Fighters from Hastings Kickboxing Academy walked in to the ‘Kombat Zone’ at the Casino Rooms in Rochester last night and they came away with victories under their belts.
Nick Lelliott was in a rematch against Matt Geere, the man he’d beaten in Hastings last autumn, and not only did Nick win his fight by a unanimous decision, he went on to in the award for Fighter of the Night.
First of the HKA fighters in to the ring was Ellis Nelson who had been away from competition for some time, HKA head coach Carl Denne said: “Ellis was nervous but ready to do the work needed. We knew we had a hard bout ahead of us against Jay Taylor from Kingdom Kickboxing a known strong and talented kicker. But Ellis didn’t let this phase him and went straight to work, controlling the ring for most of the bout – it was no easy win and we had to dig for it, but we did and at the final bell it was Ellis who had his hand raised up high.
“This young man has really shone over the last few months, training and coaching, he’s a real credit to the team and notched up HKA’s first win of the evening.”
Next up was Callum Helsdown who was also facing a tough opponent, a well know lad from the Paul Wiffen Academy called Jack Lake.
Round one saw the honours even for three quarters of the round until the hands from Jack start to pay off – his mobility wasn’t as swift as Callum’s and he looked a little less flamboyant but he was picking his shots with good timing.
Carl says: “For me we had the first round and Callum looked on form. For some reason he used his old gum shield and it kept falling out as it didn’t fit. This frustrated Callum and got in his head, and saw him losing a point as this happened quite a few times. Callum became disheartened as the second round progressed and started to switch. If I’m honest in round three we gave the fight away by not returning fire. At the end of the third round, although Callum was unhurt and he could have soaked up the punches all day, it was obvious he wasn’t going to win so the bout was stopped.”
Carl says that was Callum’s toughest match to date: “We have worked so hard and he is a completely different fighter to last year, I look forward to continuing tweaking and making him the machine he deserves to be.”
Next up was Nick Lelliott in a rematch. Nick beat Matt Geere last year at HKA’s home show at Horntye. Matt’s team were quick to ask for a rematch and the challenge was accepted.
Carl says: “After a tough bout at the end of the year for Nick it was back to the grind in January. We knew Matt was going to come for revenge, he’s been training hard and sparring around the south east. He’s a tricky fighter and wasn’t going to make it easy for us.
“This time the fight was over four rounds. Nick’s strong and took control very early showing Matt we were not there to play around. He cut Matt’s eye in the first 30 seconds, but Matt was still there and throwing dangerous shots, so much so, in the corner after round one Nick said to me, ‘My left eye’s gone blurry!’ I told him, ‘well fight with one eye then!’
Nick continued to set the pace and control things throughout the fight, landing some incredible combinations and spinning kicks and forcing Matt to take a standing eight count. If I’m honest Nick then started to head hunt and wanted to finish the fight early but this lost focus and energy allowing Matt to land a few of his own, reminding Nick it wasn’t over yet.
“In round four Matt had only one thing that could work and that was to KO Nick, and so he tried but after the first half of the round it settled down and towards the end Nick stepped it up once more.” He went on to win by a unanimous decision.
Carl says it was a demonstration of ‘pure class’ and of ‘pure kickboxing’ and the celebrations continued as Nick went on to win Fighter of the Night.
Next up was George French known as ‘Baby-shark’, taking part in a England vs France battle. His opponent had been changed at the last minute but Carl says the basic game plan didn’t change and the intention was to, “keep tidy, work hard and see what comes at us.”
George’s opponent was Antoine Mineaker of team Lamouret, who, on the opening bell, came straight out for English blood, taking George by surprise. But he quickly balanced the score and settled in to the bout.
Carl says: “Both action men battled on and exchanged blow for blow. Although I had us two rounds to one, the French thought their power and aggression had won the fight. At the final bell it was close but Antoine hadn’t thrown enough kicks, George landing the cleaner shots and therefore winning the bout.”
Carl says: “Last night there was one thing that we, as a team, set out to do and that was to change our mindset. My guys are always the ‘nice’ guys and while I love that we are not generally known for aggression. I wanted to change that and from the feedback we received I think we can say it was a success.
“There is always a winner and a loser, that’s the sport we play but last night I felt we had four wins and could not be happier with the team!”