FORMER York City Knights player Ash Robson has revealed a change in his sporting career with the announcement of his kickboxing debut later this month.

Robson left York in the close-season by mutual consent after three seasons with the club, the latter of which he spent out injured after rupturing his ACL.

Having long been an admirer of combat sports, the opportunity to train in kickboxing quickly arose for the 24-year-old who has not looked back since.

After having a boxing bout on an unlicensed show in December, Robson is now preparing for his bow in kickboxing on a show in Newcastle on March 28.

"Thai boxing, and combat sports in general, was something that I always wanted to have a crack at some point in my life," Robson explained of his decision.

"I'd been to the odd boxing class here and there before, but there wasn't much consistency to it.

"Due to my previous commitments with rugby, I could never really give it a good go.

"Then, when I left York, it was a perfect opportunity for me to get into it really.

"In around November, I went down to a Thai boxing session because one of my business clients persuaded me to.

"I was nervous doing it for the first time and I just really enjoyed it straight away. I lost quite a lot of weight quite quickly too.

"Quite soon after that I asked the coach, 'Can I have a fight?' and he said, 'Yeah, of course you can.' Now I'm getting ready for my kickboxing debut."

Robson had been a professional first-team rugby league player since the age of 19 at Castleford Tigers before walking away from the sport late last year.

Moving into kickboxing, the simple process of learning a new discipline altogether is one that excites Robson.

"I learn best when I'm just put in there to do it myself," he added.

"Whether that's Kay (Szoma, coach) taking me to one side after a class for half an hour to show me a new skill to work on or whether that's being chucked into sparring where you've got to fend for yourself.

"I used to hate school, but now in the gym, I'm loving learning. When it's something that you can compete at, it's great and I look forward to getting into the gym for every session."

The full-back was one of the stars of York's 2018 League 1 winning side, scoring 18 tries that year. An ACL injury he suffered just weeks into the 2019 season meant he played just four more times for York.

"It was disappointing, absolutely," Robson said. "I do miss rugby, I miss it a lot.

"But I do absolutely love kickboxing. I love learning constantly, that's what's keeping me engaged.

"The injury was something that I was really conscious of and quite wary of, coming into a sport like this.

"I did my rehab and I was close to being able to play a full contact rugby game again.

"At York, I'd go home and nurse my knee every night whereas now it's absolutely fine."

After leaving York, Robson took up boxing initially as he joined York Boxing Club gym, where he stills trains.

He made his first appearance as a combat sports fighter in December on a unlicensed show at the Principal Hotel.

Despite having played in front of bigger crowds as a rugby league player than were in attendance that night, Robson's nerves were heightened.

"It was a strange experience," Robson recalled. "I've played in front of crowds of a few thousand as a rugby player before and that's like just another day in the office.

"But walking out there on your own essentially, the nerves are just absolutely mental!

"The fight was three two-minute rounds, so six minutes, whereas I've played 80 minute rugby games before. But, wow, it was tiring.

"I burnt a lot of energy probably too soon and I that's something that I'll know now going into my next fight.

"After having that fight, I've got so much respect for anybody that steps into that ring, regardless of the sport.

"I won the fight and I really enjoyed the experience, but I just felt that there was something missing.

"With the Thai boxing and K1, you can throw kicks. That's what I was missing, I think."

While there are no particularly long-term plans on the agenda yet for Robson, he already has dates set for his next two fights.

"I've got this fight on the 28th in Newcastle, then, just over a month after that, we're fighting on a show on May 9. Hopefully I can get two wins and take things from there.

"I'm competitive by my nature, so of course I want to win and I want to put on a show in both the fights.

"I'll see what Kay wants me to do from there, but at the minute it's just about continuing to train hard."

Asked what to expect on March 28, Robson replied: "I'm going there looking for a finish.

"We've been working on a few different combinations, so to go there and cause an upset by knocking my opponent out, that would be great."