AN ascent into the professional kick-boxing arena has been given the solid platform of sponsorship from one of York’s leading firms.

Hunters the Estate Agent have agreed to back recently-crowned English champion Stu Phillips as he beefs up his progress in the pro ranks.

In recognition of the valued sponsorship by the Colliergate-based company, Phillips’ trainer Tony Dias, a multi world kick-boxing title-holder, has confirmed the champion will fight under the name Stu “The Hunter” Phillips.

His ring debut under his new fight name will be at Dias’ first solo show – T-Bone Promotions – which will be held at York’s Energise centre on Saturday, March 29 when he will take on an ex-British champion.

Said Dias, who trains Phillips at his United Martial Arts College: “Hunters sponsored Stu last year in his successful bid for an amateur world title.

“Now he has entered the world of professional kick-boxing it’s great that someone of the stature of Hunters is backing home-grown talent.

“Stu is definitely one to watch. He’s had a good amateur career with a couple of world titles. Now we are taking strides in the professional circuit.

“This sponsorship is a big boost for Stu, who is definitely one to watch, and also for the sport in York.”

Kevin Hollinrake, managing director of Hunters, said: “Stu’s a bit of an unsung hero and it’s amazing to think we have people of such talent in our midst, while Tony does a lot in developing the talent of youngsters in the area. I’ve always had great times myself being involved in local sport so it’s good to be able to put something back into it to help showcase sport.”

Dias’ new show under the T-Bone Promotions standard will concentrate on showcasing local talent, insisted the promoter.

He said that fighters from his own UMAC gym would be on the card, plus members of Long’s Blackbelt Academy in York and also Legions Thai-Boxing gym in Fifth Avenue.

“There will be three title fights at the least and one will feature Mark Long, the brother of Craig who started the Long’s Blackbelt Academy,” said Dias.

“Craig is also on the bill so we will have both brothers taking part. It’s going to be all about local talent.”

The March 29 show at Energise in Acomb will open its doors at 5pm with the action due to start at 6pm.

Tickets are available by phoning Dias on 07956 612667.