Biggest and best – Fight Night 9 showcases international talent

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Last Saturday saw Carl Denne stage his ninth Hastings Kickboxing Academy Fight Night. Feedback from those who attended confirm it was Carl’s biggest and best show yet with the night’s final showdown between local favourite Marlon Gillett and Michael Samperi who’d travelled from Italy specially for HKA Fight Night 9 coming in for special comment.

Carl says: “Having watched and supported Marlon Gillett for a few years now we knew we’d have to look further afield to find a worthy opponent. After a few days of hunting and Facebook stalking we found Michael Samperi, a vey strong K1 fighter with a record to match. Both lads are at the top of their game and hungry for the European title.

“So many people have talked to me and messaged me about this fight. Almost a week later I’m still buzzing from the weekend’s battle. This was a war, and I mean war. It was like watching two transformers in a film go at it! It was five rounds of toe-to-toe action.

“Marlon showed real grit, determination and the hear of a lion. After five rounds of one of the best fights I have ever witnessed in my life, Michael Samperi was crowned the ICO Middleweight K1 champion. It was easily the fight of the year.”

Marlon Gillett and Michael Samperi after their epic battle on Saturday night

Every spectator in the hall was on their feet and the venue, Horntye Park, was alive, Carl says: “Both fighters knew they had just got through something incredible.”

He says the fight was a promoter’s dream: “Thank-you Micheal for coming over and supporting the show, and to Marlon for proving although he didn’t get the win, he is worthy of world status and deserves to be at the top with the best of the best.”

And the rest of the show wasn’t bad either, I’m so proud of our team, we had some massive bouts and we came shinning through. There were six fights involving members of HKA and four wins, two by way of stoppage writes Carl Denne.

First up was Jake Willard in his first ever full contact bout, against Billy from SXF, a huge step up and he’s only been with us for 18 months and he did not disappoint. We didn’t get the result we were after, but we did get a world of knowledge and learnt a great deal about this young man. He’s got game, heart and one hell of a chin… he took the loss like a champion and this will help him knuckle down and train harder.


Callum Helsdown was matched against Kaamil ali Ravjani who is a very experienced fighter with over 20 fights and various title belts to his name.Callum found all three rounds tough, it was a war all the way and although Callum showed more skill, Kaamil just kept the pressure on and didn’t allow Callum to get in to his stride. For me it was a messy scrap and not how we like to fight but some times you have to get down in the trenches and fight fire with fire. Callum will take a lot away from this and learn how to do exactly that.

On to Billy Joe Fitzgerald. And wow! I knew this kid had something special. It was his first ever evening show and he really wanted to demonstrate his worth. From the outset Billy came out strong and set the pace, taking control straight away and it wasn’t long before the fight was over, Billy stopping his man with a big right hand that his opponent was not able to recover from.

George French was back in business after a tough few fights against world class fighters. We’ve learnt a lot and got back to the basics game. Round one was on fire and George had full control. Going in to round two he caught his man with a cracking right hand and went for the stoppage but didn’t quiet get the job done! So, in to round three and George had to go back to playing the basics game doing what was needed to secure the win.

Proud promoter and coach – Carl Denne enjoying his success after Saturday’s Fight Night 9.

Nick Lelliott is back! He was very controlled and composed from the start. He was fighting Matt Geere, a very talented fighter with a few belts to his name. This was a great fight and a perfect display of ‘kickboxing. We have worked very hard over the last month on a game plan to upset Matt’s quirky style. Although it was a split decision we feel Nick had won every round. Over the last year Nick has really matured as a fighter and is already looking forward to the next one.

Daniel Brown was in only his second full contact fight. After stopping his last man in the first round he was eager for some more action. He always trains hard and always pushes himself in the gym. He did not disappoint; strong, fast and comfortable, he came out and took control straight away. It wasn’t long before he was overpowering his opponent! Once again, under the watchful eyes of the referee Garth, Dan stopped his man and left Garth no choice but to step in and stop the bout. It was win four of six for the HKA team.

All fighters home safe and sound, For me the biggest and best show I’ve ever promoted, which was amazing as we was running against another big show the same evening. Thank you once more to all involved and being apart of the show.

Keeping it in the family. Carl’s teenage daughter Leigha Denne opened the event, speaking in front of a capacity audience at Horntye.

In other fights ion the night Armand Herczeg was crowned the ICO Light welter-weight European Champion, winning a closely-contested bout over five rounds against Enzo Barcos.

Luke Wallace threw everything he had at Valentin Moureau for five rounds. In control throughout Luke was on top form! Valentin was a tough lad and showed he was worthy to be in the ring with Luke. At the final bell Luke was crowned ICO Junior 55kg max European Champion.

Jack Dilloway and Rytis Danelius had a five round battle. Jack won the bout and was crowned ICO Junior 69.9kg Five Nations Champion.

Lilly Anderson smashed her way through five rounds to take the ICO 55.5kg max European title beating Noemie Melgar from France. Lilly hits hard and did not stop but you have to give credit to Noemie, she took everything and kept coming back for more, the heart of a lion.

Phoebe Cumisky won all five rounds over her game opponent Alize Varlet from TFA France. Alize must of made it hard work for Phoebe as she was still standing at the end of the fifth and final round and to be fair most of Phoebe’s opponent are laying down by this point. Phoebe was crowned ICO Junior 55kg World Champion.

Adbul Smew from Lyons gym won the ICO Super heavy-weight title beating local lad Craig Douglin. It was a close fight, that for me was in the balance and could have gone either way. From an instructors point of view it was nice to watch two 100kg plus men move and kick like super middle weights.

For me this was the biggest and best show I’ve ever promoted, which was amazing as we were running against another big show on the same evening. Thank you once more to all involved and being apart of the show.

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