York fighter Rich Cadden returning to the ring one more time

·3-min read
Rich Cadden (right) will take on Diego Colzolari in Birmingham.
Rich Cadden (right) will take on Diego Colzolari in Birmingham.

KICKBOXING legend Rich Cadden is returning to the ring for one final fight.

Cadden has fought 65 times, winning 42 of his battles. A multi-world champion, Cadden is having one last fight against Diego Calzolari.

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The clash is taking place in Birmingham and will be happening on Saturday.

“There was a number of reasons (for coming back), really. You never really lose that itch,” noted Cadden.

“I was pacifying myself with coaching, cornering, stuff like that, so that was one of the things. I was looking around and thinking, ‘I can still do it’, still having that confidence and belief in myself.

“The opportunity just came up and the guy at the top of the list was Diego Calzolari. It’s an age appropriate fight, I’m 45, he’s 44. He’s had over 40 fights and he’s a three-time world champion.

“He’s fought at a really high level against some really big names. The promoter asked me straight out, ‘can I tempt you out of retirement?’

“With COVID and lockdown, there’s a few guys in their 30s that were using age as an excuse. You can’t do that, it comes for all of us.

“If you have that fire inside of you, age is just a number. If you want to throw down, then that fire never actually goes out.”

Cadden has won the ISAK British Champion at 62kg, IKF European Champion at 64kg, WPMF World Championship belt at 67kg in his storied career.

It has been over 10 years since Cadden last fought and he has since moved into training and coaching, being based in York.

“It has been a real journey,” he reflected.

“It’s been 10 years since I’ve been punched in the face properly, getting back in and sparring with some of the best guys in the world, working with my strength conditioning guys.

“Knowing that my body will still respond to these different stimuli. It hasn’t been plain sailing, there’s been some really hard sessions where I’ve questioned myself.

“Riding the highs and lows, that’s a fight camp. I had that all the way through my 20s and 30s. To lean into that excuse is dropping into the very mentality that I’m trying to compete against.

“I understand the insecurity, the self-preservation, wanting to take it easy on yourself, but if you want to do it, you’re going to.

“Getting in there and sparring with guys who are ranked number seven or number eight, it’s been a big test. Weight loss is hard.

“Using the conduit of martial arts and competition really ramps it up and then the weight loss is merely a by-product of your enjoyment, rather than a burden, and that’s what I’ve been enjoying going through this.

“Some people might call me a bit crazy for wanting to get in the ring at 45, but that’s their insecurity, not mine.”

Cadden’s upcoming opponent, Diego Calzolari, is no stranger to success as a fighter.

The Italian has won numerous titles and accolades throughout an illustrious career.

“He’s a strong guy, a dangerous fighter,” said Cadden.

“He’s been in with some massive names, some absolute legends of the sport, like Namsaknoi Yudthagarngamtorn and Lamnammoon Sor Sumalee.

“The names on his resume are absolute legends. I was pretty shocked when I saw his resume, but when I’ve done some digging.

“He’s wild and likes to make it a war, but as a competitor, as a fighter, I can see the chinks in his armour, I can see where my style is going to shine through.

“ I’ve got a good strategy aligned and I’m ready to go to work and put on a fantastic display for everyone coming to watch.”

“I’m buzzing, I can’t wait to get back in there after laying dormant for so long.”