By Dean Parr
Main-eventing next month’s Shock ‘n’ Awe bill will be James Pennington, a 6-0 fighter looking to make a successful defence of his bantamweight title against Bishop Auckland talent Davey Grant (6-1).
Whilst he’s not underestimating the importance of this contest, the ‘Power Weasel’ thinks he may have been in harder scraps in the past. He noted,
“I think every fight is your toughest to date when you're unbeaten, but to be honest, I can't see Davey Grant being as tough as some of my previous opponents.
“Chris Garry showed me what it's like to be in a war and have to push through. Davey has never been there, but I can promise you I'll be taking him to a place he's never been to before.”
Pennington doesn’t possess a great amount of knowledge about his opponent, and is leaving his strategy to coach, Brian Adams at Gym01.
“I don't really know anything about him,” admitted James. “My coach does though and has worked on a good game plan to suit him.
“Davey is a full time fighter, he's hungry, trains with some tough fighters and I'm his shot at getting noticed.
“He's won six fights in a row so deserves my respect, but that will stop when we get in the cage. I'm going to make a highlight reel of him.”
The 135-pounder has been putting maximum effort into his training ahead of this, and feels he’s improved since his last fight, a first round victory over Carl Hunt in April.
“My training has stepped up for this fight,” revealed Pennington. “I've been putting in two sessions a day, six days a week.
“This has been very tough, but come fight night it'll show in my performance. The Chris Garry fight showed a few holes I've worked hard to improve on, so hopefully come fight night it'll pay off.”
Five of James’ six victories have come by submission, but he’s insistent that this isn’t the only strong facet of his game. He asserted,
“I'm an all rounder. I'm happy to strike or grapple. When it hits the ground though, my opponents need to be calm because I'll find a weakness and exploit it. I love finishing fights and this next one will be no different.”
2012 has proven to be a busy year for the undefeated bantam, who is staying focussed on the task at hand, but is hoping to move up to continental level shortly after.
“My ambitions right now are to retain my Shock ‘n’ Awe belt and remain unbeaten; that is all. I'm fully focused on that and nothing else.
“I'll turn my attention to the European bantams afterwards, but they'd better be aware I'm coming for them.
“I'd love to fight one, possibly two more times this year. If it was in a very hot and possibly sandy location with Cage Warriors, then I'd just have to step up and take such a burden.”
To conclude the interview, Pennington had some final words he wished to add.
“I'd like to thank everyone at Gym01; without them I'd be nothing.
“Also a big thanks to my employers Dyson Insulations who support me and Intensiti Fight Management for everything they've done for me so far.
“P.S. Davey, when I'm in the UFC you can sit back with your mates and tell everyone you fought me (briefly). Don't get injured and I'll see you in a few weeks.”
More information on Shock ‘n’ Awe 11 can be found on the promotion’s official website.