Tallaght's Mark Casserly has long been known as one of Ireland's top competitors. He has a long and storied journey from his early Taekwondo days to K-1 and Muay Thai. His fight resume includes the likes of Raymond Daniels to that devastating KO win over UFC veteran Marcus Davis.
His past two fights, one against the legend John Wayne Parr, were in new waters of sort for Casserly. They were under the Caged Thai rules where Muay Thai fights are contested in much smaller MMA-like gloves.
Although the results did not go his way, Casserly said he has learned a lot from these experiences.
"My last two fights have been in the cage with the smaller gloves and it is a different sport and art entirely," Casserly stated. "However, I am always up for a new challenge and happy I tried it. Going in against John Wayne Parr and another very experienced French fighter was always going to be tough but it was great and I learned a lot."
Top Irish promotion Cage Kings recently announced a return show and over the weekend they announced that Casserly would return on their February 18th show in Cork and he is looking forward to getting back in there again after months of focusing on on his new gym.
"I haven't fought in around 8 months due to opening up my own gym. This is my full time job now so a day at the office now means cleaning, emails,and buying air-fresheners for toilets," laughed Casserly.
"The gym changing location comes with a lot of stresses and asking for favors. The skill set to run a successful club and compete at a high level are very different. However, just like fighting, I look forward to growing my club and my team.
"But I cant wait to get back into the ring, or the cage in this case, this February. Although it will be in the cage my next match will be with boxing gloves and 3 x 3 minute rounds. I'm excited. These rounds designed to get the fighters to engage earlier and more frequently."
Talking about the future, Casserly is just enjoying the ride and is hopeful it will last just long enough so he can another title or two to the trophy wall.
"How many fights have I got ? When my body can't handle the pressures of a training camp I think that is the first sign. As it stands I've no injuries and my fitness very good pre-camp. In saying that a fighter knows his next match could be his last.
"I do hope there is still a title or two left in me, but for now I'll live in the moment and enjoy training, laughing with my teammates and challenging myself to become better each day."
Casserly's opponent for Cage Kings will be announced very soon. Make sure to check out his gym 'Champion Martial Arts and Fitness' on Facebook and head down if you are interested in training in Muay Thai, Kickboxing or just general fitness. The gym is open to beginners and pros, people of all ages, fitness levels and offers a friendly environment.