Andre Winner is the latest MMA fighter who’s set for a switch to professional boxing.
Winner showed solid boxing skills and a terrific chin – he was never knocked out – while competing in the UFC and BAMMA and at 35, he reckons he has a couple of years to make an impact in the ring.
He has been training with Ajmal ‘Hudge’ Butt alongside WBO European super-featherweight champion Lyon Woodstock jr at the Leicester Unity gym and hopes to make his debut next year, possibly in February or March.
Given Butt’s connections with Jason McClory, Frank Warren’s matchmaker, there’s a chance Winner could be fighting on BT Sport, provided the British Boxing Board of Control grant him his license.
Winner plans to campaign at super-welterweight and says a switch to boxing has been on the cards for a while.
He used to train with Chris Pyatt, Leicester’s only world boxing champion and said: “Chris was always interested in me boxing and it has always been in the back of my mind, but the avenue I chose was MMA.
“My style was a Western boxing style.
“I was known for my hands. I would throw my kicks at the end of my punches.
“I’ve always enjoyed boxing and I know I’m in good hands with ‘Hudge.’
“I wanted to have a few amateur bouts, but they told me I had too much combat experience so it looks like I’m going to have to take the pro route.
“I have done everything I wanted to do in MMA and if something comes up that pays well, I’m still an MMA fighter.
“But it does look like I’m going to do boxing.
“I’ve probably got a couple of years in boxing, but I’m a young 35.
“I train well and live well.
“People don’t believe me when I tell them my age.
“I have had a few tough fights, but there’s no lasting damage.
“I feel at my peak. I feel good.
“I have power on my back hand. I’m pretty sure I will be stopping people.”
The switch from MMA to boxing or vice versa doesn’t always go as planned. Here are a few examples.
The most famous and recent cross-sport fight was of course Mayweather-McGregor. Even though the Irishman looked liked he could hang with one of the greatest ever, in reality, it was a performance by Mayweather in which he carried the UFC champion and eventually finished the job in the 10th round via TKO.
The other famous fight was when boxing legend James Toney had an MMA bout with former UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture, a legend of the sport and a member of the UFC Hall Of Fame.
Toney had been trash talking like crazy, similar to McGregor, and promised to give Couture a beating. But no such thing happened as Couture, a wrestler, took care of business in minutes and choked Toney out in the first round.