Sport writer Kieren Williams reports on the UoB Kickboxing Team’s latest competition successes in a four-part special for Redbrick Sport, in Part 2, we move through the latter end of the middleweights and into the Heavyweight Beginner Males
Picking up right where we left off, no witty comments or poorly made comparisons, our president Bradley Amos went next in the male middleweight intermediate category and he sent out a friendly reminder why he is the best kickboxer UoB has to offer.
By friendly reminder I mean he [insert superlative synonymous with destroying and obliterating here] his opponent. He was cool, calm and collected and barely broke a sweat as he repeatedly beat his opponent off the mat, even the referee could see how one sided it was. He won by unanimous decision and his opponent stumbled off in the wrong direction before finally making it back to his corner.
Amos then had to run off to corner half a dozen other UoB fighters and deserves a special mention for this, as well as fighting his own battle he helped the rest of us fight ours’ – I can tell you from experience focusing on your own fight is hard: focusing on a dozen others is no small task. Slowly but surely his category worked through their first round. His next opponent had a spring in his step as he stepped out onto the mat and the two touched gloves. It turns out an axe kick to the head is a great remedy for a spring in one’s step. The step up to intermediate showed, the two experienced fighters traded blows back and forth but Amos had the edge, the sharp agility he’s used to punch me in the face so many times was finally directed at someone else and god was it nice to see. Two rounds done, the judges cast their decision and Amos was victorious.
The next fight was delayed slightly as Dave – our coach – raced from mat to mat, cornering everyone (and even a few non-UoB fighters – what can I say we’re nice people), but after racing from another victory he made it to this quarter final fight for Amos. His opponent was clearly experienced and tougher than his previous one. The fight was close, it swung back and forth from fighter to fighter with some expecting a third gruelling round and others in the crowd edging towards Amos, but the victory was granted to the Lancaster fighter, despite his surprise he took the victory – I would have too to be fair – Amos’ opponent went on to win their category. But UoB were still on the rise, Amos fought fantastically throughout and continued our amazing form at Leeds this year.
Keeping with a chronological theme – my tutor would be so disappointed I’m not doing this thematically right now – next up were our heavyweight beginners, Andrew Cooke and Kieren Williams. Their 12:30 start was delayed, adding to the nerves but a bit over an hour later their category began. Both fighters were at the back end of the first round, Williams was up first in the fifth fight of their division, stepping out onto the mat against a larger opponent the fight started fast and took its toll on the two. Williams favoured his legs against his opponent who had a background in boxing, and it showed as he favoured his fists, piling the pressure on the UoB fighter. Blows were traded hard and fast and both fought well but after the two rounds the decision went against Williams. Whilst out at his first fight, he had fought impressively against an opponent who would progress to the final of their division.
The very next fight was Cooke, up against an opponent who was almost as tall as he is – that in itself is an impressive feat – Cooke remained calm after watching his teammate bow out so early. He fought hard, and he fought smart, pushing his opponent right through to the end of the second round. The decision came from the judges as a draw, meaning a third round for the tired fighters. Cooke came out his corner aggressively, forcing his opponent back hard and relentlessly for the one minute and thirty seconds of the round. The decision came again and this time it went in Cooke’s decision. His first ever fight done and dusted, he turned his attention to his second, incidentally, this fight would never come. Due to an opponent too scared to face Cooke – or they just didn’t turn up – he had no opponent to face and as such got a bye to the semi-final.
This next fight came around quickly as the category was trimmed of fighters, leaving only four left. Cooke’s semi-final fight was a tense affair, punctuated by heavy kicks that both fighters dealt out and received when the second round ended the judges again decided on a third round. Reminiscent of Simon Pegg in Run Fatboy Run Cooke pushed through the wall for one minute and thirty seconds that would decide it all, landing kick after punch after kick. At the end of it, after round three, it was all up to the judges. All three voted Cooke’s way and put him into the final, UoB’s first finalist! But certainly not our last.