FightStar Championship presents their fourth installment in two days time, live from the Halifax Arena, with a solid looking fight card and making his MMA debut on the night is Josh Keys.
Josh trains out of Dark Arts gym in Birmingham and has been training for around five years now. Since getting into the sport he has found injuries affect him and opponents pull out, but now everything is set for him to step into the cage and take on a very tough opponent in AVT’s Jonny Saville.
When you speak to Josh you can tell his passion for the sport and just how much knowledge he has and are here is a little more about Josh and his thoughts ahead of the night.
Hi Josh, thanks for your time. I wanted to firstly start by looking ahead to FightStar and ask how much you know about the show and what makes it a really good place to make your debut.
“Knowledge, not a lot to be honest. It’s mainly I love how it’s set out; I love the logo’s, the weigh in’s and how professional it looks. So from there I asked and ‘who’s the people I should be looking at? I want to debut’ I really wanted it at 135, but then I came across Jonny.
But its come from being a little youtube geek, starting with local shows but branching out as I don’t like a lot of the local shows around Birmingham. I came across the show, liked it, and have ended up speaking to them quite a lot”.
FightStar are always good to speak with and they do run the show so professionally. How have you found your time dealing with them and how what was it about the Jonny Saville fight that interested you?
“They have been really good because, I haven’t been pushy, but I really wanted the fight against Jonny. I think stylistically it’s good, plus he is coming off losses so he is going to want to come out, take me down, and hurt me. I think that, with what I’m good at, my talent, is going to make it a really fun and interesting fight.
When he had the interview with you and said that I should be calling people out who have wins, I don’t think so. I think he is going to bring me a better fight than some of the lads that have wins”.
From what you have seen on Jonny, what are you expecting on the night?
“To be honest I don’t think Jonny is going to want to stand up, that’s where the little cocky comments came from, but I don’t mean for them to come out how they did. I thought it was a little bit of banter between fighters, but he hasn’t taken it that way. So I’d like to apologise because I did sound like a bit of a div. Jonny is a talent, he should have a lot more wins and hats out too him, I have a lot of respect for the lad.
I hope his cardio is good because I literally want to meet in the middle and see what happens. He thinks I’m a kickboxer, but my ground game is on point, he shouldn’t worry. My defence wrestling, my wrestling, it’s all there.
Like he said he doesn’t know anything about me and that is a bad thing for him”.
That is one thing you definitely have on your side, nobody being able to see any footage on you. Do you think this can play to your advantage?
“Yeah definitely, because I’m dead the opposite (laughs). I’m training at the moment in a boxing/body building gym, and me and a couple of friends, who have trained in a few big places, are making it MMA and were going to put a load of the lads out there fighting.
So looking back at what I’ve been through with the different gyms and camps, is five years’ experience of wanting to fight, preparing to fight, but having people pull out of fights or me having to pull out due to injury.
He just thinks I’m some novice who has trained for a month and just wants a scrap”.
As you mentioned there has been a little back and forth on Facebook between the two of you, did you mean it come out like it did?
“I just think he has taken it a little bit to heart, I didn’t call him out, I asked around and have seen his name and I do like the way he fights. He seems like a good lad and I really like his tattoos. I will gladly have a drink with him after or spar with him in a few weeks if he wants to.
I cant wait to get in there and just have that respect for each other. If he doesn’t want to touch gloves because I’ve spoken a little shit, then fair enough. If he is going to get in my face at the weigh in’s, I’ll get in his face.
I basically just cant wait to enjoy it”.
Different people approach fights in different ways. Some people prefer to stick to a game plan, while others wait to see what happens on the night. Are you heading into this fight with a game plan?
“Coaches want me to do one thing and I want to do another. I’ve got my two coaches, Stew Darlow and Shaun Wixey, who are both fantastic guys, who should have fought a lot more by now, but I’m telling you these guys will go professional in the next few years if they push it.
They both want me to do certain game plan’s which are A, B, and C, as no one fighter goes in with just one game plan, because as Mike Tyson said: ‘You can’t game plan it after you’ve been punched’.”
With you coming from Birmingham to compete, are you bringing a lot of support with you?
“I’ve kind of held back from inviting everyone down for this fight, especially because it is quite a way to travel from Birmingham. It’s more going to be family and a few close, true, friends who I’m looking forward to spending some quality time with. Unfortunately my girlfriend is unable to come as she has work, but overall its more that I like the fact that I’m going into his back garden, with him being local to the Yorkshire area, in Huddersfield”.
What was it that first got you interested in the world of the Martial Arts?
“I went into it because I got bullied in school, so back in the day I watched all the Bruce Lee and Jean Claude Van Damme movies, so I’ve always been interested in fighting. I got bullied, I was a short-tiny lad, and from that I went down the blues (Birmingham City) and thought I was a little rebel. It started off with that, so I thought I was the lad with hands.
The first thing I started off in, was more or less a hut (laughs), I had three interclub fights, which no one knows about because they didn’t get noted down on paper or anything. I won all three of those via stoppage and that gym was just a back street, naff place to be honest. Going from there, I’m not going to say the next name as we had a big falling out and we don’t get on, but it was a very good gym with a lot of great lads. I’ve now had six months at a dojo and now I’m at a boxing gym where I’ve brought a bit of everything to the gym with me; there is Thai boxers, jiu jitsu guys and all of them are fresh, hungry, lads who are gunning for a chance at MMA””
And finally, all the best on Saturday, is there anybody you would like to thank/give a shout out to?
“I’d like to thank Eight Limbs, who are a sponsor of mine, but are also sponsoring the FightStar show. They have been so helpful to me and really fantastic in the process so far. Then there is obviously Dark Arts and I have to say Luke Hickman. I’ve been going this gym for a month, if that, and he has adapted the gym around me. I have been able to do a lot all because of Luke and hats off to him, he is like a brother already. and to Stew and Shaun, who have both come over to dark arts with me.
Finally to my girlfriend, because if I don’t thank her she will beat me up (laughs). She works like a trooper, God bless her, and I wish my work rate was as high as hers. She is really is fantastic.
And thanks to you, you didn’t have to take time out of your day to speak to a little old Brummie”.