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 everywhere for the chance to get some competitive action in and sharpen our skills for the battles that lie ahead.
This past Saturday was just such an occasion when 4 of our young warriors were in action on Shawn Burtons latest instalment of the Kickboxing Classics series "Out For Glory". A former multiple British and European Champion, Burton is as credible as they come in the game this means that the best and brightest talents around the UK all want to take part in these events.
This obviously meant that the Academy crew were at the front of the queue knocking down the door for a chance to fight and Mr Burton delivered with 4 great full contact match ups - one of which gave our superstar in the making Blaine Wilson the opportunity to continue his mission to unify the 10 to 12 years -35kg British Title.
First up for us was young Kane Cowling. Coming off a bit of a lay off since picking up his ICO Northern Area K1 Rules Title on Fight Zone 10 in his hometown in June, Kane was looking to knock off some rust and continue on his way back up to full fitness. In front of him was the formidable and experienced Kumil Ali Ravjani of the notorious Rav Boys in Luton. Known for their teak toughness and never say die attitude the Ravjanis are a handful for anyone and so Kumil proved for Kane as he Jumped on Kane coming forward with strong boxing attacks right from the opening bell.
Kane used his superior timing to pick Kumil off on the way in and score with fantastic combinations and some potent looking body kicks. While Kumil did get through with some good straight punches in this round it was Kane who was landing the cleaner shots. This coupled with Kanes great variety and strong kicking and the fact that Kumil hadnt thrown a single kick in the first round saw kane take the round. In the second more of the same followed as Kumil stalked Kane around the ring throwing a high volume of straight punches while Kane picked his man off on the way in and used his superior footwork to slide out of harms way afterwards. In a couple of exchanges Ravjani burst through and used some roughhouse tactics to unsettle Kane as he held and hit and wrestled. Kane remained composd enough to continue to land his own work which was still much cleaner than Kumils and again saw Kane landing the more consistent and effective kicks. Going into the third it was two competitive but convincing rounds in the bank for the academy man and Kumil had to pull out all the stops to turn the decision. As Kane fatigued having not been back on hard training for much more than a couple of weeks and having expended a lot in the first two to keep clocking up the points against a tenacious and unrelenting Ravjani Kane started to fade as Kumil began to poor it on. More wrestling tactics from Kumil saw a lot of clinching in the round which stifled both lads work. Kane looked to rest and protect his lead more in this round as Kumil pushed hard to turn the fight around. After some good exchanges at the end of the round the bell finally sounded with Kumil a clear winner of that round but unable to do enough to have turned the fight around. Kane was announced unanimous winner with a well earned 2 rounds to one points victory against a very dangerous and game opponent.
Next up for the Academy was new boy Callum Cope. Callum recently moved over to us from another club and has travelled all the way to Barnsley from Chesterfield four days per week for the last 6 weeks to secure his place as an academy fight team member. The hard work paid off for Callum as from the opening bell his opponent Kraig Green from the mighty Lincoln Kickboxing Academy came out fast and aggressive immediately on the bell and jumped all over Callum. Having proved to be a little erratic under pressure in the past callum put his new skills and maturity to good use as he tucked up and weathered the storm from Green. Cool and composed Callum used the onslaught coming at him as an opportunity for counters and just as he has worked countless times with us in the gym opened up with a counter attack which quickly pushed Kraig back on his heels. Now in the ascendancy Callum opened up with a fast combination which sent his man crashing to the canvas overwhelmed and hurting from the heavy fire to his head and body. After an 8 count from referee Aaron Robinson the bout resumed and Callum continued to pressure his man forcing him back to the ropes where Callum used great footwork to set up calculated angled attacks to Green's body. This resulted in a horrible looking right hook which landed on the floating rib. A delayed reaction from Green saw him the victim of a left hook to the same spot on the opposite rib before he crashed to the canvas for the full count. Announcing his arrival as an Academy member in style Callum was announced the winner by brutal first round bodyshot knockout.
Blaine Wilson took to the ring next in his rematch with reigning ISKA and IKF English Champion Mikhael Ali Ravjani. Mikhael is a formidable competitor and was out for blood having tasted defeat at the hands of Blaine last June when Blaine successfully defended his ICO British Title via unanimous points victory. That occasion had been a game of cat and mouse as Blaine returning from a break had jumped in on only 4 weeks prep to defend his title against the up and coming Ravjani. Blaine used single shots to hit and move and unbalanced Mikhael and managed to do the best work in what was a fight of two halves. The first half Blaine was untouchable and bagged the first three rounds comfortably. The second round Mikhael managed to time blame with excellent right hands and right legs and start to cause problems in the final two which were closer and more competitive. Feeling they had got Blaines number the Rav boys have been wanting a rematch ever since so Blaine relished the opportunity to give Mikhael his shot and leave no questions. This time the EFK British Title was at stake.
The first round started out with Blaine using his superior footwork to control the distance and pick his man off with fast boxing combinations and strong body kicks. Mikhael stalked alot in this round but produced very little. It was clear that Mikhael had improved since their last encounter showing better defence and not getting hit with quite as many clean right hands. The second saw more of the same with Mikhael pressuirng and evading the worst of the work but still eating his share of fast boxing and heavy body kicks and hitting air with his limited return fire. Finally in the third Mikhael saw he was not going to beat Blaine in a battle of skill so two rounds down on the cards he picked up his work rate and started with the wrestling tactics that had served him well in the last few rounds of their previous encounter. Blaine was happy to oblige Mikhael in a dogfight and as well as continuing to win the long game began to stand with Ravjani in this round and fight it out with him. Again Blaine got the best of these exchanges and put another round in the bank. The fourth and fifth followed much the same pattern with Mikahel pressing hard and having sporadic success but coming up short in the vast majority of exchanges. The judges agreed with my assessment and awraded Blaine a unanimous decision and with it another British title to add to his growing collection. Blaine is now the ICO, WKA and EFK British Champion and with his stablemate Seth Housley (owner of the ISKA British Title at the same weight) now moving up in weight there is renewed hope of Blaine fulfilling his dream of unifying every major British Title and proving what he and his team believes - that he is the number 1 12 year old 35kg max kickboxer in the UK.
After an intermission the evening show kicked off and the cadets and seniors were taking to the ring. Opening up this portiion of the event was our own Brogan Wilson. Brogan has been on a very steep learning curve over the last year and is now showing skill and poise that puts him among the elite of the academy fight team. Brogan opened the show in style nullifying his opponents strong attacks and controlling the centre of the ring from the off. As Brogan found his range with his fast jab and strong body kicks, he quickly moved up a gear pushing his man back to the ropes and working his body hard. Using excellent footwork Brogan managed to press his man to the ropes constantly throughout and allow himself room to put sustained combination attacks together with a heavy focus on breaking the body. By the last 20 seconds of the round the heavy fire that had been sustained showed as his opponent began to fatigue rapidly and was grimacing as a turning side kick landed heavily close to the bell.
In the second Brogan followed his corners instructions and set about finishing his man. He picked up where he left off pushing his man back and breaking the body. This time as requested Brogan emplyed side steps as well as level and angle shifts to enable him to continuously attack his opponent to head and body. After a damaging right hook sank into his opponents ribs another grimace was seen before his man was once again back on the ropes. Bravely the lad sought to fight back opening up with a fast boxing combination. Brogan slipped the shots and went straight back to his crushing body shots which sank his man slightly before Brogan switched it up again landing a beautifully timed right hand right on his opponents jaw and sending him crashing to the floor. Up at the count of 8 his opponent bravely signalled he wanted to continue but referee Billy Saul had seen enough and signalled the end guiding the defeated young man back to his corner on unsteady legs and giving The Combat Academy our fourth win of the day from four fights as Brogan was announced winner by TKO in the second.
I would like to say a huge thank you to the fighters, my excellent corner team, the kickboxing classics promotional team and most of all to the academy supporters who made this fantastic event possible. With more fantastic competitive opportunities in front of us may we long continue to go from strength to strength!!! OSU!!!!