'I'm the most dangerous' - From fugitive to MMA star? Shem Rock aims to be Liverpool's next fighting star

Shem RockShem Rock
Shem Rock | PressBox PR
OKMMA: Rising star Shem Rock (9-1) is back in action on April 20 at OKTAGON 56.

Shem Rock is aiming to become Liverpool’s next combat sports fighting star but his remarkable life story resembles something out of a Hollywood film.

The 30-year-old trains out of the Next Generation MMA gym in Liverpool and has been training partners with UFC fighters Paddy ‘the Baddy’ Pimblett and Molly ‘Meatball’ McCann. He currently boasts a record of nine wins - with all nine coming inside the distance - one draw and one sole loss in the lightweight. On April 20, he will face fellow Brit Stefano Catacoli (7-1) at OKTAGON 56 at a Catchweight of 68kg as he fights on a big bill in the 15,000+ seater arena in Birmingham - but all of this seemed impossible less than a decade ago.

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Rock, whose full name is Shaqueme Rock, was accused of a burglary with violence and assault in 2014 which led him to go on the run aged 20 as he fled to Malaysia. He remained there for seven years before he would be arrested in the UK, where he served six months on remand in custody. During that time, he started MMA and competing and learning his craft - and even he can’t believe his journey. “It's mad. If you go back to when I was in Asia and just starting out in MMA, everyone around me was saying 'What are you talking about? You're on the run, how are you going to make money from this MMA thing?'

“I was just super, super motivated despite everyone telling me 'You're good, but you'll never make it to the top due to the issues in your life' or people saying 'You're good, but you started fighting too late.' I never believed any of it.”

In 2022 he was found not guilty in court, clearing his name of the charge which had followed him over his life and, since then, all of his focus has gone into the sport he loves. And one thing he loves is finishing opponents before the final bell. In fact, eight of his nine finishes have come in the first round. As said by champion boxer Lloyd Honeyghan in the 1980’s “you don't get paid for overtime in this business” and Rock has claimed he never wants to leave it up to the judges to decide the winner in his fights. “I'm THE most dangerous.” He claimed.

“I fight to finish people. If the judges have to pick a winner, that means it's a draw in my mind. I'm not happy going home without knocking someone out, that's why I've got so many finishes.”

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His life story could one day rival even the very best MMA Hollywood films such as 2011’s Warrior (starring Tom Hardy) and Rock threw up two actors who he would want to see portray him in the future. “Sometimes when I've got a skinhead, people say I look like Wentworth Miller! I've never watched Prison Break, though!  When I've got curly hair, maybe I look like Jonah Hill if he was skinny. I also get told I look like Gary Barlow! But I think that's when people are slagging me off...”

He takes on Stefano Catacoli on April 20 at OKTAGON 56 which takes place at Birmingham Resorts World Arena.

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