Combat Vision MMA were able to speak to head coach and owner of Roker Rough House MMA Anth Hopper. Anth is also the owner of Generations of Combat. The promotion are holding an event of K1, MMA and Boxing on Saturday May 6th at The Point, Sunderland.
You also run the Generations of Combat promotion – how did this event come about?
“I started my own event after working with Tom Blackledge, Carl Prince and Aaron wilkinson. I was involved with the ICE FC shows in the North East where I gained lots of experience working with them. My first event was in a social club in southwick Sunderland with Josh Abraham and it was awesome”
Could you tell us about your the fighters in your current stable?
“Roker Rough House MMA have seven pro fighters at the gym. Three heavyweights, two lightweights and two middleweights. Rocky Holmes has been around for years and joined us two years ago. Rocky’s record with Roker Rough House is 4-1, he is as mad as they come and will fight anyone. Rocky loves a good war and doesn't take a backward step, people love watching him fight. Ricki King is also 4-1, one of the toughest lads I have ever trained with. Supernatural strength and hard as nails. Josh Abraham is 19 years old, record 5-1, Josh is a very talented young lad. Jason Bailey is due to make his debut, very good wrestler. Michael Suddick who's is also due to make his debut and big John Marshall. John is 6ft 7 and 160kg, the man is a huge and his record is 2-1”
“All the lads had very successful amateur careers before turning pro. Roker have around 15 amateur fighters as well, some to watch out for are; Matty King he has just turned 16 years old and is a tough lad, training and doing all his hard rounds with the pro fighters. Matty has a nearly perfect record, with only one loss in MMA. Matty recently won the UAR B class British title with a second round submission, I think Matty will go far in the sport. Other fighters to watch out for are; Ethan, Stephen, Reece, Brandon, James, Charlie and Andrei”
“Roker also have a very high level boxer with over a hundred bouts, his name is Lewy Sheriff. It hard to find Lewy fights, he has fought and beat the best around, winning 3 British titles last year from different 3 events. We also have a lot of lads working towards fighting this year. Paulo Boer from Holland, he is a professional lightweight with a record of 10-3. Paulo has fought the likes of Saul Rogers and Alex Enlund who was on the Ultimate Fighter. Paulo is also the Dutch champion and has his own club back in Holland”
Is there a fighter or fighters that Combat Vision MMA should keep an eye out for in 2017?
“Josh Abraham is one to watch out for in 2017. Josh has a 5-1 record at the age of 19, he is making his mark in the professional game and has upped his game in the last few months. Looking at the amateur side of I would say Matty King. Matty has got a good head on him and he is training with the best pros in the gym and getting stuck in with the hard rounds. All the other fighters that are active from the gym, should be on the watch list”
Roker Rough House MMA are affiliated with a major BBJ club too. Could you tell our readers about this development?
“Roker are affiliated with Redcar BJJ – lagarto. We have been with them since November 2016 and hand on heart it is one of the best things that could have happened to our club”
The affiliation helped us so much and upped our game a lot. Shaun Matthews & Paul Whyman are the coaches; Shaun is a 1st degree black belt and Paul is a black belt. Both lads are very humble and very helpful, they have made a massive impact in our club and our lives. With their help, Roker will go to the top. I have never met such high level coaching until we went there, ego free. There is also “big” Tony, he is a brown belt, this man is awesome, he's been a massive help to me personally and mentally. Tony has taught me some very good stuff, if I was to say it was painless, I would be lying, he knows what i'm talking about!”
Also Grant Short, he's just been promoted to brown belt, he's a tough guy and a killer on the mats. But, such a nice guy, he's helped us massively too, as well as training for his own fights. Grant is always willing to lend a helping hand when he's not sweeping me. The man who made this all happen is Dave “mooch” Moore and if i am honest, without sounding cheesy, he's been a saviour to us at Roker Rough House and to me personally. Dave set everything up off his own back, to better my club, there's not many people like him. Like my dad says “a real loyal man and never wants anything in return” myself and Dave have become very close friends”
“All the lads at Redcar BJJ are awesome, there are no clicks and nobody is pushed away or made feel unwanted”
Getting to know Shaun Matthews:
“I started out training in Karate and then onto Thai boxing for a few years before I got into BJJ. In 2002, I did my first class in Cannock at Jon Roberts Gym and was hooked from that day. I moved up to Teesside 6 months later and there were no clubs training BJJ. I used to travel down to Doncaster, Sheffield and anywhere advertising classes. In 2003, I found a club had started in Stockton under Chris Crossan, so I joined there and became student of Lagarto later (with Chris). In 2004, I received my Blue belt from Roger Gracie and Mauricio Gomez who visited Stockton. 2005, I opened Redcar BJJ, since then, we have had 3 or 4 venues before moving into a full time gym at Millbank Terrace”
Shaun Matthew’s achievements:
1st black belt in Teesside.
3 time British open winner.
1 purple belt and 2 at black belt.
Redcar BJJ is also a member of the UKBJJA
What does the future hold for your gym and the fighters?
“Hopefully the future is going to be good. I always try to make our club better, my dream would be to get the lads to the UFC. But, I suppose that is what every fighter and coaches dreams of. If we work hard, then why not? Our team is getting bigger and stronger all the time. It is exciting to get some of the new lads in the cage and get them started on their journey. Having young fighters is important.
Do Roker Rough House MMA have any sponsors?
Our main sponsor is Hard Life fightwear (managed by Craig). They look after us from rash guards, Ju Jitsu gi gym wear, you name it and they supply it. Their clothing is top quality too, there is a lot of high level athletes that wear Hard Life fightwear and I would recommend it to anyone. Please check them out by connecting to their facebook HERE
There is also 5 star taxis. This firm always takes our fighters and fans to events. Picking the fighters up free of charge, to help the lads who don't have their own transportation to get them to training for their fights.
Also massive thanks to all the other sponsors:
La belle amie boutique
Hairs & graces
Hand car wash pro
The head hut
Luck eye Istanbul
E king property's
ASL transport & recovery
The point events arena