Jack Shore takes inspiration from fellow Welshman and former World boxing champion Joe Calzaghe in his chase for mixed martial arts title glory.
Shore, from Abertillery, clashes with London’s Mike Ekundayo in a World title fight at the Viola Arena in Cardiff Bay on Saturday.
“I watched Joe when I was growing up,” says Shore. “It was massive for me as a kid seeing him dominate people on the World boxing stage.”
Shore sees his chase for Cage Warriors glory as ‘Wales against the World’.
Both men boast unbeaten records going into their bout for a vacant World title and neither are short on confidence with Ekundayo proclaiming himself ‘the strongest bantamweight in the World’.
Shore, nicknamed The Tank, says he will extend his winning professional run to 10 victories and says: “Growing up in Wales means rugby, football or fighting.
“People see me representing Wales and my home town. I want to make Welsh fight fans proud.
“Yes, it’s Was v the World. It doesn’t matter if my opponent is from England, Europe, America or anywhere.
“The Welsh will support me because in Wales we get behind our own.
“If you are Welsh and a sports fan you would be a fool to miss this night. Come once and you will be hooked.
“On Saturday I will be given my biggest ever ovation. This is the biggest show in the history of Cage Warriors – and they will become even bigger and better from here.
“The atmosphere will be electric. I am going to be winning my first World title. A major milestone, one I will never forget.
“I am not taking Ekundayo lightly. He comes from a great gym, has good coaches and legitimate wins. My focus is 100 per cent on the task ahead.”
Ekundayo, whose professional fight record is a 100 per cent 7/0, is nicknamed ‘Airlines’ and explains: “I put my opponents on flights.
“During one fight I lifted my opponent from one side of the cage to the other and slammed him. I made a joke about putting him on a flight and it has stuck.
“I am the strongest bantamweight in the World, too skilled for Shore. I train with savages and that makes my fights easier than sparring rounds.”
Cage Warrior 100 at the Viola Arena in Cardiff Bay starts art 3.45pm with the main fights due on at 9pm.
There are two World title bouts and many of the biggest stars on the promotion’s roster.
Shore trains out of Tillery Combat MMA, a gym with six members fighting at Cage Warriors 100. He will be looking to win the bantamweight title back for Wales after it was held previously by Welshman Brett Johns who has since become a top contender in the UFC bantamweight division.
Ekundayo is trained by UK MMA pioneer Brad Pickett alongside the man who vacated the belt in the first place, Nathaniel Wood. The man from London uses a grappling heavy offence to nullify his opponents and attack them on the ground.
A big win over Ed Arthur at Cage Warriors 95 bought Ekundayo a fast track to the title challenge.
The vacant featherweight title is also up for grabs in the final of the featherweight tournament.
After beating Lewis Monarch and Paull McBain in their semi-final match-ups, Dean Trueman and Aiden Lee will meet each other in the final.
The belt was vacated by Nad Narimani who won the belt off of Paddy Pimblett, vacating it soon after as he moved to the UFC.
Trueman, who trains in Nottingham, has a record of 9/4 with five finishes.
Two top fights at welterweight will feature Håkon Foss v Aaron Khalid and Nicolas Dalby v Philip Mulpeter.
Håkon Foss is a Norwegian fighter with a record of 9/5 (7 finishes). He won his last fight at Cage Warriors 93 with a first round TKO over Jack Mason.
His opponent is Welsh fighter ‘King’ Khalid, who trains out of Cardiff MMA. He has a record of 7/4/1 (6 finishes, 5 by submission). He has never been finished in his pro career and won his last fight via rear-naked choke in the first round against Jamie Richardson.
He also has two decision losses on his record to current CW welterweight champion Ross Houston. Both fighters have a high finishing rate, making this is a top fight for the division.
‘Lokomotivo’ Dalby is an established name in Cage Warriors with a record of 15-3-1. His three losses all came in a row in the UFC and in his comeback fight in Cage Warriors but since then he has bounced back with a second round submission over Roberto Allegretti.
His opponent is Irish fighter Mulpeter, who has has a record of 9-5 and poses a tough and telling test for Dalby.
The bout kicking off the main card is between Scottish fighter Scott ‘Boom Boom’ Malone and Welshman Josh ‘Crazy Horse’ Reed.
Malone has a record of 5-1, while Reed made a name for himself with his incredible title fight last year against Nathaniel Wood. He trains out of Tillery Combat in Wales with Shore and is on a two-fight loss streak after seven straight wins in his pro career. CW100 tickets are still available HERE. Doors at the Viola Arena open at 3pm.
Fans have the opportunity to meet UFC legend Dan Hardy, former CW champs and now Welsh UFC names Brett Johns and Jack Marshman, and CW Octagon Girl Edith Labelle at the CW100 meet and greet.
CW100 Fight Card (subject to change)
Main Card 9pm
Jack Shore vs Mike Ekundayo – Bantamweight Title Fight
Aiden Lee vs Dean Trueman – Featherweight Title Fight
Håkon Foss vs Aaron Khalid – Welterweight
Nicolas Dalby vs Philip Mulpeter – Welterweight
Scott Malone vs Josh Reed – Bantamweight
Pro Prelims 6.45pm
Alex Lohoré vs Tim Barnett – Welterweight
Rhys McKee vs Jefferson George – Lightweight
Kris Edwards vs Aidan Stephen – Featherweight
Jai Herbert vs Joe McColgan – Lightweight
Brett Hassett vs Michael Corston – Lightweight
Cage Warriors Academy Grand Prix Finals 4.15pm
Dawid Piotrowicz vs Ismar Blagoje – Light Heavyweight
Rafal Nauberg vs Christian Duncan – Middleweight
Ivan Blanita vs Oban Elliot – Welterweight
Danny Williams vs Jordan Peake – Lightweight
Liam Molloy vs Chris Sterling – Featherweight
Nathan Fletcher vs Jack Eglin – Bantamweight
Ciaran Mulholland vs Muhidin Abubakar – Flyweight
Amateur Card 3.45pm
Joe Macefield vs Sean Scrivens – Featherweight
Kieren Bennett vs Jack Tucker – Middleweight