With the PFL set to make its first trip to Cardiff on August 13th, now is a great opportunity to take a look back at some of the biggest nights in combat sports to have gone down in the city.
The Professional Fighters League will be bringing its fighters to the UK for the first time in two weeks. One event will take place at the Copper Box Arena in London. A week before at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff.
The Welsh capital has hosted some of combat sports’ most electrifying nights in recent history. Let’s take a look at a few from the past.
Lennox Lewis v Frank Bruno, 1/10/93
On what was a rainy night in Cardiff, Lennox Lewis and Frank Bruno went toe-to-toe as they fought for the WBC heavyweight title in front of 20,000 fans at the Arms Park.
This was Bruno’s third shot at heavyweight gold after defeats to Tim Witherspoon and Mike Tyson. However, the result remained the same after being finished in a one-sided contest with Lennox.
After the two’s clash in Cardiff, Bruno eventually went on to become a champion at his fourth attempt. Lewis became a three-time world champion and is still the last champion to hold the title of undisputed champ.
Joe Calzaghe v Mikkel Kessler, 4/11/2007
Arguably the UK’s greatest ever boxer, Joe Calzaghe, who had been champion for a decade at this point, was searching for an opponent that would captivate fans on both sides of the Atlantic.
Taking to the famous Millennium Stadium, Calzaghe beat American reality TV star Peter Manfredo Jr. in a total mismatch. It was this fight that set up a clash with Mikkel Kessler.
After being seen as boxing’s hidden star, he finally received the spotlight that he deserved.
With over 50,000 fans in attendance, his father, Enzo, in his corner and a nation behind him, the Welshman produced a masterful performance. Winning via unanimous decision against the Dane, Kessler in his final fight at super middleweight.
Anthony Joshua v Joseph Parker, 31/03/2018
Selling out big stadiums has never really been a problem for AJ, and that was the case in 2018 at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium.
Following his hard-earned stoppage win over Carlos Takam in 2017, the then-undefeated Joshua was moving closer to a unification fight with New Zealand’s Joseph Parker. The Kiwi putting his WBO heavyweight title up against Joshua’s WBA, IBF and IBO titles.
A full-capacity crowd of 78,000 people watched as AJ fought to a decision victory for the first time in his career. A clean sweep of decisions from the judges meant the Englishman picked up the UD and became the unified champ.
Cage Warriors 97, 29/09/2018
Moving over to MMA now as we look back at Cage Warriors 97, which took place at Cardiff’s Ice Arena in 2018.
The card featured both a pro card and an amateur one and saw UFC bantamweight Jack Shore’s headline. Fellow UFC stars Mason Jones and Cory McKenna was also featured.
Both Shore and Jones picked up first-round TKO victories in front of a roaring Cardiff crowd. “Tank’s” victory set up a shot at Cage Warriors gold just a few months later.
Cage Warriors 100, 8/12/2018
Just a few months later, Jack Shore won the vacant bantamweight title at Cage Warriors 100. Taking place at the Viola Arena, Cage Warriors returned to Cardiff with another card split between pros and amateurs.
The amateur card included Cage Warrior’s contenders Oban Elliot and Nathan Fletcher. As well as current middleweight champion Christian Leroy Duncan. All of which came away with submission victories.
The pro card featured several more big names, including Rhys McKee, Nicholas Dalby and Jai Herbert. However, the big draw was Shore’s shot at gold.
“Tank” won the vacant title after securing the third-round two victory over Mike Ekundayo. One title defence later, he was a UFC athlete.
PFL Cardiff, 13/08/2022
In just over two weeks, British fans can witness the PFL’s UK debut as they head to the Motorpoint Arena. The card will showcase the heavyweights and the welterweights.
This could be a historic night for Welsh MMA and combat sports. A successful night in Cardiff could lead to other promotions making the trip to Wales further down the line.
Stay tuned for more PFL news over the next couple of weeks. Get your tickets here.
Featured image credits to Embed from Getty Images