HKA’s first–time fighters face their challenges head-on

Hastings Kickboxing Academy (HKA) was out at the TKO light contact event in Maidstoneon Sunday where a number of members of the HKA team were competing in their first ever fights.

HKA’s Chief Instructor Carl Denne gives us a detailed run down on the action from the day,

Carl says: “We were out with a new team and there were plenty of challenges for us but as always we faced them head-on.

“First up was Abigail Jordan, battling against Clio, after watching her warm up, Abi had it in her head that she was doomed. Clio has had five fights and will be a future champion. In the first round Abi tried hard and struggled to find her feet, it was a great display of guard and more importantly resilience. By round three Abi started to fight back, finding her feet but by this time it was too late to save the fight.

The HKA team and its supporters.

“For me Abi showed true grit and even when completely outgunned she battled through the war and came out the other side a stronger fighter. We didn’t win the decision but will took many other wins from this mini-war.

“Khira Pells was also having her first fight for HKA, having only been sparring a few months she is very new to the game and had another uphill battle against a taller stronger opponent. What Khira lacked in height she made up for in perseverance – she really has the heart of a lion.

“Khira didn’t stop moving forward and she was taking on the chin as a consequence. Although the other girl was landing more shots, Khira made up for it in moving forward. Another great learning curve and a real test for the team – well-done Khira.

“Sanjay Rajan was also having his first fight a took a very spirited win. Both young lads battled for control and were both really going for it. It was not the neatest of bouts but it is always hard when both fighters have so much drive to win. Sanjay sent his opponent to the canvas as they challenged each other.

“Tayla was yet another first time out for HKA. Again she is new to sparring and although she is talented she was also very nervous.

“The bout started with he opponent showing her strength and trying to dominate, taking Tayla by surprise. But after 30 seconds Tayla found her range and settled down, stopping her girl with a perfectly timed front kick. After a short pause we were back on but this time with Tayla in control. This didn’t stop her opponent from coming forward at full power trying to rebalance the fight but Tayla was more prepared landing some great shots and landing two impeccable superman shots on the button, controlled and perfectly timed hits. Tayla won her first fight for the team.

“Drew Rogers was also fighting for the first time, although the more skilled fighter froze up once in the ring. It was two very hard rounds for Drew who struggled to find her feet and range, the other girl was just too much for her this time. In round three Drew started to get frustrated and started to fight back, putting her girl on the back foot a few times, but it wasn’t meant to be this time.

“Steve Willis, like the others is only a few months into sparring and wanted to step it up and jump into the ring, It was a very enthusiastic battle with both men trying their hardest. Steve was matched against a slightly more skilled and fitter man and found out how hard this game can be, a real battle, both men trying their hardest until the final bell, but it wasn’t to be Steve’s day this time.

“Last up was Jake Payne and another first-time fighter for the team. We saw something special in Jake this weekend, he was controlled, composed and most of all listened to every word that was said to him by his coaches, like a puppet on strings he worked with us in a pretty much perfect display of teamwork.

“Jake won all three rounds by controlling his power, he went ahead on points and started putting together combinations and drills that we’ve worked on in the gym for the last few weeks. This was a great Kickboxing bout and we’re looking forward to watching Jake as he develops into a great young fighter.

“Abi, Drew, Tayla, Khira, Sanjay, Steve and Jake are all new to the competition scene and this light contact show was a great learning experience for them all.”

For more details on training with the team, working out or going into competition visit

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