ABERTILLERY’S Jack Marshman was crowned middleweight king of Wales after defeating Swansea’s John Phillips via split decision on Saturday night in the biggest fight in Welsh MMA history, writes Jason Batty.

The 16,000 in attendance at London’s 02 Arena were treated to a technical stand-up contest, that only went to the ground when either men was dropped.

The first round saw several open exchanges with Marshman dropped to the canvas midway through, having walked onto a big right hand from Phillips.

The second saw Marshman get his own back, firing a solid kick to the mid-section of Phillips followed by right hand to send him to the canvas.

As time went on, the fight got more technical. Phillips pushed the pace by stalking Marshman, trying to find a home for his powerful punch.

Marshman, wise to it, fought off the back foot and landed counter-punches. And that was enough to win the contest by split decision.

“I didn’t really get hit in the second and third round," he said.

"I think I got hit in the first round and so I adjusted. I boxed well, I avoided his shots and landed ones on him, I didn’t hit him big but you’re not going to stand there and trade shots with such a big striker like John.

“He brought exactly what I expected.

"I didn’t stick to the game plan completely in the first round so I adjusted in the second and third. I don’t think I got hit in the second round, I don’t really have a mark on me.”

Marshman, who missed weight by 2lbs, prepared for this fight while still serving full time in the army as a paratrooper.

He is set to take semi-retirement in November to put more focus on his “hobby” of Mixed Martial Arts, where he now moves to 3-3 in the UFC.

“I just want to improve," he added. "I am away with the army at the moment but whatever the UFC offer next, I’ll come back for it.”