If you’re not familiar with Cage Warriors’ 135lbs champion Jack Cartwright, it may be time to change that. Cartwright enters his title defense Friday against Gerardo Fanny with an 8-0 record including seven finishes. Although he relied on submissions early in his professional run, most recently he’s been letting the leather fly. Last September he participated in Cage Warriors’ one-night tournament and picked up two KO wins in less than a round combined.
According to Cartwright, this shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone — not with how long that power has lived in his hands.
“Since I was like 14 years old I’ve been knocking out fully grown men,” Cartwright stated confidently.
And while some fighters say this as a hyperbole, Cartwright actually means it. Just barely old enough to start secondary school, and well into a career in wrestling, Cartwright stopped by a local spot to see if his other love might appeal to him.
“Well, I’ve always been a massive boxing fan, so I started going down to the local boxing gym when I’d already been wrestling at a high level for five years,” he recalled. “Literally I started hitting people and they started falling.”
He remembers the day that it started well. He had just gone in to smack some pads and a heavy bag for a bit when his coach decided to give it more of an authentic go.
“I think I had been in the boxing gym for a couple weeks, if that, and some of the better lads in the gym had previously boxed,” he said. “They were in the other room sparring and my coach at the time saw that I was a fit kid and was like ‘do you want to jump in and give it a go? See if you like it?”
So despite having a long career as a wrestler and being very good at it, Cartwright fell in love with boxing. With skills in both areas, and a love for MMA cultivated by the first season of the Ultimate Fighter and a love of Chuck Liddell, it was a natural transition to him. However, the newer of the two loves wound up being the one he fell back on when he enters the cage.
“I jumped in and just ‘bang’ hit one person and he fell over and then the other one would jump in and I’d hit him and it just kept on happening. So like I said, it’s addictive really,” he said. “It’s easy to fall in love with something that you’re good at. I started hitting people and I really enjoyed it, and the rest is history.”
Cartwright will see if he can keep the heads rolling as the main event of Friday’s Cage Warriors 115, which can be seen on UFC Fight Pass.