AN IT engineer is stepping away from the safety of his keyboard to enter the tough world of cage fighting in aid of charity.
Dominic Buckley, who is a senior systems engineer at Wrexham-based Rawson IT Services, has just embarked on a gruelling eight-week training programme to get him ready for his first ever bout on November 2.
The 26-year-old, who is a big fan of Ultimate Championship Fighting (UFC), has always wanted to have a go at the popular combat sport and has also seen an opportunity to raise money for a great cause at the same time.
Dominic, who lives in Coedpoeth, Wrexham, is competing in the Charity Cage Wars event at Brymbo Sports and Social Complex and as a former world class PC gamer, he has made SpecialEffect his chosen charity.
The UK-based charity uses video games and technology to enhance the quality of life of people with disabilities.
Dominic, who joined Rawson IT Services – a new division of Wrexham-based photocopier and printer supplier Rawson Digital – back in March, said: “I’ve always enjoyed watching UFC and have really got into it over the last two years.
“I’ve always wanted to give it a try but never knew where to start. Then I saw this charity event where they have eight weeks to prepare you.
“It ticked all the boxes because it was doing something for charity and also testing myself.
“PC gaming is one of my hobbies and I’d heard about this charity – Special Effect – that helps kids with disabilities to play so I wanted to support that.
“I know how games can take you away and help you forget about things so I think this is a great charity.”
He added: “I’ve done a couple of warm up training sessions so far and then the full eight week programme started on September 9.
“You find out who you’re up against after seven weeks because at this stage they don’t know what level we’re all at.
“They want a good fight, not a one sided one, and for us to put on a show. Usually fights are weight based but for events like this they’re not strict.”
Rawson IT Services is based next door to its sister company, Rawson Digital, which was set up by Vaughn Rawson at the height of the recession from his back bedroom at home. Six years later, it has a turnover approaching £2.5m and has close to 1,400 machines out on site to its wide variety of clients.
A second Rawson Digital office was opened in Felinheli, near Bangor, two years ago and in January, the firm unveiled a £50,000 refurbishment at its headquarters in The Bridge Business Centre on Wrexham Industrial Estate.
Rawson IT Services is the firm’s latest development and is being run by Managing Director Craig Davies.
Craig said of his colleague’s charity challenge: “Dom is a very calm and collected character so it is hard to imagine him as a cage fighter! But I do also know that he is a person who gives 100 per cent to a task and I think this will hold him in good stead for this charity challenge.
“We will all be getting behind him at Rawson IT Services and our sister company Rawson Digital. We are hoping to get a team together to go down and support him for the fight itself and we will all be rooting for him.”
Dominic, who is originally from Buckley, is training at Inspire Performance Centre (IPC) in Gwersyllt, Wrexham, run by professional MMA fighter Aaron Aby.
He said: “The two coaches who are training us are really nice and very patient, especially when I keep asking them to show me things again!
“There are a couple of us training and everyone is very respectful and welcoming. There are no egos, we’re all starting at the bottom.
“The training is hard. The first two sessions were OK as they were warming us up but on the third I was put up against someone who was experienced. I was left bruised and feeling it the next day!
“We’ve been learning take downs and positioning so far. With MMA it’s a mix of everything – karate, boxing ju jitzu. The focus in my gym is wrestling.
“It’s good because you can take the fight to the ground for instance if you’re losing standing up.”
Having been put through his paces in the warm up sessions you could forgive Dominic for having second thoughts about his charity challenge, particularly as his gruelling eight week training programme has only just begun, but that is not the case.
He said: “I’ll be honest when I’ve watched it I was always impressed by the fighters but having done it I know just how much hard work they do.
“I respect it a whole lot more now and how they keep going round after round. It’s much harder than it looks, but I’ve got no regrets.
“I can’t wait to do it. It’s hurting but it’ll be worth it and it’ll be something I’ll continue after. I used to be a gym goer but it’s been a good two years since I’ve been into a gym or anything like that.
“I’m working on getting my fitness up but I don’t feel committed to using machines. Doing something like this get my interest. It’s something I can carry on as a hobby – that’s the plan.”
To sponsor Dominic, go to https://justgiving.com/fundraising/dbccw