Maryport bare-knuckle boxer Bartek Kanabey is setting his sights on more BKFC success after his latest victory.

The west Cumbria based fighter enjoyed a winning outing in Milton Keynes on Saturday when he defeated experienced Uzbek boxer Bakhtyor Kudratov.

It was only Kanabey’s second fight on the big BKFC stage and even bigger things could now be in store for the man nicknamed ‘the Polish Plough’.

He won by technical knockout in the first round at BKFC 60 Milton Keynes in an event which was televised live on Viaplay.

Kanabey, says his coach Dave Straughton, is already inspiring others with his progress and talks are under way about his next opportunities in BKFC.

“You would have liked to have seen the fight pan out a bit more – it lasted only about 55 seconds – and his opponent looked dangerous early on. But we were never flustered,” said Straughton, from Just Grind MMA in Worknigton.

“There was no point in the corner where we felt panicked.

“Sometimes Bartek’s a slightly slow starter – he generally likes to have a move and a look. He was just starting to get a few things off and he did back the lad up a little bit.

News and Star: Kanabey defeated Kudratov by TKO in the first roundKanabey defeated Kudratov by TKO in the first round (Image: BKFC)

“His opponent came out quickly and he was such an experienced lad, with 200+ fights.

“You can’t just go in willy nilly and whack people in the head – if you do that you can hurt yourself more than the opponent. Bare-knuckle is very different to boxing – it’s not the same sport.

“It had a slightly unsatisfactory end but you can’t knock a victory in the BKFC. It’s where we want to be doing all our fighting. He went in at short notice, went up in weight to do it, and a win’s a win.”

Kudratov suffered an arm injury as Kanabey fought back in the first round of the lightweight contest, and the fight was soon declared over.

It meant victory for the 26-year-old who had recently won his second title in the west Cumbrian WBKB bare-knuckle event.

“We’re talking to the people in charge of the BKFC, like Andy Bakewell, the UK president, and are looking to be going back,” said Straughton.

“They obviously like Bartek. We’re on the path to where we want to be. And the further you go in this, the more you can start thinking about making a change to your life.”

Kanabey moved to Cumbria from Poland in his teens and has made rapid progress in the raw fighting sport.

“It’s a dream come true for him,” added coach Straughton. “This time last year we hadn’t even thought about bare-knuckle, but since last August he’s gone 4 and 0, he’s had two fights in BKFC, won two titles in WBKB, and he’s got three first-round wins as well as winning one five-round war.

“Everybody’s over the moon. A couple of lads came down to help in the corner. It’s a super long way down to Milton Keynes from west Cumbria – me and Bartek went down on the train on Thursday, and one of the lads drove down and drove back Saturday night just so he could fetch us back. We got back at 5am Sunday morning.

“That’s where the lads in our gym excel – they’ll do anything for each other.”

Straughton says Kanabey was cheered on by his peers at the Workington gym where he trains.

“It’s absolutely brilliant and it’s definitely motivated the young lads in our gym,” he added.

“That’s important to Bartek as well. He wants to inspire people, show that lads from round here can do it.

“That’s what I’ve always wanted to do – to prove a lad from round here can be world champion. I think for some reason people think that we can’t. We’re going to prove them all wrong.”

Kanabey walked to the ring on Saturday draped in a half-Poland, half-Cumberland flag.

He describes himself as a ‘Polish Cumbrian’ and Straughton added: “His social media following is growing, and he’s getting noticed on these shows.

“The other week when he won at Whitehaven, Danny Christie [Carlisle’s BKFC UK light-heavyweight champion] refereed his fight - and he said he’s chuffed to bits for him because he’s such a nice, humble kid.

“It’s important to us in the gym that that’s what our lads are like. He’s a brilliant role model.”