MARTIN Thorne has got the buzz back as he prepares to take on Paul Stevens for the Warrior Challenge Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) featherweight title at the Circus Tavern in Essex this Saturday, writes Rob Stevens.

Thorne, 29, suffered a single-point defeat to Joe Pavey when he last challenged for the title back in 2011. The former professional has also tried bare knuckle boxing before a break from combat sports for personal reasons.

The High Wycombe-based star is focused on a return to the octagon, his training has seen a growing bond between him and his two sons (Corey, 8, and Tommy, 2), and he has ambitions for further challenges in the pro ranks.

Thorne told the Bucks Free Press: "Combat sport is something that I need to do in order to keep my head above water. It keeps me fully focused and makes me a better Dad to my two lads.

"Corey and Tommy are two brilliant little boxers and we've bonded because of it. Corey has won a regional gymnastics tournament but boxes as well. He does all the training and park runs with me. We have a great bond through training and he's come on so well it make me feel humble.

"Exercising is the key to releasing endorphins. It's my buzz and keeps me sane. I've raised money for mental health projects in my last three fights as well."

He continued: "I lost the last title fight by a point and got so close it was devastating, but a lot has happened since 2011 and I've become more experienced. Eight years is a long tome so fingers crossed I can take my chance this time around.

"I thought I would give bare knuckle boxing a go after losing my professional debut in MMA. I had three fights but wasn't sure I could make a pro career out of it.

Bucks Free Press:

PICTURE: Martin Thorne, right, with his son Corey, centre, and coach Pop Haywood, left.

"I've returned to MMA since and got that extra motivation. I've got the buzz back and, when I'm focused, I give 150 per-cent.

"Losing is not in my mindset. I go into every fight thinking I'm going to win and am already thinking about taking the belt home on Saturday.

"It will be a really tough fight because Paul is a good boxer and been around the circuit. I'm better on the ground than him but will stand toe-to-toe and see what happens.

"I'm cutting down from 66kg to 64kg which will make me little and sharper on my feet. I'm training twice a day and six days a week at 6am in the morning and then again in the evening.

"I was offered the fight before but it came at the wrong time for me. I'm healthier now and there's a whole coach load of us going so there will be a good bit of support."

He added: "I'm looking forward to pushing on with a pro career after this and have already been offered fights in Portsmouth and Russia.

"It's a higher standard to pursue but the purse is better. I don't do it foe the money but it's something to think about and take a lot more serious."

Thorne has thanked his sponsors that have helped raise funds for mental heath and expand his mental health bootcamp which aims to create a more positive state of mind through exercise.

The sponsors include Mo Zahir (Muscle Ammo Supplements), Brian Stottor (Prestwood bathrooms), Nathan Couch (Traditional Windows) Gulman Rabani (Titans Gym) plus his father, Craig Thorne.