Northampton MMA gym vows to make 'bigger and bigger noises' on international stage following Battle Arena success

The gym and its fighters are putting Northampton on the map

Monday, 15th November 2021, 8:28 pm
Ahsan Ahmed (right)

A mixed martial arts gym in Northampton is making 'big noises' on the international stage and says this is just the start as 'big things are to come'.

BST Academy, in Sixfields, saw two out of three of its amateur fighters win in front of hundreds of fight fans at the Battle Arena promotion at Edgbaston Stadium, Birmingham, on Saturday night (November 13).

This is the latest promotion where BST has been successful. The gym's biggest success story so far is Corby's Jordan Vucenic who became the Cage Warriors featherweight champion in March this year, which was previously held by Conor McGregor.

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Denzel Chibondo

The fights on Saturday, which were three three-minute rounds, included:

Nashwan Azziz v Ahsan Ahmed (BST) - Won

Nikolasz Lukacs v Denzel Chibondo (BST) - Won

Mush Aslani v Lukasz Szala (BST) - Lost

Danny Batten

Battle Arena fight boss James Price said: “It was great to end our 2021 season with a sold out show. I am really pleased for Denzel Chibondo from Northampton who became our British fly weight champion. We are really looking forward to next year where we are expanding into new cities and countries.”

Sarah Dee Battle Arena communications manager said: “BST Academy brought their fans in force on Saturday. It was great to see the fighters thriving off their atmosphere and energy.”

Danny Batten, BST head coach

Following the overall successful evening, BST head coach Danny Batten said that the gym and his fighters are going to 'make bigger and bigger noises'.

Lukasz Szala

Danny said: "There are some decent gyms in Northampton but I would say we are the ones making the biggest noises at the moment on the international circuits - and they're going to get bigger and bigger.

"We've obviously got something going for us here - we've had fighters in the UFC, Bellator, Cage Warriors.

"For me, on a personal level, becoming friends with these fighters you start to realise what it's all about for them - it's so much more than just a win.

"If anyone wants to come to BST Academy it's a real open place."

Denzel Chibondo: 'The gym changed my life'

The biggest win of the night came from Denzel Chibondo, who lifted the BattleArena British fly-weight title in front of a large following of his friends and fans from Northampton.

Denzel, from Kingsley, said after the fight: "I worked really hard; that guy is a good fighter from a different country but, yeah, I feel really good.

"It's extra help [the support of his fans], and boosts me to do better. I want to make all these people proud. They all come out here, they spend their money to come and watch me, so I've got to put in the hard performance for them.

"I work really hard. People don't realise the top talent we have got in Northampton."

Denzel said that six years ago he 'changed his life' by going to BST to train.

The 27-year-old said: "The gym helps me, it changed my life.

"For me, since I started going gym my life started getting better, and I've had a really positive mindset because of it.

"I've been training for six years. It took me three years to get good then the last three years I've been on it and, yeah, I'm doing good.

"People look up to me now. I'd like people to follow my footsteps and just come and train and see how it goes."

Denzel said he hopes to now compete for a European title or a world amateur title.

Ahsan Ahmed: 'The UFC is the main goal'

Another impressive BST performance and victory came from 20-year-old Ahsan Ahmed, who beat Nashwan Azziz with an onslaught of leg kicks.

Ahsan said: "It was out of this world [to win]. It was great. Although I love the winning feeling, I'm happy but not satisfied. I'm back to training on Monday, I want to get back on that title run."

The former Kingsthorpe College student said he has been training for around six years and has his sights set on the big time.

Ahsan said: "I started training twice a week when I was 14/15 but started to regularly train at 17, all at BST.

"Once I got into MMA properly, my coach Raymond saw me grow and said, 'you know you can get a future from this', I said, 'really?'. So I went with it and here I am.

"To get to the UFC, that's the main goal. I know this is just an amateur fight but the end goal really is to be a UFC champ one day, but that's well into the future.

"I've got little goals, I want to win amateur titles, win belts, work towards going professional, get into Cage Warriors, after that UFC, and then a contender shot and a UFC belt. That's what I want."

Lukasz Szala: 'I just needed one more round'

The main event of the night saw BST's Lukasz Szala take on Mush Aslani.

Team Szala were out in force in terms of fan support but 'The Polish Hammer' narrowly missed out on victory.

Speaking after the fight, 29-year-old Lukasz said: "I feel very good. I needed one more round for a win but what can I do, what can I say? It's not a loss, it's experience. I'll be back and will show what I do the best.

"Thank you for everyone who supports me. The Polish Hammer will come back soon."