For the first time, six local kickboxers from the Murray River Thai Boxing Gym in Mulwala will compete in Melbourne.
Twenty-five-year-old Hannah Gibbons, Will Taylor and Rory Cooper-Jones, both aged 21, and Zach McMahon, 19, will compete as lightweights and light middleweight Tyler Bourke, 20, will get to know the St Albans Ultimate Mauy Thai fight centre on Saturday, November 11. All will contest three one-and-a-half minute rounds.
On Sunday, November 12, light heavyweight 85kg Matt Levett, 25, will fight at Chelsea Heights Hotel in three, two minute rounds.
“No-one from here has ever fought in the Victorian Amateur Martial Arts Association,” kickboxing trainer Nick Davis told the Yarrawonga Chronicle.
“The Martial Arts Association was formed two years ago. We’ve been sparring in regional areas like Wangaratta and Cobram, and hardly lost a round. I saw a really good opportunity to take our team to Melbourne.”
Nick, 38, has been kickboxing for 15 years. A local plasterer with his well known brother’s business, Matt Davis - who has captained both Yarrawonga and Mulwala in football - Nick is a qualified mixed martial arts trainer and professional kickboxer.
He has trained under some huge names in the sport, including Mark (The Hammer) Castagnini. Castagnini is founder and head instructor of Hammer’s Gym in Nunawading and one of the most highly respected names in Australian Muay Thai Kickboxing.
“I’ve tried to bring a new level to our local kickboxers,” Nick said. “I’ve been fortunate enough to train under Hammer, also Nugget McNaught who is a world renowned kickboxer , an Australian living in Bangkok.
“They have such impressive training methods. I very strongly believe you go through the grassroots training and work yourself up through the various stages.
“Hopefully we’ll have some professional kickboxers before too long. Matt Levett - I’m 100 per cent confident he’ll become a pro and I’m sure some others will too in time.”
Nick has helped out at the gym in Mulwala with boxing but with the growing interest in kickboxing, Nick devotes most of his time to kickboxing.
“We are the Murray River Kickboxing Gym and the boxing is the Murray River Boxing Gym. But we get the name ‘Murray River’ in there so people can easily identify us,” he said.
“I’m aiming to have two events here next year and get some big names to visit us.”
Nick took to kickboxing like a duck to water. “I’m really passionate about it,” he said. “It’s awesome, a real saviour to me because I was feeling down 15 years ago. Kickboxing’s great stress relief, great for fitness and self defence. It gives you confidence.
“We’ve got a bit of a family environment here and more members would be welcome. It’s the best fighting gym outside Melbourne. We look after our fighters and have all the protective gear.”
Strong performances in Melbourne this weekend and you will hear a lot more about our locals in the bigger league.