Malta wins WKN Team Belt

Monday, December 3, 2012, 9:08

by Reuben Azzopardi

Gladiators Night was another success as Malta achieved its latest Kickboxing success when local athletes won the World Kickboxing Network (WKN) Team Title Belt versus their counterparts from Northern Ireland.

In the final Kickboxing event for the year Gladiators Promotion brought six kickboxers from Prokick Kickboxing, a renowned club in Northern Ireland, to face our local athletes. The Maltese team was made up of five members from Ying Yang Kickboxing and one member from Fight Factory. By the end of the night Malta won five matches out of which three were with a KO.

Master Noel Mercieca and Isaac Chetcuti, founders of Gladiators Promotions put together a night for the sport enthusiasts that included nine matches in Kickboxing, K1 and Boxing. This competition was organized in collaboration with the WKN which is putting Malta more and more on the international level in this sport.

Before the team competition there were three supporting matches which were won by Daren Doneo (Ying Yang), Brandon Borg (Art of Fighting) and Christian Schembri (Wu Shu Ky). The main even was a Professional match between the local professional kickboxer Daniel “the Jet” Zahra (Ying Yang) and Johnny Smith with K1 rules.

Noel Azzopardi (Ying Yang) Vs Steven Forde: Azzopardi started pressing by attacking the legs and Forde made counterattacks with leg techniques. Both athletes continued to react to each other’s attacks both with high and low strikes. It was just in the 11th second of the first round that Azzopardi entered with Boxing technique and found Forde’s jaw which brought him down for the count. Thus bringing the first victory for Team Malta.

Joseph “il-Blata” Dimech (Ying Yang) Vs Gareth Anderson: Dimech kept head to head with Gareth but never backing up. Anderson was attacking hard but the Maltese by living up to his nickname, “the Boulder”, Dimech kept on pressing and attacking while striking and hitting hard his target. In more than one occasion he got his point by a jumping spinning back kick. Dimech won this match by points.

Isaac Chetcuti (Ying Yang) Vs Darren Pope: All the rounds were balanced with one athlete getting the upper hand for an instance then the other doing a counter to get the advantage. It was a close match and the decision even closer which gave the victory by points to Chetcuti.

Tyrone Borg (Fight Factory) Vs Alex Coicoi: The first round was a little calm but Borg managed to give a knock down at the bell ring which saved Coicoi. In the second round the Irish athlete delivered hard hits to the body but Borg attacked even harder. Coicoi didn’t come out for the third round due to a corner’s decision to forfeit the match.

Lucienne Laferla Rosso (Ying Yang) Vs Samantha Robb: This was the only female match and both of them had leg protection as well. It was a hard competed match as both kept on going in attacking and blocking. Despite the fact that Rosso was 13 years older she kept tooth and nail with her younger adversary. The judges gave an extra round of two minutes and in the end gave the first and only victory to Team Northern Ireland.

Daniel Zahra (Ying Yang) vs Johnny Smith: This was a professional 3×3 match with full K1 rules. Smith started fast taking the fight to the Maltese athlete but showed his inexperience with the knee clench as he felt the full force of Zahra’s knee in his face sending the Belfast kickboxer crashing to the canvas. Back to his feet, Smith, caught Zahra with a left upper-cut and a hard body kick but the Maltese star was not to be denied and hassled – Zahra went straight back to work with his knee strikes and flooder Smith a second time. Billy Murray, Smith’s coach, stopped the fight as there was 45 second left in the first round.

It is time that the Local sport authorities recognize that this is a sport discipline which is growing fast in Malta with very promising upcoming fighters. Some of them are also established ones who compete locally and also abroad, one of which on a professional level. Kickoxing in Malta should be given more attention and space.

Zahra is already scheduled to compete in Belgium next February in another professional K1 match. For more information visit www.yingyangkickboxing.com or contact Master Noel Mercieca on 79208283 or merciecanoel@yahoo.co.uk





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