At the weekend Hastings Kickboxing Academy (HKA) took part in the WKO Five Nations tournament.
For the academy’s Chief Instructor Carl Denne it was a big day: “I just want to say how proud I am of the way the team conducted themselves, this was HKA’s first tournament in about seven years, so it was a real test for us.”
HKA clocked up an impressive nine wins collecting, five gold medals, five silvers and at the end of the day HKA was ranked fourth out of 45 gyms taking part.
Riley Davis was first up, “…he always packs a punch,” says Carl.
“On the day some categories were merged and that meant Riley ended up fighting a talented lad about eight inches taller, a few years older and five to six kilos heavier and at only 22kgs this is a lot.
“This didn’t faze the young lion, for the whole fight he just kept on battling his way through the uphill challenge. Not once did he stop or give up, but the lad was just too strong, It was an impressive battle and one we will learn a lot from,” says Carl.
Leyton Glover Simms, went the distance, and had a war with possibly one of the stronger competitors from the whole day. Leyton narrowly missed out on the win in a fight that could have gone either way,
Carl says: “It was a tough fight against a fighter who went on to win another five categories and won two by knock out. Sometimes just surviving is a win.”
Charlie Drury won yet again increasing his unbeaten record and battling his way into the finals.
Varl says: “Charlie won in great form, being warned for power a few times, he really doesn’t know what potential he has.” He was crowned Rookie WKO 5 nations Light Contact 15-16 years, -58kgs Champion
Taylor Ranson had spent most of Thursday evening in hospital having blood tests and she really wasn’t on top form. But she still wanted to compete and after winning her first battle she continued and went on to win two fights and was crowned WKO 5 nations female Light Contact 14-15 years, -52kgs Champion with a unanimous win.
It was a big step up for Jake Payne at the weekend’s event. He has only been fighting for a few months in a very close fight that could have gone either way.
Jake was the aggressor and in control and while Carl says he was possibly not as clean with technique it was very hard to judge a clear winner, “I’m still very proud of this young new talent and can’t wait to work more with him,” says Carl.
Callum Helsdown was involved in a full contact battle and was the clear winner in the WKO 5 nations final.
Carl says: “He was really in control, we’ve been working really hard with Callum over the last six months, fine-tuning his skills. He is fighting harder and fighting stronger young adults, it was a very hearty performance against a strong lad, Callum battled through to a strong win. Being crowned WKO 5 Male Full contact 14-15 years -62.9kgs Champion.
Sanjay Subramaniam once again “put it on opponent from the start” says Carl, as he won in just 16 seconds of the first round in the final, stopping his man with a perfectly timed round house kick to the head. His opponent withdrew from the bout seeing Sanjay crowned HKA’s fourth champion as he claimed the WKO 5 nations rookie Light Contact 9-10 years, -30kgs Champion,
Jake Willard was honoured to be involved in the only title fight of the event for a feature bout at the 5 Nations event. Bringing the event to and standstill, the other two rings stopping to watch the title bout unfold, as over 400 spectators watched on, for the southern area kickboxing title,
So proud, heart of a lion, for me fighters of the day. Jake did everything he could have done. He fought five very close rounds, both lads would not give in, Jake just missing out on the belt at the final bell.
Both Charlotte Ham and Carrie Copper, had to keep their legs on the ground and turn their skills to boxing as there were no ladies for them to fight in Kickboxing, Both Carrie and Charlotte clearly winning their battles and ended up facing each other in the final.
Carrie had been out of action for two years due to injury and it was Charlottes first-ever day of competition. Unlike a lot of gyms, no team orders were given and both ladies were told to battle for the win, Charlotte went onto beat Carrie in a war, giving the crowd a worthy final. Referee Pete Richardson could comfortably stand back and enjoy the battle.
Charlotte was crowned WKO 5 nations sport boxing Ladies Light Contact 65+
HKA’s tally of champions from the event were: Charley Dury, Taylor Ranson, Sanjay Rajan, Charlotte Ham and Callum Helsdown, all wining and being crowned, 2019 WKO 5 nations champions.
Carl says: “It’s a huge thank you to our sponsor John Ham of Hams Travel for taking us up as a team in one of their great coaches, along with Raj Sharmalan Subramaniam for supplying catering for the team throughout the day.
“None of this would be possible without the team, I have to say a huge thank you to the whole team for helping warm-up, pad, corner, and prepare the team throughout this mental day of battle, with Jenny Fry staying back at base running classes and steering the ship.”