This weekend sees the north-west play host to the best that Muay Thai has to offer as The Tanko Main Event takes place at Bolton USN Arena.
The event marks the seventh installment of the series as expectations and interest in Muay Thai locally and nationally continues to increase.
A number of Manchester-based fighters will again test their wits against the best in the sport, with numerous titles on the line.
The highlight of the day’s card will be the UK debut of world renowned superstar Fabio Pinca, who takes on homegrown golden boy Reece McAllister for the I.S.K.A World Welterweight Title.
McAllister is currently the man to beat at 67kg after recent stoppage wins over both Josh Turbill and Crice Boussoukou, but the youngster will have his work cut out against Pinca.
The Frenchman is widely acclaimed as the best ever non-Thai fighter in the division and has 120 fights under his belt over the years.
In the lightweight division, the return of double world champion Panicos Yusuf is set to be an entertaining one as he takes on Scotland’s Keith McLachlan.
Yusuf, unbeaten since 2010 and with only four defeats from 35 career fights, is technically second to none at this level and will hope his training in Singapore will pay dividends.
Last year’s UK fighter of the year McLachlan though is on a six fight winning streak and will be no pushover in a fight where no love will be lost between the two.
The pair have already clashed on social media prior to the contest and the fact that they are not the best of friends will hopefully result in a great fight.
In the 50kg division, all eyes will again be on Sale-born superstar Dakota Ditcheva as the youngster continues to demolish everything that crosses her path.
The unbeaten teenager has made huge waves over the past 18 months including winning the Trinity Mirror’s Young Sportsperson of The Year last year.
The highlight of her career so far came in November last year at The Road To The Tanko Main Event where came through a tough and grueling match with a unanimous points win.
Her opponent, Bolton’s Emma Bragg, has a mass of experience and sat at the top of the straw-weight division for two years.
After winning the European title last year she moves up to 50kg looking for new challenges, the first of which comes here.
The fight will decide the I.S.K.A British Championship.
Another all-Manchester duel that has really grabbed the attention is the Andrew Lofthouse v Myk Estlick in the lightweight division.
The two differing styles of the pair could bode well for an explosive few rounds as Lofthouse’s ‘knock them out or be knocked out’ attitude could mean fireworks.
Estlick on the other hand is now seen as a serious threat in the division and is improving with every performance.
His fighting ability and understanding of the sport have been swift as five wins in his last six fights has demonstrated.
Numerous other match-ups should mean that we are in for a great day of Muay Thai action in Bolton with the cream of the crop set to do battle.
The event takes place at Bolton USN Arena on Saturday May 14.