Jordan Watson vs Ben Hodge headlined Yokkao 20 on October 8, at the Bolton Macron Stadium, UK. Watson would be victorious by unanimous decision but the build-up to this huge domestic clash was not without controversy.
This bout was supposed to be a title defence for Watson and his 70kg Yokkao world championship but on the day of the weigh-ins, Hodge was 0.3kg overweight when a two hour extension had passed prompting the Yokkao officials to decide that it would no longer be a title fight. This decision had left Hodge fuming in the stadium’s hotel sauna when he was informed by his coach, John Jarvis.
Although Hodge would remain diplomatic outside of the ring come fight day. Once in the ring with Watson in-front of him, the two would not only throw each other out of the ring but also exchange plenty of verbals with one another too. This fight already had a ‘North vs South’ sporting rivalry in the mix and the overnight weigh-in drama lit a very combustable fuse for the fight to explode.
In the joint post-fight interview (below) Hodge conceded that his emotions did get the better of him when fighting Watson. Considering the gruelling weight cut (Hodge had dropped to a lower weight class than usual) compounded with being denied a title shot the night before, its no real surprise that any fighter’s mindset wouldn’t be effected.
Both fighters made peace and shook hands afterwards in the changing rooms with, Anoop Hothi interviewing them both together about tensions boiling over in the ring and their tactical approaches in outwitting one another. Hodge also gave his opinion on how he feels Watson would do against the defensive Thai boxing genius, Giorgio Petrosyan, on the upcoming Bellator Kickboxing show on, December 10 in Italy.