Combat sports prospect Alex Andrews (15), of Sutton St Edmund, takes tough loss on the chin ahead of European Championships
Sutton St Edmund mixed martial arts (MMA) hope Alex "The A Man" Andrews (15) has learned that life in combat sports can deliver knocks, as well as knockouts.
Andrews, a Year 10 student at The Deepings School, was on the wrong end of a split decision after his latest fight against Erik Rubanov at the IFU (Impact Fight UK) 15 show in Wisbech on Saturday night.
But rather than losing his unbeaten record in what is the fastest growing fight sport in the world, Andrews can instead look back on his experience in the cage at Wisbech's Hudson Leisure Centre as a learning experience in "switching codes".
That is because "The A Man" actually took on Wisbech fighter Rubanov in boxing, rather than MMA.
Naomi Andrews, the young fighter's mum, said: "Normally Alex does MMA but the person who put the show on couldn't get him a match-up with an MMA fighter.
"But Erik was available to box so Alex took the fight over three two-minute rounds.
"He'd only been doing his boxing training once a week but Alex was the more aggressive fighter, going forward and putting Rubanov on the back foot all of the time.
"If it had been an MMA fight, Alex would have won hands down.
"But the movement you need for boxing is different and while my son won the first round, Rubanov won the next two rounds and got the fight on a split decision."
Andrews, who trains seven nights a week out of the Avaddon MMA Gym in Wisbech, is looking forward to bouncing back from his loss at IFU 15 when he fights for the UK at the first-ever MMA Cadet World Championships in Rome, Italy, on August 3 and 4.
The A-Man, who has a 4-0 record in MMA and K-1 (a Japanese martial arts combining karate, kickboxing and kung-fu), was selected for the UK team after a trial in May.
Naomi said: "Alex was gutted that he lost on Saturday because it had never happened to him before.
"He did take it hard as well because a lot of his family and friends were there to watch him.
"But I reminded him that he's an MMA fighter, not a boxer, and that I took my hat off to him for taking a boxing fight.
"I also told Alex that he should never be disappointed because it takes a lot to get in the cage, before reminding him that we love him and we're all very proud of everything he does.
"Deep down I think he knows that what happened on Saturday will do him the world of good as he'll go back to the gym and train even harder for the world championships where he has a good chance to do well.
"After going to the UK trials and getting picked for the team, it would be lovely if Alex could come back home with a medal."