A CHAMPION kickboxer from the North-East is getting ready to take to the ring in the world’s premier stand-up combat league.

Jamie Bates, from Lanchester in County Durham, will be fighting in front of a crowd of around 5,000 people at the Glory 54 event, staged in Birmingham tonight.

The 28-year-old, who had his first kickboxing when he was eight, has won a number of world championship titles.

The father-of-one, who juggles training with working as a falconer at Lanchester Garden Centre, has been fighting all over Europe since turning professional six years ago.

He said: “This is the first fight I’ll have had this year but I’m hoping to get more regular fights.

“This is a really big deal because this is the biggest kickboxing promoter in the world.”

He added: “It’s not just a hobby, it’s a lifestyle.”

He has been training twice a day, six times a week for eight weeks in preparation.

The welterweight will be taking on Tommie King in the event tonight, which takes place at the Genting Arena and includes 11 fights.