On Saturday 27th April 2019, Jack Shore returns to The Viola Arena in Cardiff, Wales to defend his newly won bantamweight title for the first time. He faces off against Scott Malone in a fight with national pride on the line as the top two bantamweights in Cage Warriors clash to see which country can claim bragging rights. Shore (10-0) looks to defend Wales against the invading Malone (6-1), who is riding a six fight winning streak and will be hoping to become the second Scottish fighter on the roster to claim a Cage Warriors title. It is a mouth-watering main event that promises fast-paced action on a night that is being billed as ‘the biggest night of MMA in Welsh history.’
Jack Shore won the title back in December at the landmark Cage Warriors 100 show as he defeated the previously unbeaten Mike Ekundayo by third round TKO in a fight that he totally dominated. This was Shore’s biggest coming out party yet and the promotion have been able to move to a bigger arena pretty much solely due to the Welshman’s popularity in the region. He is a major part of Cage Warrior’s growth in the market and it is essential that he continues to be successful for the company to grow even further in the country. Shore relishes this role which he has in the promotion and believes that it spurs him on to achieve even greater things.
“It feels great to be the star guy in Wales to be honest,” said Shore. “I’ve been fighting on the Welsh Cage Warriors cards since 2016 and have worked my way up from the bottom of the card and never dodged a fight, so I feel I’ve earned the right to be in this position. It doesn’t add any pressure for me as I feel like the higher the stakes, the better I perform.”
On the same card that Shore won the title, his fellow countryman, Josh Reed, fell at the hands of Scott Malone via an armbar in the very first round which displayed the Scotsman’s grappling dominance and improved his finishing rate to 83%. This led to many fans clamoring to see the two face off for all the marbles. In October 2018, Malone out-struck the talented Adam Amarasinghe to earn a TKO stoppage so his last two outings have shown how well rounded and aggressive the challenger is. After they both won at Cage Warriors 100, Shore was asked if he considered Malone to be a worthy challenger and he told reporters that he welcomed all challenges and would fight whoever was put in front of him.
“I expect Scott to come out prepared and aggressive like he always does,” explained Shore. “He always looks to finish the fight and so do I so it’s got all the makings of a great contest. However, I see myself winning in every area! My only prediction is that I will get the win and the finish. I don’t care if it takes 1 round, 3 rounds or 5 rounds. The title will stay in Wales.”
Cage Warriors have had some huge cards that have gained international attention over the past 2 years or so and after April 27th, their next milestone show takes place from the legendary Hammersmith Apollo on June 29th where many of the promotion’s champions will feature. Six title fights are scheduled for the card and five of those weight classes have already been set. Fans have speculated which weight division will be the last to showcase a title fight between two of the top contenders. Could Sam Creasey battle for the flyweight title? Will Tom Aspinall get the chance to continue his hype train by competing for the heavyweight title? However, the best in the bantamweight division will not feature on that card.
“Unfortunately I’m not available for the June show,” stated Shore. “I’m due to go on holiday with my girlfriend around then and only get back a week before the show so that one’s ruled out. I believe Cage Warriors are coming to Wales again at the end of the year so I’ll be eyeing up that card.”
With a victory at Cage Warriors 104, the 24 year old will extend his winning, unbeaten streak to 11 and could well improve on his 90% finishing rate in the process if his prediction comes to fruition. Other competitors have been called up to the UFC with much less impressive records so the Welshman could well be looking at signing a contract with the biggest MMA promotion in the world if he gets his hand raised in front of his hometown crowd. Shore agrees with this assessment but isn’t allowing himself to get carried away just yet.
“I think if I get an impressive finish in this fight then I won’t be far away from that call up,” Shore said. “But right now, my only focus is getting that win and going from there. If it comes after this fight then great, but if it doesn’t then I’ll keep working away and doing what I’m doing.”
Jack’s father, Richard Shore, is always in the corner of his son come fight night and plays an essential part in every camp. Many may think that it would be hard to separate the role of father and coach but Jack has no such problems and believes things wouldn’t be the same if his father wasn’t there.
“My father has a massive influence on my career. He always has and he always will,” explained the Welshman. “That’s the same for all of my coaches. I don’t find it hard to separate my father’s role as close family member/coach at all. When we are in the gym or if it’s fight night it’s coach and fighter, not father and son. I think he finds it’s a little bit more difficult than I do on fight night because obviously it’s got to be tough to watch your son go and have a fight, let alone be two feet away from the action and have the pressure of head coach so in a way I don’t envy him. I’m sure if I had a son I’d find it very hard. That’s why he’s one of the best coaches in the world. I would never fight if he wasn’t able to corner me – it wouldn’t feel right. Also, big credit goes to my other coaches Carl Parker, Gary Lockett and Greg Callow who help my dad deal with the nerves and pressure of fight night too by sharing the responsibilities.”
One thing is for sure. When Jack Shore emerges from the entrance way closely followed by his father come fight night, the fans in the stands will be going crazy chanting ‘Jack Shore’s on fire’ to cheer their man on. If he can dominate Malone as he has done all of his previous opponents in recent memory, the sky really is the limit for the Welshman who has grabbed huge Welsh mainstream media attention in the lead up to this fight. The sport could well begin reaching heights that have never been seen before in the nation.
Cage Warriors 104 can be streamed live on UFC Fight Pass and tickets can still be purchased for the event here.
Photo courtesy of Dolly Clew