June 23rd 2013
FIGHT TEAM SUCCESS AT ICO BRITISH OPEN
The Combat Academy took 5 members of the junior fight team to the ICO British Open Championships this past Sunday 23rd June. The event took place at Cocks Moor Wood Leisure Centre in Birminghamand the team had a fantastic day at what was one of the most professionally run Open Tournaments we have attended.
With only a small team ready to compete this year coaches Mick Crossland and Jamie Clarke took a chance in taking some of our most inexperienced fighters to an open without the usual preparation in a suitable number of preliminary bouts. It was a bold move but one that showed the confidence the coaches had in these young warriors - a confidence which proved to be justified as the team brought home six medals including 5 Bronze and one silver.
Every member of the team performed out of their skin competing in what was one of the biggest open tournaments the UK has seen for a while with all fighters having to have multiple bouts just to even get close to the medals they had worked so hard to attain.
Lucy Unijat, 11 yrs, fought several hard won battles before narrowly missing out on gold, dropping a split decision in the final. Brogan Knaggs, 12 yrs, made easy work of making it to the semi finals before losing to the eventual winner. He picked up a bronze with a strong performance in the fight off for third. Zak Hamshaw received a bye to the semi final but lost his opening bout to the eventual gold medalist. Zak then went on to pick up bronze comfortably in the third place fight off. Tommy Crossland picked up two medals fighting his way to a bronze in the kickboxing and then getting mixed in with the mens substrike (due to a lack of junior competitors in the junior division) again fighting his way to earn a bronze.
The star of the day was definitely young Blaine Knaggs - a young man who is making a habit of stealing the show with his electrifying performances. Blaine made his way to the semis overcoming his first two opponents with comfortable points wins. In the semis however Blaine faced the formidable Keaton Mahi from the mighty USKA gym. Two years older and a few KG's heavier; Keaton was a formidable task anyway, add to that fact that this young man is probably THE best young fighter in that division in the UK and Blaine had a mountain to climb. Unphased by this Blaine went straight after Keaton at the bell and put up a far tougher fight than anybody expected. Blaine was in the fight the whole way but Keatons strength and composure coupled with his slick skills meant that he was edging it on the judges score cards. A strong finish from the USKA man secured Keaton the win. This left Blaine reeling at his first ever loss and with another USKA fighter to face in Raes Kiani.
Blaine shook off the loss and got back to work. Both boys went to work doing both of their coaches proud. In the end however, Blaines superior speed and fitness enabled him to take a good win in a very heated battle making Blaine this years ICO British Open Bronze medalist.
All the fighters conducted themselves with honour and had a great time at what proved to be an extremely successful day.