Izzy ready to take on the world’s best

A DENTON woman can take on anyone who causes trouble in the cricket club bar she works in after being crowned European MMA champion.

But Izzy Mitchell needs funding to get her to face the world’s best.

The 20-year-old who works behind the bar at Denton West Cricket Club may not look like the most fearsome person in the world.

However, get her in the mixed martial arts octagon and Izzy is a different beast, to the point where she has been crowned junior lightweight champion at the IMMAF-WMMAA European Open Championships.

Now a fight of a different kind is on, to raise £2,000 so she can travel to Bahrain to compete in the world championships.

“I’m the least aggressive, confrontational person you’ll ever meet,” said Izzy, who has been doing MMA for four years after first seeing superstar Ronda Rousey in films.

“I’ve really had to work hard to get to the level I’m at but it cost me about £1,500 to compete. I did a bit of fundraising but the majority came out of my own pocket.

“And Bahrain will be another £2,000, which is why I’ve started a fundraising page online. That would take in the travel, hotels, registration and paying for equipment and other costs.

“Everyone is in the same predicament. Everyone has to fund their own way – even the copach has to fund himself.”

Izzy, who trains for up to 18 hours a week at the 12 Gauge gym in Bredbury, defeated Greece’s Arietta Ourania Tsaousi to win the title at the championships in Rome.

So any troublemakers at Denton West be warned, the woman behind the bar may be a bit tougher than she looks.

“I enjoy the striking side of MMA but also the grappling,” Izzy, a student in nutritional sciences at Manchester Metropolitan University added. “I tend to just go with the flow. See what the opponent is like and just go with that.

“The girl I fought in the final is a kick boxer, so it was more of a grappling technique I followed – and it worked.

“I suppose it could come in handy but I never really lose my temper. It’s good to know I have something where I can protect myself if anything ever happens, which it hasn’t so far.

“And everyone at the club has been brilliant to me so far. They back me all the way.”

MMA was controversial when it first burst on to the scene but has since become accepted thanks to things like the Ultimate Fighting Championship and people like Rousey.

So much so, the sport is trying to earn recognition by Sport England, which would qualify it as an Olympic event.

If it manages it, Izzy – who lives on Ash Road in Dane Bank – is near the front of the queue of people looking to compete.

“I was watching a film with Ronda Rousey in it and recognised her. So I watched a few videos of her in action and thought, ‘I could do that’,” she recalled about her path into the sport.

“I did a taster session at 12 Gauge and loved it but I was working in a Clark’s shoe shop at the time and missed about three weeks of sessions but I got back into it.

“From the outside looking in, the sport appears brutal but there is a lot more to it than meets the eye

“When I first started, I didn’t even know about anything at world level, now we’re working towards appearing at the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.

“And I would definitely be up for that if it does happen.”

• If you would like to contribute towards Izzy’s fundraising to help her to Bahrain, go online:
www.gofundme.com/f/jmgbx2-world-championships-2019.

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