CAGE FIGHTING: Deepings schoolboy Alex (15) heads to European Championships
Cage fighter Alex Andrews (15) has been selected for the Great Britain squad to compete in the European Championships in Rome.
Alex, from Sutton St Edmund, has won all six of his fights to date in the fast growing sport of MMA (mixed martial arts) cage fighting.
The Deepings School pupil hopes one day to turn professional and travel the world in his chosen sport.
Alex started out five years ago, training three to four hours a day at the gym he still uses, Avvadon Academy, Wisbech, where coach Chris Ellington says he has earned a lot of respect from other fighters.
Cage fighting has a reputation for being a dangerous sport but two of Alex’s biggest fans, mum and dad Naomi and Darren Andrews, are content that Alex is safe.
Naomi said: “Because Alex is under 16, his MMA fights don’t have head shots.
“There’s always coaches who know what’s best for them and there’s always referees so if anything does happen they always stop fights - and there's always medical staff there."
Alex goes to Rome on August 2 for the European Championships and will fight in the new cadet category.
Naomi said: "He's just got into the GB squad and hopefully he will continue competing with them, slowly building up from amateur to semi-professional and professional."
The next step for the Andrews family is to raise £2,000 to £3,000 to get Alex to the European championships along with his coach and a member of the family.
Naomi says: "We will get him there."
Alex is the second eldest of five. His brothers and sisters are Nathan (17), Maddalyn (13), Liam (10) and Scarlett (8).
There's another big supporter outside of the family, Long Sutton businessman and district councillor Jack Tyrrell, who has been Alex's sponsor.
Jack's granddaughter, Lilly-Mai Lincoln (12), attended Tydd St Mary Primary School and it was there that he met Alex.
"I went to see Alex fight on a few occasions," said Jack. "The only downside is that I would sit there for an hour waiting for his fight to see it all over in a couple of minutes. I am very lucky to meet and sponsor such a nice lad."
The only disappointment for Jack is that Great Britain isn't investing in the promising youngster.
Jack said: "He is going to fight for Great Britain and the family are going to have to find their own way over there (to Rome).
"If this were America or anywhere like that they would be throwing money at them."
Jack is pleased to have been able to help Alex on the road to success.
The Andrews believe that MMA cage fighting has taught Alex respect for others and discipline.
And they say he has become good friends with most of the other fighters he has fought.