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 spills.
With the Fight Zone brand growing, more and more of the UK's kickboxers are queuing up to be featured on the Barnsley promotion. This meant that this event provided more top class fights than has been seen in a Barnsley ring in a long time. As a furthr bonus for the viewing public, the fight card this time was extended to feature some top junior fighters in what formed the first part of a two part show.
Competing for the Combat Academy in the first half of the show were juniors Mareks Stromanis, Rosie Longley, Sonny Greaves, Lucy Unijat, Kaine Cowling, Seth Housely and the sensational siblings Brogan and Blaine Knaggs. All fighters performed well but according to referee Jamie Sutton and backed up by many observers, the stand out performances were the Knaggs boys with Brogan setting the record straight on an earlier draw to Hulls Luke Ellerby. In this rematch Brogan was dominant throughout winning every second of the fast paced contest and cementing the victory with a last round body kick knockdown. Brogans brother Blaine headlined the first half with his Northern Area Low Kick Title clash with Machine MMAs reigning Northern Area K1 Rules champion Jak Fairley. Blaine gave a classic performance using his superior foot and hand speed to control the distance to break Farley down with his potent blend of low kicks, side kicks and sublime boxing eventually forcing a stoppage in the third round after a combination forced a knockdown and Fairley's corner; having seen enough retired their fighter.
After such an explosive first half to the event, the pressure was on the adults to go one better and as expected they didnt fail to dissappoint. With bouts of White collar boxing, Full Contact, Low kick and K1 Rules all being contested the second half showcased Fight Zones usual blend of variety in what were closely matched and fiercely contested meetings of some of the UK's top fighters.
As well as a great undercard with wins for up and coming talents Ian Freeman Jr, Rich Wilford, Charlotte Mosely, Madars Vickis and Danny Duggan there were also 4 ICO Northern Area Titles being contested.
The Combat Academies own Zak Hamshaw was the first title fight of the night challenging Grimsby's Alex Smith in a closely fought 5 rounder. Zaks, greater variety and cleaner shots kept him ahead in the bout and he was happy to take the win over a very strong and game Smith in a bout that would make for a great rematch down the line.
Next up to fight for a Prestigious ICO Belt was Fight Zone favourite; Combat Academy fighter Tommy "Terminator" Crossland. Tommy 15 yrs, gave away 4 years age when he faced the unbeaten MMA sensation; 19 year old Michael Stobbart of Machine MMA in Stanley in a bout for the Northern Area K1 rules title. Tommy turned in the performance of his career to out skill, out fight and out hustle the tough and strong Stobbart in a 5 round contesst which had the audience lifting the roof. Tommy sealed the dominant performance with a penetrating knee to the ribs which scored a standing 8 count for the home fighter in the closing seconds of the last round.
Micks Kickboxings Paul Regan was next up for a crack at an ICO Belt. With only 1 defeat (To The Combat Academies Chris Hyde) in 7 contests Regan was looking for a career best performance and he nailed it scoring a fourth round body shot stoppage against the skilled thai Boxer Jimmy Harrison of York. Having stepped in when Regans first opponent from Rishton pulled out Jimmy of Tony Dias's United Martial Arts College gave a great account of himself but Regan was always one step ahead and the lack of preparation and conditioning proved to be Harrisons down fall as Regan scored with a heavy body kick to flatten Harrison and take the title in the fourth.
As we awaited the final title bout of the evening the crowd were treated to a spectacular prestige K1 rules contest fought between Fight Zone favourite - ICO English K1 Rules, British Full Contact and Ringmasters 2013 Champion Karl "The Tinker" Johnston and Pro MMA fighter Greg Semik of Slaughterhouse Hull. Semik came out strong and aggressive from the bell and landed some good work but the Tinker showed patience as he whethered the work of Semik and punished him with his trademark combination of pressure and power. The fight was competitive but with Semik fading and Johnston getting stronger as the bout wore on there was only ever going to be one winner and so it proved when the stoppage came early in the third after a Johnston knee rattled Semik causing an ugly 4 inch gash across the Hull fighters head. Referee Garth Porter was straight in to protect the hurt fighter and after advice from the medic, the fight was stopped notching up another win for Johnston.
Other stand our performances on the undercard were Combat Academy newby, the explosive Mareks pelcis who took a unanimous points win over the talented Dylan Cheema of Kickfit Birmingham. Also, The Combat Academys' Jamie Thompson, who was contesting only his third bout against Parkgate Kickboxings Adam Butterworth. this fight was a barnstormer from the opening bell with thompson seemingly edging the closely fought battle until disaster struck late in the first round when Butterworth hammered home a thundering right cross to the jaw of Thompson who tasted the canvas for the first time in his career. Up at the count of 6 and recovering well thompson tried to fight his way back into the round but Butterworth stayed with him every step of the way.
After some stern words in the corner Thompson changed his approach in the second opting for a more technical approach and again outscoring Butterworth and attempting to break him down a little at range. With a 10 8 round against him going into the third Thompson knew he needed a count or a kayo to take the win. He picked up where he left off out scoring Butterworth and then in the second half of the round as per the corners instructions went all out for the game changing finish. Butterworth shoed incredible resilience as under heavy fire and apparently wobbled, he maintained his compsure holding on for what turned out to be a unanimous draw from the judges. Rematch seemed to be the word on everyones lips as both fighters will be looking to settle this score.
Also in Action was Combat Academy Chief MMA Instructor Darryl Westcott. Westcott turned in a dominant performance controlling the stand up and the ground work vs Slaughterhouse, Hulls Mike Foremarm on his way to a rear naked choke submission.
And finally we moved onto the Easy Vapour sponsored Main Event. Combat Academy Star Jamie clarke was putting his ICO Northern Area title on the line against the dangerous Edis Peshiks of Kings Lynn K1. Coming out confident, 21 year old Peshiks camp were confident of a win over the 18 year old Clarke stating beforehand that Peshiks was too physical strong and powerful. The opposite proved to be the case after a few false starts due to a low blow and a twisted shin pad the boys got down to business. Peshiks came at Clarke like the proverbial Bull in a china shop throwing punches with bad intentions and trying to wipe the ever present smile off of Clarkes face. The first real exchange saw Clarke use smart defence to nullify Peshiks' attack before launching his own superman punch into a huge left knee which had Peshiks audibly gasping for air. Clarke sensed blood and quickly moved in for the kill using faints to set up an almighty follow up knee directly to the liver. Peshik went down heavy holding onto his mid section and was subsequently counted out by referee Garth Porter. The crowd went crazy as Clarke celebrated in his usually falmboyant style. Clarke now looks forward to his next assignment - the toughest one to date as he faces Fighting Tigers Stand out Jamie McGuigan of Hastings in what will be a clash of Champions of the North and South for the ICO English Title on July 5th at Fight Zone 9.
As usual huge thanks to our sponsors Easy Vapour for their amazing support on this event and massive thank you to the Barnsley Crowd who continually turn out in force to make these events the fantastic spectacles they have become!!