By Lewis Budden  |  26 October 2019

Manchester, pioneers of the women’s right to vote, industrial pioneering and more recently, home to a new generation of MMA champions. But who are the people behind the champions? Where were they made into the global megastars of today? And how can you train like the champions of tomorrow?

Luckily for you, we have collated some of the best Best Martial Arts dojos in Manchester and the people behind them.

Hatton Boxing

Ricky Hatton Boxing School | Fighting Arts Health LabRicky Hatton Boxing School | Fighting Arts Health Lab


Perhaps the biggest sporting export to come out of Manchester, Ricky ‘the hitman’ Hatton is one of the UK’s most successful British boxers of all time. A former British light-welterweight champion, with a 44 – 3 record and former ranking of eleventh best worldwide. Hatton was also named Fighter of the Year by The Ring magazine, the Boxing Writers Association of America, and ESPN in 2005.

Raised in Hyde where he trained and still resides, Hatton operates his own brand of Gyms around the region that offer boxing training courses in fundamental, advanced and elite stages. Most courses run for 2 days and allow you to be trained by elite instructors and sometime Hatton himself in order to develop or begin your Boxing training. Learn more about Hatton Boxing at

Black Knights Kickboxing

Black Nights MMA | Fighting Arts Health LabBlack Nights MMA | Fighting Arts Health Lab

Source: Black Knights Facebook

From the grim northwest to the octagon of UFC, Michael Bisping became a household name in MMA. It all began under Allan Clarkin of Black Knights Kickboxing, who started Bisping’s training in boxing, kickboxing and Karate.

Following his meteoric rise through the ranks to win the North West kickboxing championship and the Pro British light heavyweight kickboxing title. Bisping’s career as a pro is one for the history books with a 30 – 9 MMA record.

Based in Burnley, Black Knights Kickboxing offers an equipped gym, over 35 years coaching and Sambo classes to build you into the next Michael Bisping. Learn more about Black Knights Kickboxing at

Dento Kai

Dento Kai Karate Logo | Fighting Arts Health LabDento Kai Karate Logo | Fighting Arts Health Lab

Source: Black Knights Facebook

Established in 1985 and situated in the Tameside, Stockport, Denton, and Glossop areas of Greater Manchester Dento-Kai offers Karate training.

Chief instructor and 7th Dan black belt in Karate, Sensei Lee Coffey was trained by the prominent Japanese master Shigeru Kimura.

Sensei Coffey has enjoyed a long tournament career and has crafted his knowledge into a curriculum of Karate that maintains a real community vibe across the Dojos; focusing on confidence and self-esteem.

With over 30 years’ experience, Dento Kia offers a wealth of experience in order to provide a safe knowledgeable hub to learn the exciting art of karate. Learn more about Dento-Kai at

Manchester Predators

Machester Predators Facebook Logo | Fighting Arts Health LabMachester Predators Facebook Logo | Fighting Arts Health Lab

Source: Manchester Predators Facebook Page

Gavin Boardman opened the gym in 2006 with the philosophy to make constant small improvements, develop solid fundamentals, then encourage students to add their own personality.

One student took him up on that. Brendan Loughnane is the professional featherweight MMA fighter with an undefeated record of 18-3-0 (Win-Loss-Draw). Predators offer training in MMA and BJJ where you can train amongst Broadman and the rest of the gyms roster of undefeated fighters. Learn more about the Machester Predators at

Team Kaobon

Team Kaobon Logo | Fighting Arts Health LabTeam Kaobon Logo | Fighting Arts Health Lab

Another member of the UFC roster and 21-year-old bantamweight Pietro Menga began training at the age of six in in Thai boxing and wrestling since he was 14 before switching to Mixed Martial Arts at just 17.

The gym credited as the home of the young fighter is Team Kaobon gym in Liverpool, which offers an array of classes focusing on Muay Tai, Japanese jujitsu, BJJ, wrestling, boxing and more to condition you for the big time.

Menga recently defeated the Brazilian Jujitsu Brown Belt, Walter Caydas, in his latest fight with a simple jujitsu move he picked up when training at the gym so you can rest assured, you’re in safe… well, dangerous hands. Learn more about Team Koabon at

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About the author 

Lewis is a culture writer based in the north of England where he reports on the strange and wonderful stories of MMA across Northern Europe. He has been training in Shukokai Karate for 12 years and is a black belt in that discipline. He has a passion for MMA in all of its forms.

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