TOM Aspinall has been hailed as one of “our local sporting heroes” after he was crowned UFC interim heavyweight champion.

The Atherton fighter took just 69 seconds to record victory at Madison Square Garden in New York against Sergei Pavlovich, despite having just two weeks to prepare.

The 30-year-old knocked out his Russian opponent with a punishing series of blows at UFC 295.

Aspinall became just the third British fighter to become UFC world champion, and only got the call-up for the fight on October 25 after defending champion Jon Jones suffered a serious injury and pulled out of his contest against Stipe Miocic.

His impressive victory has led to him receiving plaudits and congratulations from around the world.

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Boxing heavyweight fighter Tyson Fury said in a video posted on social media: "Just want to say a massive shoutout to my brother Tom Aspinall, the new UFC heavyweight champion of the world! God bless you Tom, all the best brother.

“It couldn't have happened to a more lovely person. Congratulations to you and your family and I hope you have a fantastic, fantastic time."

Aspinall’s triumph is the latest sporting success story in the area following the feats of 800m Olympic medallist and European Champion Keely Hodgkinson, from Atherton, and Tyldesley's Manchester United and England women’s footballer Ella Toone, a goalscorer at Wembley as the Lionesses won the European Championship last year.

And in August Leigh Leopards won the club’s first rugby league Challenge Cup in 52 years with a Golden Point victory at Wembley.

Leigh MP James Grundy said: “I'd like to congratulate Tom Aspinall on becoming UFC World Heavyweight Champion, which is an absolutely incredible achievement in what must be the toughest competition on Earth.

“He now stands alongside Ella Toone, Keely Hodgkinson and the Leigh Leopards team as one of our local sporting heroes. I commend his dedication and grit in securing this fantastic victory.”

Cllr Chris Ready, Wigan Council portfolio holder for communities and neighbourhoods, said: “What a victory for Tom Aspinall, I think I speak for everyone in the borough when I say we couldn’t be prouder to have a resident become only the third British UFC title holder in history.

“Tom is one of many amazing sportspeople who started out in our borough and have gone on to achieve monumental success. He has the whole town backing him and I look forward to seeing his future achievements.”