Caged Steel is back with a bang on April 10th, allowing athletes to compete amongst the madness of the pandemic. The fight card on the night will consist of twenty bouts, featuring promising amateur title fights, an electric preliminary card, and a thrilling main card. Taking the main event slot is Scotland’s Scott Malone and England’s Elliot Hoye.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Tom “The Viking” Crosby as he prepares to make his return to action after a long lay-off, against a 108-fight veteran in Shaun Lomas.
Due to current restrictions in the United Kingdom, Caged Steel 25 will be a behind-closed-door event, however, you can watch this extraordinary card live on pay-per-view.
Tom Crosby (6-1) makes his triumphant return to the octagon on April 10th. The Viking comes into the bout full of confidence and a two-fight win streak behind him. Tom Crosby has previously competed on Caged Steel twice before, and the 33-year old will be hopeful his upcoming bout will be as perfect as his last outing.
Tom Crosby tasted defeat for the first time in his professional career in 2019 at Caged Steel FC 23 when finished by Madars Fleminas. Just two months later The Viking showcased his true Viking spirit by picking up a rear-naked choke victory over Ashley Gibson. Following the victory, Tom Crosby went straight back to work and picked up one more terrific win before the year closed, taking out Jamie Powers in round-one at Caged Steel FC 24.
Tom Crosby is an individual with a killer instinct and will to finish fights, but will the lack of inactivity over the last year affect his performance?
Standing across the cage from Tom Crosby on April 10th is 108-fight veteran Shaun Lomas. Lomas is the true meaning of “Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime” and his (28-82) record is a reflection of that. Lomas has failed to pick up a win since early 2019 and currently rides a five-fight losing streak, but don’t count this man out, as he’s strong, durable, and as game as they come.
It’s been a while since you last competed dating back to 2019 with a first-round victory over Jamie Power at Caged Steel 24. How has life been for you over the last year, have you been consistently training and keeping yourself in shape or have you taken some time off?
Tom Crosby – “Yes I have been constantly training and ticking over. I made a home gym in my home cellar during the first lockdown and I keep upgrading it when I can. It’s good as I get to train with my wife and kids.”
You’re no stranger to Caged Steel, how happy were you to get the call and was it something you were expecting? I can imagine there were hundreds of fighters who have been inactive looking for a slot on the card and I bet you can’t wait to get in there and make up for the year you’ve had away?
Tom Crosby – “I was really happy when I heard Caged Steel was putting a show back on. I had a total of three-fights cancelled last year due to Covid. I was then training for a powerlifting competition to keep me focussed, motivated and work towards a goal, unfortunately, that was then cancelled too.”
For the fight fans who will be reading this, can you tell us a little about your background and journey into the sport? What made you go down the path of becoming a mixed martial artist? Any interesting stories in that aspect?
Tom Crosby – “I was a Rugby league player and a fan of The Ultimate Fighter, so I found a local MMA gym which was Caged Steel Gym. Originally it was to help with my Rugby fitness but I fell In love with fighting. I tried to do both, but it was too much for my body so I quit rugby and focussed on MMA.”
You’ve had a successful and experienced amateur career, gaining that cage time and allowing yourself to be put in uncomfortable positions and develop as a fighter, how much do you think that’s benefited you going into the pro ranks? Do you believe that’s why you’re having the success that you are in the professional circuit?
Tom Crosby – “Yes I had a very active amateur career. I tried to compete as much as possible, from MMA, BJJ, Boxing and Kickboxing. I fought top-level amateur opponents and competed in the IMMAF. I gained bronze at the IMMAF euros in 2016. I think it helps massively with confidence knowing you’ve overcome adversity and been in uncomfortable positions time and time again.”
What’s the main goal for Tom Crosby in Mixed Martial Arts?
Tom Crosby – “I’m thirty-three now and I started MMA relatively late on at 25. I will keep going and pushing towards to see how far I can go in the sport. I would love for the UFC to bring back TUF and be a competitor on there. That would be awesome.”
On to your opponent on the night, Shaun Lomas, an incredibly experienced guy and has a record of 26-82. How do you view him as an opponent and what would you say to people who are expecting you to just walk through him and that he’s there just to add another win to your record?
Tom Crosby – “I respect Shaun. He’s tough, very durable and will fight anyone.”
How do you prepare for an opponent who has 82 losses and has been finished in the majority of those? Can that play a mental factor in preparation and add pressure to you knowing you’re expected to beat Lomas or can it do the opposite and potentially make you not train as hard as the fights already won in your mind?
Tom Crosby – “I train hard for every fight and never underestimate any opponent.”
Looking at Lomas’s game, by watching previous fights, can you identify any strengths and weaknesses in his game? If so, where, and where do you feel the keys to victory are in this matchup?
Tom Crosby – “Yes I can see his strengths and weaknesses. The keys to victory in this matchup for me will be keeping composed and calculated. As I said, I know he’s tough, durable and there’s no quit in him.”
What can fans expect to see from Tom Crosby on April 10th?
Tom Crosby – “They will see an improved fighter that will be looking for the finish.”
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All image credits to Caged Steel