Mixed martial arts fighter Denniston ‘Mad Max’ Sutherland tried his hand at a boxing match for the first time since his teenage years.
The 38-year-old stepped into the ring at Croydon’s Sunday Brawl MMA competition during the weekend.
He faced Marvin Campbell in a heavy weight bout and the fight lasted the full five rounds of three minutes each with judges unanimously declaring Denniston the champion.
“This is the most relaxed I have been in any fight since I have been doing MMA,” said the professional fighter.
“Because MMA is such a fast pace and there is so much to be aware of you are not allowed to focus on any one discipline, you have to have the whole package.
“In this fight the only thing I was thinking about was punching and not getting punched.
“It is like driving down a motorway at 70mph – which is when I’m doing MMA – and then turning off onto a 30mph road. Things have slowed down so you focus a lot more.
“This fight is the most fun I have had in a while, but it doesn’t push me the way I like to be pushed.”
It was Denniston’s first time in the ring since being knocked out in November last year by Jake Bostwick during the first round of the Ultimate Challenge Mixed Martial Arts bout at Cage Rage UK 25 in London.
Now the father-of-two plans to focus on getting into shape for an MMA bout with a May fixture being lined up.
Denniston said: “Going back to boxing definitely gave me a few things I can use back in MMA.
“It is good to break it down and sometimes have a competition in a specific area of the sport. It just keeps you in control of your martial arts because it is supposed to be about self-improvement.
“Fighting is the smallest part of it, it is all about becoming a better person. Fighting is just the icing on the cake – the test you take to see what your level is.”
Following in his footsteps, two of Denniston’s students from his gym, Hemel Martial Arts, will be stepping into the cage.
Mechanic Jason Cooper, 20, is competing this Saturday at the Too Much Talent MMA contest in Slough. He will be fighting again on April 7, along with 29-year-old James Caird.