 5ft 10ins tall has a record of 70 wins, 32 by knockout, two draws and 13 defeats and has fought as far afield as Cambodia in recent years.
Thomas, lives in Brickhill, Woodlands Park, Bedford, and went to Hastingbury Upper School.
He is the only fighter in the final eight who has a day job, working in marketing, and trains at the Nak Soo Thai Boxing School in Northampton.