Northern Ireland has a growing population of migrant workers from eastern Europe, all keen to try and strike out and make a better life for themselves.
But one man who has joined the exodus is doing so for different reasons – dreams of sporting glory.
Tomas Glazer, a 29 year old from Slovakia, has headed to Belfast and to the renowned ProKick gym to follow his dream of being a kickboxing champ.
The quietly spoken Chef has just won his orange belt and is set to be an inspiration for the entire new generation of Northern Irish migrant workers as he hopes to take to the ring for his first competitive bout in the Hilton hotel on the 24th February.
“He’s a strong contender with a lot of heart and a determination to win,” said former four time world champion Billy Murray. “He was a fan of the K1 heavyweight division back in Slovakia. He was aware of ProKick’s reputation across Europe and when he wanted to make a new life for himself, ProKick was a big factor in the decision of where he was going to go. We’ll work with him and take him as far as we can. We’re delighted he’s hoping to be on the Next Generation card at the Hilton Hotel in Belfast fighting under the ProKick flag.
“At ProKick, we built our reputation on being cross community and all inclusive. I’d be delighted if we could welcome more of Northern Ireland’s new population in too. It’s an exciting time.”
Tomas, a qualified chef, has been working in Bennets on the Belmont Road a stone throw from the ProKick gym since his arrival two years ago."
“I am having a great time at ProKick,” he said. “The other members have made be very welcome. I’ve been sparring with Ian Young, who is a great champion, and learning about the sport. I look forward to the beginning in Belfast Hilton hotel.”