Successful night for local kickboxers

Heads-up . . . Invercargill’s Rico Britt (left) is emphatically stopped by a head kick thrown by Timaru’s Will Knight. PHOTOS: NICK BROOK

It was a successful night at the office for a pair of Timaru kickboxers as they competed at Balclutha’s Battle at the Bridge.

Held at the brand new TPŌMA centre on Saturday, 30 combat warriors squared off for 15 matches in the K1 kickboxing discipline.

Featured on the card was Timaru’s own Will Knight, 16, representing Knight MMA/ Carlson Gracie South Canterbury.

Taking on Invercargill’s Rico Britt, Knight looked to get some minutes under his belt prior to his New Zealand squad call up for the WKA World Championships in June.

Two and a-half fast, aggressive rounds went by with Knight using strong kicks to keep the range.

Body shots proved the difference for the young fighter — opening up and eventually stopping Britt with an indisputable knockout.

Knight said a lot of hard work went into his performance.

‘‘My opponent was jacked. We knew he would have some big punches in him with the size of his body, so being disciplined was the key, not getting caught in a brawl and keeping my distance.

‘‘It was a very good fight but the last round, dad said concentrate on his body, which ultimately opened up the head kick. I always appreciate the opportunity and me and my opponent had a great chat afterwards.

‘‘Now it’s time to rest, prepare for Scotland, and help my teammates achieve their goals.’’

Fighting fit . . . Timaru’s Shade Darroch (left) rips a knee to the body of his opponent Sol Kim, of Invercargill.

Timaru’s Shade Darroch also put on a strong and aggressive showing — looking totally at home in the ring.

Despite almost being stopped in a stunning trade off with his Invercargill opponent Sol Kim, Darroch battled through, picking up a unanimous decision win.

Knight MMA/Carlson Gracie South Canterbury coach Wayne Knight said he was proud of the performances his fighters had displayed this year.

‘‘The training in preparation for Scotland has been getting harder for the boys. With our fight season kicking in again, it’s incredible to see so many of our guys stepping up to the plate and showing me they want to compete.

‘‘Luca Shaw kicked off our club’s first fight for the year in Dunedin at prize fight championship and was unfortunate to get a split decision loss. He showed he has the same grit his older brother Dom does, and will be a force in future bouts.

‘‘Kane Tinkler fought in Christchurch this Friday gone, and proved to me he is technically the best fighter in our gym. His style probably suits the oriental k1 style opposed to the norm and was also unfortunate to have suffered a loss.’’

He said it was great to see both Will and Shade pick up impressive victories in Balclutha.

‘‘ I’m very proud of the work ethic from our lads right now and I hope to carry this momentum forward and have everyone from our gym enjoying this ride.’’