Haydon Bridge-based Muay Thai boxer Joe Welch is only one fight away from a lucrative six figure pay-day following his latest bout at Bowlers Exhibition Centre in Manchester on February 24.

He was fighting in the first leg of two four-man tournaments for the chance to win a $100,000 contract with ONE championship - the world's largest martial arts organisation - in the 77kg weight division, above his normal weight of 72.5kg.

Welch's contest was part of a full evening of action organised by Hitman Fight League,  the new Premier Muay Thai Promotion focussing on bringing top tier Muay Thai to the UK.

Out of three possible opponents, Welch was drawn to fight Mateusz Sarwuta a formidable rival who used to hold the UK No.1 spot at 79kg.

In the fight itself, Welch's game plan worked well with lots of movement and angles as well as fast hard hand combinations. Early in the second round, Sarwuta was dropped with a left hand strike and got a count of eight from the referee before getting to his feet.

Welch kept up the pressure on and finished off Sarwuta with a barrage of elbows which ended up being five in a row all connecting on his temple, leaving his opponent rocked and hurt and in no state to continue.

Unfortunately for Welch, his second fight of the night didn't take place because the winner of the other contest broke his hand in the process. The decider has been rescheduled for Saturday April 13 at the O2 in London with the winner of that bout going forward to the second leg of the tournament in Alberta, Canada on November 23.