CREGGAN kickboxer, Brian Houston insists he’s unfazed by trash-talking opponents ahead of what’s expected to be his final fight in his hometown before he joins the pro ranks.
The former ISKA world amateur super middleweight champion headlines the eagerly anticipated Mayhem Promotions ‘It’s Showtime 3’ at the White House Hotel next week and he’s planning on putting on a show for the expected 600 strong attendance.
Houston takes on experienced campaigner, Chris Meaney of Newry Muay Thai Club who had been attempting to get under the Derry man’s skin in the lead up to the fight by dismissing his favourite tag, saying ‘it feels good to be given any opportunity to make someone else feel pain.”
But Houston isn’t the type to get easily rattled and he refused to react.
“He might have heavy hands but he’s got to hit me first,” Houston said. “I don’t get involved in trash talk. It doesn’t bother me in the slightest. I’ve heard it all before.
“I’m feeling good,” he said confidently. “It’s just a waiting game now until next Saturday as all the hard training is done.”
Houston, who represents Mayhem Martial Arts, is unbeaten in all competitions (12-1-0) and returns to the ring after almost 10 months of inactivity.
In his last fight in May 2015 he dominated Colm O’Neill at the Waterfoot Hotel to claim the ISKA K1 5 Nations title and so he’s anxious to get back in the ring next Saturday night.
At just 18 years of age, the previous November 2014, Houston was crowned the ISKA world amateur super middleweight champion after an impressive win over Spaniard Daniel Sanchez at ‘Domination’ in Templemore Sports Complex.
And having now vacated that title in order to move up a weight division, he’s hoping to sign off from his amateur career with a memorable win in front of his hometown support.
“I haven’t been in the ring since May last year so it’s a good while ago,” he said. “That was for the Irish K1 title and before that I won the world title the previous November. I’ve had to vacate the world title so I could move up to 84 kgs.”
Houston has won junior and senior titles, Commonwealth, European and world belts during a hugely impressive amateur career. He’s one of the city’s top prospects in the sport and he has big plans for 2016 and beyond.
He’s pencilled in for his professional debut next May, possibly in Dublin, but he’s not looking beyond next Saturday’s fight.
“There’s nothing I can’t handle,” he said. “I’ve been tested in the past but not under K1 rules. No matter what, I’m going to win, whether he tests me or not.”
The winner of the main event will receive £300 in prizemoney plus Mayhem Martial Arts’ custom-made belt but Houston claims he’s only concerned about stretching his unblemished record to 13-1-0.
“I’m not too bothered about the prizemoney or the belt, it’s the win I’m after.
“I’ll be turning pro after this fight,” he revealed. “I want to finish off my amateur career on a winning note in my hometown.
“It will likely be my last fight in my hometown for a good while. My pro debut is scheduled for around May time. So that will probably be in Dublin and after that we’re hoping to go abroad and fight. So we’ll see what happens.
“I could have went straight into the pro game after I won the world title but I started working two jobs full-time so I couldn’t get much training in.
“But I don’t have those jobs any more and I’m concentrating on my training full-time now.”
No head gear or shin protection will be worn but Houston doesn’t believe that will be a problem, particularly with a vocal support behind him.
“You don’t feel anything when you’re in the ring anyway,” he explained. “The adrenaline keeps you going. I don’t care if I can’t walk after the fight, just as long as I win.
“There’ are 600 seats and I’ve already sold maybe 40 or 50 tickets and going into the last week I’d expect to sell a lot more. So there promises to be a good crowd at it.
“I think this is going to be the best show that’s been in Derry since ‘Domination.’ There are 600 people and some cracking fighters on the card. The likes of Steve Owens, myself, Damien Duddy and a couple of others so there should be some excellent fights.”
Mayhem Martial Arts coach and show promoter, Brian Crossan, believes 2016 will be a ‘massive year’ for Houston.
“We have a massive year planned for Brian starting with this title fight,” he said. “We have a pro fight lined up for him in Dublin in May. This lad is a special talent and will no doubt be every bit successful in K1 as he did in full contact.”
Tickets are selling fast. Doors open at 6 p.m. with the first fight at 6.45 p.m.