Bareknuckle British title winner Kevin Thompson is taking a step away from competing in combat sports due to personal reasons.

Thompson has relinquished the BKB British cruiserweight title but he is not closing the door on a return to the ring just yet.

Boxing coach at Just Grind MMA and Fitness, Dave Straughton spoke of the atmosphere when Thompson stopped Mason Shaw at BKB14.

He said: “Winning that title was the most exciting and best night of my career as a coach.”

In a social media statement, Kevin said: “Unfortunately I’m not in a position to defend the title at this moment in time.

The title win was just his second fight in the brutal ungloved ranks. His first foray into bareknuckle saw him lose in valiant fashion against UFC veteran Goran Reljic. Thompson said: “Anyone who knows me or who has followed my career, knows I have always been a fighter who has faced all challenges.”

One of the names on his record is Jody Meikle, a journeyman from the pro ranks who despite his record is a crafty operator. Meikle has shared a ring with Luke Blackledge, former commonwealth champion.

Thompson has a background in some of the world’s toughest sports, boxing, MMA, bareknuckle and rugby.

He is one of few Cumbrian fighters to reach the mountaintop. In addition to BKB, he competed in BAMMA, one of the biggest MMA promotions in the UK.

BAMMA has been a springboard for many big names including Brett McDermott, Jimi Manuwa and Marc Diakiese. McDermott went on to compete in Bellator and Rizin, Manuwa and Diakiese both progressed to UFC fame.

Thompson is currently training a future star of bareknuckle boxing, Agi Faulkner who will fight on an upcoming The Gloves Are Off card.

Peter Gilmour, who plays a key role at Just Grind said: “Kevin is a true warrior, champion and pioneer who has put Cumbria on the map and helped take bareknuckle boxing to the next level, in two unforgettable wars of world class opposition.”A representative of Just Grind said: “On behalf of everyone at the gym we wish him good luck with whatever may come next as he says the door is just ajar.”