Academy Fighters go 7 and 1 on home show

The Combat Academy's premier fight sport promotion "Fight Zone" was back and better than ever this past weekend at its new home of Rio's Nightclub. Featuring bouts of various kickboxing disciplines such as K1, Low Kick and FC rules, the sixth instalment of the popular franchise proved to be the most action packed yet with an exciting mix of combatants from amateur novice all the way up to top level pro fighters. 

Of the 11 bouts on this event, 9 featured Combat academy Fight Team members. Brothers Blaine and Brogan Knaggs made their first Fight Zone appearance when they opened the show in their respective bouts. Blaine, 10 yrs old and 33kg won a decisive victory against Brandon Wayne, 12 yrs, 38kg, of the original Jesters Gym from Matlock in a technical and aesthetic match up. Meanwhile Brogan was on the losing end of a close decision in a thrilling contest against Welshman and reigning Ringmasters, ICO British and World Light Continuous Champion Morgan Havard. Both boys showed tremenedous skill and received high praise for their performances. 

Next up for the academy, making his Full Contact debut was Richie Wilford. Richie went up against experienced journeyman Peter "The Machine" Green. Wilford has worked long and hard to finally get to the point of his full contact debut and his will and determination were evident has he held a relentless pace and dominated the contest which while always competitive, resulted in a unanimous decision in Wilfords favour. 

Jamie Thompson was another debutant for The Combat Academy going up against fellow debut fighter Ben Hall of Holmebrook Kickboxing. This was a reall battle of a fight with the holmebrook fighter showing great kicking skills but Thompson having the better defense and showing more aggression and a busier pace throughout, in particular in the third when Thompson's superior conditioning and his great balance of boxing and kick attacks enabled him to pull ahead for a hard fought unanimous decision victory. 

Karl Wistow was next in the ring for the academy and after his previous Fight Zone appearance ending in a contraversial disqualification win, he was eager to mix it up and show the Barnsley public what he was all about. After his original opponent pulled out the week before, Karl ended up fighting stand in James Sprague of Holmebrook Kickboxing in a catch weight bout set under low Kick Kickboxing rules. Wistow was givin away a sizeable amount of weight and size to his new opponent but brought with him a superior skill set. The bout started out with Sprague bustling forward throwing wild but dangerous looking boxing techniques combined with some heavy low kick attacks. Wistow used he defense to ride out these attacks and then started to clinically pick apart his opponent with sharp counters. The result was that the harder Sprague pushed the more he got punished as Wistow consistently defended and answered his advances with heavy low kicks and sharp boxing counters. At the end of the second round the Holmebrook corner waived the white flag and withdrew their man from the match. Sprague having sustained too much damage to his lead leg and having withstood some heavy head shots, he was no longer able to continue. Making Karl the winner by TKO. 

Following the interval it was time for the more experienced stand out fighters of the academy to make their appearance. Kicking off the second half was unbeaten Zak Hamshaw, 13yrs, 65kg, (2fights, 2 wins) who was facing MMA specialist Ellis Park of Middlesbrough Fight Academy in a K1 rules encounter. Also unbeaten in his one previous kickboxing bout, Ellis presented a real threat to Zak, as he was 3 years older at 16 yrs and was bringing an unorthdox style developed on the MMA circuit. In spite of this Zak made a confident start nullifying Parks early attacks with tactical use of clinch and single knee counters. Zak built on this early success as he began to back up park and score with sharp boxing combo's and lightning fast left high kicks which repeatedly found their mark. In the second round Zak began to go to work on Parks legs mixing his razor sharp left high kicks with heavy right low kicks. Park started to appear discouraged so Zak began to emphasise his dominance dropping his hands and putting his stamp on the contest with a quick Ali style foot shuffle for the cheering crowd. The bout continued in the same vain with Park's work being defended and Hamshaw punishing every mistake with sharp counters and fast combinations of punches, kicks and knees. Another unanimous victory for The Combat Academy. 

With the excitement on an ever increasing high, Tommy Crossland was next into the ring to raptuorus applause and cheers. Having given a subpar performance on the last Fight Zone event, Tommy has since been on a rampage scoring career best wins against older more experienced fighters in Hastings and Lincoln. Keen to show the Barnsley crowd his improved form Tommy was beaming with a confident smile as he faced up to his Fight Zone 6 foe 18 year old Adam Butterworth  of Parkgate Kickboxing, Rotherham. At only 14 yrs, Tommy is well used to giving away age in order to get fights but with an unbeaten opponent in front of him, this task of boy vs man was even more daunting than usual. 

Any worries about the age differenece were quickly dismissed however, as the pair went right at each other from ring at the opening bell. Tommy started fast and strong showing his considerable physical strength and great technique to back up the older man with heavy boxing attacks and going on to score with strong low kicks and body kicks. Butterworth wasn't phased however and scored with strong attacks of his own giving convincing answers to the stern questions tommy was asking. The action went back and forth throughout the first round with Crossland seemingly just shading it with better use of body knees and shin kicks. The action continued in this way into the second until Tommy landed a hellacious shin kick to the ribs which seemed to lift Butterworth up off the canvas for a split second. The sound of the crack as Tommy's shin connected could be heard throughout the venue causing unison cries of "OOOOOH" from the crowd. Butterworth to his credit, never showed any reaction to the kick but it was clear it had had an effect as his pace slowed and Tommy began to take control of the fight. By the start of the third it appeared that Crossland had the fight in the bag and this was confirmed as he continued to control the fight; this time from long range as he danced on his toes at range and picked his man off with single shots and then exploded sporadically with longer combinations to catch the eyes of the judges. When the decision was announced no one was in doubt - Winner by Unanimous decision, Tommy Crossland. 

After Tommy and Zak's incredible career best performances, the bar was set suitably high for our next act. Cue Jamie Clarkes chief supporting contest. Jamie was stepping up for the first time to 5 rounds and his first title attempt as he faced off against the experienced Slaughterhouse Trained Chris Doleman. The atmosphere was electric as jamie made his way to the ring looking confident and considerably bigger and stronger than in any of his previous contests. Jamie's long hard training camp was evident in his bigger and more sculpted appearance, but Doleman didn't look one bit concerned by the task in front of him. 

At the bell both men started cagily, as the battle for centre ring began. Doleman tried to open up but Clarke used faints and posturing to take the space and get Doleman immediately on the back foot. Doleman stepped up his attacks but Jamie was in full sniper mode controlling the distance and making Doleman miss and pay for his attack with a heavy low kick. The first round continued like this with Doleman trying to make the fight and Jamie making him miss and punishing him with sharp single technique counters. As the first round ended Clarke had barely found his range or got out of first gear but non the less he had won the round with his clean work. 

After the first round Clarke went out to press his advantage and Doleman, attempting to make amends for the first round, came out with an increased pace and stronger attacks. What followed was rallying exchanges where Doleman pressed and Clarke stayed in range to defended and counter with powerful combinations. As jamie quickly found his range in this round he stayed in the pocket and began to beat Doleman up with leg, body and head attacks. Doleman shipped punishment at a furious pace like this for almost the whole of round two and as the action slowed down you could see signs of wear and tear in his posture and body language. Fatigued, battered and bruised, Doleman appeared to have no answer for what was in front of him as the second round ended. 

In the third Clarke slowed the pace and began to pick apart his increasingly tired opponent with clean head and leg kicks and the occasional heavy straight rights. he also began to introduce the left hook to the liver in this round as he began to soften Doleman up for the knockout. 

As the fouth began Clarke began to drop his hands and hold his ground in attempt to draw doleman in to more fire. This plan succeeded as quickly into the round he landed a devastating left switch knee off the end of a boxing attack. The knee hit Doleman square in the liver, and doleman immediately dropped his hands as his posture dipped and he froze. The referee wisely initiated a standing 8 count. It proved not to be enough however, as Clarke, exactly to his corners instruction came straight out with a faint right hand which lifted Dolemans guard just enough to set up a devastating left hook to the liver which again shut Doleman down. The referee gave another 8 count but it was clear that Doleman had nothing left and was in no position to continue making Jamie Clarke, winner by TKO in the fourth round, and NEW ICO NORTHERN AREA SUPERWELTERWEIGHT CHAMPION!!!!


All round this was an incredibly successful night for the Combat Academy with not one but all of the performances being not only personal bests by the fighters but also some of THE best ever performances in the short history of the gym. 



"Took my 2 grandchildren here as I got fed up of them on the Xbox. Mick trains them hard but it is so good to see the boys healthy and alert."

Subscribe to our newsletter

If you would like to receive all the latest news and updates from The Combat Academy please fill in the form and you will be added to our mailing list.

* indicates required

I am interested in:


Latest News

Academy Fighters Shine on World Stage 26-01-2018

Academy Fighters Shine on World Stage ICO WORLD CUP 2017 19 of The Combat Academy's finest students took on the Worlds best this past October when they fought as part of the 200 strong Team England Kickboxing squad. Having travelled as far and wide as Italy, Germany & France for these events in...

Read More ...


ACADEMY BOYS GO 4 AND 0 IN LINCOLN August has been a busy month for The Combat Academy fight team as the fighters ramp up their efforts to get razor sharp for the upcoming ICO World Championships in Stuttgart Germany in October. The prospect of competing at the worlds has seen the team go anywhere and...

Read More ...

FIGHT ZONE 7 - Bigger, Stronger, Better 24-02-2014

FIGHT ZONE 7  - Bigger, Stronger, Better!!Barnsleys Premier Kickboxing Promotion returned this past February 23rd with its biggest and best promotion yet. Back but at a new Venue; The Barnsley Metrodome; Fight Zone 7 provided its growing audience with an action packed evening of thrills and...

Read More ...