The power and the glory! Fighters show their prowess at HKA Fight Night 10

Saturday night saw Hastings Kickboxing Academy stage its tenth ‘Fight Night’. A total of 26 fights made up the packed card and a capacity crowd at Horntye enjoyed a classic night of kickboxing, boxing and K1.

Here HKA’s Chief Instructor Carl Denne reviews the performance of the fighters from his own club on the night

Pre-fight briefing.

First up was Sanjay Ranjan against the talented Andrew Gibson from Impact gym. It was a very spirited and hard-fought contest writes Carl Denne.

Sanjay did his absolute best and was very nervous about taking part in his first-ever full contact evening show. Andrew just had the edge though and while Sanjay did everything in his power to overcome his opponent at the final bell it just wasn’t enough to take the win.

Next up for HKA was Tayla Ranson versus Phoenix Sage a very skilled and talented young lady from Falcons Gym.

Phoenix was strong and hard and kept coming forward, her coach Mark had a game plan to try and beat Taylor’s long legs and long arms but thankfully Taylor managed to keep Phoenix away for most of the bout landing some incredible straight kicks to the body and head.

Tayla Ranson scored a victory over Phoenix Sage.

We had our own game plan and managed to outkick Phoenix, stopping her from coming in and causing too much damage. Once again this was Tayla’s first full-contact flight, she was very nervous backstage and we really felt the pressure but once we got in the ring we managed to do the job and get the win that we were hoping for.

Jordan Hiesley-White was up against Ryan Kilroy. This was, once again, a strong, tough, spirited battle between both men.

Jordan has worked extremely hard over the last few months developing some necessary skills and he managed to use these perfectly in the fight. On Saturday night we saw a completely new Jordan in the ring, for what was his first full-contact fight.

Jordan managed to walk his man down, throw some heavy shots and at the final bell he got another win for HKA.

Next up was Callum Helsdown who was fighting Jack Lake from PWA.

This was a rematch from earlier this year when Jack was successful in stopping Callum before the end of the fight. This time we devised a better game plan and worked very hard, successfully executing our plan perfectly on the night.

Jack was there for war and came out giving it 100 percent – but so did Callum.

This time Callum found his range much better using his longer limbs and movement to full effect. Throughout the fight Callum managed to take control of the fight and started to push Jack straight back into the corners, managing to stop the bout with Jack’s corner throwing in the towel towards the end of round three.


Callum was crowned the junior ICO southern area champion!

I’m so proud of both these young men, they are both extremely talented and are certainly future stars of kickboxing and it was a pleasure to have this fight on the card.

George French versus Shane Whitlock was the only boxing bout of the evening and was a great battle.

This was only George’s second boxing bout and what a great fight it was. George looked strong, most importantly of all he was composed which is something we have worked on for a few months and this helped George control the centre of the ring and find the gaps necessary to force a standing eight count with a ferocious body shot.

George French versus Shane Whitlock was the only boxing match on the card.

But this didn’t stop Shane, he got back up and battled on even stronger than before. But George was just too fast and too strong and he remained in control.

George won his second boxing match making him unbeaten and racking up another win for HKA.

Next up was Billy Fitzgerald versus Donovan Wint from Warriors gym and this was an all-out war for all three rounds with both men unwilling to back down and spritely goading each other on.

Billy was knocked down in the first round but somehow he got straight back up and managed to battle on, there was no question who won the fight but I’m extremely proud of Billy for taking the fight and throughout it he was getting stronger and stronger.

After the fight Donovan said to Billy “that it was the hardest fight he’s ever had” I have no doubt in my mind Donovan will be a world champion within two years and knowing Billy went the distance, he will learn and grow and this will make him an even greater fighter as he matures into a young adult.


A night of action.

Jake Willard versus Kye van Zelst was another epic fight. Both young men were complete warriors.

Jake was on point and on fire and managed to force a standing count in the first round.

In round two and three Kye managed to fight back evening the score with the bout ending as a split decision, and in the eyes of judges Kye winning the bout.

This was incredibly close and could’ve gone either way. I feel Jake was more aggressive and Kye landed the cleaner shots so it was down to the judges to decide which man they preferred on the night.

I’m very proud of Jake, he picked up an injury a week before and was unable to train for this bout towards the end but like a true warrior he got in the ring, he didn’t complain and he did what he had to do sadly this time it just wasn’t quite enough.

Saturday’s ‘Fight Night 10’ drew a capacity crowd to Horntye Sports Centre.

Leyton Glover Leyton Glover-Sims was taking part in his first full-contact fight, taking on Deacon Davock from TKMA.

Deacon was strong and fast and whatever Leyton tried to do Deacon had an answer for.

Leyton had trained very hard with this and has made the step from light contact into full contact, he fought with heart and honour and tried his very best and this is all we ask for from our fighters at HKA. Sometimes the man standing in front of you is just that little bit stronger but we win and we learn and this is how we grow and become greater fighters.

Jake Payne versus Max Bristow from BFK was another hotly contested battle. Both men went toe to toe for three rounds.

Jakes was another fighter taking part in his first full-contact fight and again he worked his absolute hardest controlling the fight from the centre of the ring. Both young men didn’t give up, both wanted to win but at the final bell Jake was just a little bit stronger and a little bit more skilled with his hand being raised high in victory at the end of the battle.

Charlie Drury versus Oscar Wolf from CMA was the next match and again for Charlie this was his first full-contact fight.

Oscar had beaten our Callum a few months ago and we knew this was gonna be a tough battle but this didn’t worry us and we relished the challenge.

Charlie started off looking strong but his taller, even stronger, opponent just managed to keep Charlie away with incredibly long legs and Charlie was not able to find his rhythm or his counters to get the win we’re after.

Charlie is a strong member of the team and he will come away from this learning a lot and coming back even stronger ready for his next one.

Last up for HKA was Carrie Cooper against Barbara Tenant from Kuei Ling.

Carrie has been out of the ring for over two years through injury so this was a comeback fight for her, fighting Barbara who is a strong young lady from up north who has a good number of wins under her belt with a few titles to her name too.

Carrie’s comeback fight ended in success.


This truly was three-rounds of carnage from both ladies. They stood Toe to toe and did not stop throwing shots, hands and legs for the whole bout.

It could have gone either way but for me Carrie landed a few more kicks and with a little bit more control in the centre of the ring and as a result Carrie’s hand was raised high at the end of three rounds.

I am so incredibly proud of the whole team, eleven HKA fighters taking part in our tenth home show.

All members of my team were amazing and I couldn’t have asked for any better, six wins including an ICO area title with only five defeats that in my mind could have gone either way – I am super happy with that.

I’d like to thank my staff, helpers, the runners and everyone who was involved in HKA Fight Night 10 making it such a success and I’m already looking forward to Fight Night 11.

For more details on HKA and training with this amazing team please visit HKA web site for more details on how they can help you today,

Showing off the victor’s spoils.

*Photographs courtesy of Jon Snapaway Photography

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