AN amateur mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter with a rare genetic condition has overcome the physical battles he faces to fulfil a dream.

James Gallagher Young, from Leigh, has Prader-Willi syndrome which causes symptoms such as dangerous weight gain and learning difficulties.

He took a shine to mixed martial arts on a visit with his carer to Blackledge MMA, based at Powerbeck Gym on Wigan Road, three years ago and wanted to start training.

Despite the demands on the body that the combat sports requires, the 25-year-old has kept to a strict regime and recently competed in his debut fight.

Leigh Journal:

James, fourth from right, with his Blackledge MMA training partners

He defeated MMA veteran Aaron Wilkinson in an ICE: International Combat Elite exhibition bout at the Irlam and Cadishead Leisure Centre on Saturday.

His mum Yvonne, 50, said: “There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when James won the fight.

"When he come over celebrating everyone was crying, including his team mates.

"That was the first time I saw James fight and I could not get over how good he was - it was amazing.

"I am so proud of him. It shows how having a disability does not have to hold you back.

"He has kept his composure and done really well with his weight management."

Yvonne has praised the efforts of Blackledge MMA and Powerbeck Gym, and in particular trainer Andrew Clamp, for helping James in his development.

Leigh Journal:

James and his trainer Andrew Clamp

She added: "They both struck up a relationship and Andrew took James under his wing.

"He goes training at the gym three times a week. He is passionate about going."

Not one for dwelling on his first victory in the ring, James is keen on getting back into training with a view of preparing for a fight in the future.

Away from his mixed martial arts commitments, James has another sporting passion.

He plays football for Leigh Genesis' side FC Dynamite as a striker.

James receives support from borough-based care provider Just B.U.