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WAKO New Zealand recently run two major international tournaments to end their 2006 tournament run. The first was a Semi-Contact & Light Continuous competition, followed one week later by the Full Contact tournament which not only included a national title but three World titles organised by the WFKKO (World Freestyle, Karate & Kickboxing Organisations)
Master Cris Janson-Piers, the principal director of the BFKKO and National Coach to GB for WAKO GB took a team out to Te Awamutu, New Zealand consisting of 2 of his local clubs Karate students, Karl Collins (35) North Anston and Luke Farmer (16) Aston and 3 of his kick boxer’s that he trains as national coach Karen Dews, Featherstone, Marlon “The Game” Hunt, Suffolk, who Cris professionally manages and Marty-Lee “Mad Dog” Wilson from Newcastle.
WAKO OCEANIA OPEN POINTS COMPETITION
All fighters were fighting under the auspices of the British Freestyle Karate and Kickboxing Organisation. Karl Collins was to fight his last fight before he will move into the veterans’ category after many many years of trials and tribulations both at gradings and competition. He has trained alongside Luke Farmer over the last 5 months solidly 6 days a week for this event. They were both aware that they could meet anywhere in the competition as despite their age differences they were in the same age category as 16 year olds were classes as adults. They had also had private lessons every week off their other coach Kerry-Louise who most know as a multiple World Champion in many styles from Karate to Full Contact. This elevated their fighting skills beyond belief and they both felt confident on leaving Great Britain for the journey that would take 27 hours. They only thing they feared was jet lag as they were fighting a day and half after their arrival. Good preparation and rest was to ensure their well being!
After a great reception at Auckland airport by Mr Rick Dobson the president of WAKO Oceania the group were transported to the Phantom Kickboxing Headquarters where they were to live in Big Brother type style, which added to the excitement of the trip.
Sunday 13th August saw the WAKO International cup that was an Open Word Level event.
This was to be the first outing for the British Team, who had been welcomed by every member of public they had bumped into in the town of Te Awamutu. Hospitality of a different kind, second to none!
Karl and Luke were lined up pre fight and could see the competition they had and new it would not be easy. The New Zealand National Champion being one of their opponents.
Karl was first up and recorded a 9-0 victory which immediately showed the other competitors the GB squad had not travelled thousands of miles to lose. Then Luke Farmer took his fight also in the first round. Later on Karl again proving his determination placed himself in the final after winning again. This just left Luke to win again and the two Brits would face each other in the final!! Luke Farmer had a really tough opponent in New Zealand’s National Champion. As Luke’s nerves started to show, Kerry and Cris assured him he had done the training for this fight and he could do it!
That he did, winning by 2-1 to the shock of the home crowd.
So it was now an all British final with one fighter to be a winner at World level.
Both fighters started off very carefully, however an early mistake by Farmer allowed Collins to get the early point advantage, a place Kerry had told them they had to be in each fight, so whilst playing on Luke’s mind, he got caught again. Luke was strong and made a come back, however he started to feel the pressure as Karl just seemed to have said to himself, it’s been a long time and this is mine and no one is taking it off me!
The final score saw a tearful Collins raise a Union Jack behind Luke Farmer and himself on the winner’s podium after taking the fight 10-6 in a final that would make anyone proud to be British. Luke said “I was pleased to get through the first round, so believe me Silver is great, it will be mine next time!”
Other major winners at the tournament were Carl Van Roon, a multiple ITF World champion and also former WAKO New Zealand team captain at the 2005 World champ in Hungary. Mark Trotter, fairly new at WAKO Competitions but a major force to be reckoned with. Young Gary sawyer from OREWA TKD took the boys 13-15 -57Kg crown, Max Dobson as usual took the under 12 -37Kg Boys. Tuari Dawson took the Musical forms men’s title. Joshua Scandlyn took the junior Musical forms. Boys under 12 -47Kg was Jamie McNeil. Tessa Gyde of Toa took the Ladies +75Lg Semi. Laura Wilson-Simms of Toa took the Ladies -75Kg Semi, both former NZ Team, Ladies Semi -60Kg was Impact fighter Carlina Dillen. Girls under 12 -37Kg was won by U Hokai of WFMA, Roisin Giles of Under 12 -47Kg was the winner. WAKO ran for the first time in New Zealand, Light Continuous fighting. This was a hit and enjoyed by many. NJ King of Shinjo kai was the victor. J Broughton did a great job in the Mens -74 Light Continuous. Carl Van Roon tok the -84 Light Continuous, his 2nd Crown in the day. Tessa Gyde also took her 2nd Gold in the day with the +75 Light continuous. And Goergie Tutaki took the girls light continuous +75 Kgs. A great day for all. Unfortunately not everyone was able to be printed. WAKO proved again their tournaments were being ranked as one of the better providers in New Zealand. The winners and major players are now being considered for the 2007 World Champs in Switzerland.
Now that the first leg was over all attention turned to the full contact fighters, however they still had another week of training, dieting and preparation to concentrate on.
During this time all fighters were treated to the biggest welcome that could be bestowed on anyone. The Mayor invited the whole British squad into chambers and laid on food and refreshments, later giving a gift of a Maori carved fishing hook to Master Cris Janson-Piers. The local school asked for the fighters to go in and sign autographs and give motivational speeches.
Local business’ bent over backwards: The cinema gave free admission along with the events centre and sports complex, The Redoubt pub gave free meals to the fighters and hosted a meet the fighters evening, plus and were to host an after fight party.
Breakfasts were welcomed at the “Old Bank” and some Great after fight Guinness was on draught at the “Ale House”
Rick’s wife Adele hosted us one night for a great meal and thanks to one of the club members and judges who leant us a minibus free of charge which enabled us to travel and see the beautiful sights of New Zealand including Rotorua and the mud pools and geysers, also the caves at Waitomo and the Maori Welcome that just could not be missed.
WFKKO FULL CONTACT WORLD TITLE NIGHT
Saturday the 18th August proved that the World title fights sanctioned by the World Freestyle Karate and Kickboxing Organisation, were at the top of the days entertainment as 1500 spectators flooded into the ASB Bank Stadium in the Te Awamutu Events Centre straight after the New Zealand Australia rugby test, plus the local side WAIKATO playing prior to this!
The support bouts and New Zealand National title were all sanctioned by WAKO and Rick Dobson had done himself and WAKO proud by organising such a professionally run event.
Two local warriors, “Bad Boy” Brad Johanson and Joel Nadin were to take on the finest British Athletes, Wilson already British and 3 times World Champion at the 67-71 kilo mark who had lost weight to try to attain another World title at 63.5-67kg. He was to fight Joel Nadin a late replacement for Wiki Tutaki after he fell seriously ill with Meningitis, luckily he is now ok. Nadin, a K1 fighter although late was in the best shape of his life.
Hunt incredible at 84kg, already WAKO and BFKKO British champion, contending for the Vacant World Cruiserweight title against a fit and ready Brad Johanson. Both these boys last fights were in Hungary, although at different weights were both stopped by foreign opponents, Brad the bigger career, but Hunt having higher quality matches and a bigger KO rate so very evenly matched.
Karen Dews the WAKO British Heavyweight Champion was to take on World Muay Thai Champion Sue Latta from Palmerston North. Both known for big punch power but Latta the obvious favourite due to experience.
The night was a hit from the start, a Maori tribal dance group opened the evening before the fights got going. Ray Sefo gym had placed some fighters had Aaron Dixons, but they all seemed to have difficulty with the Full Contact Kickboxing rules of now knees, seeing Rays Harley Love getting disqualified for Knees and Aarons Jonny Kennedy finding himself under the same rule after hitting Doug McWatters with a jumping Knee and causing 12 stitches in the National title, a fight he looked good for. Toa Pete Thompson looked incredible at the lower weight of Middle weight after winning and fighting at world level in Light heavy. He had a good fight with Huntly Blake Harbottle but a spinning Hook Kick dropped Blake in the 3rd, he fought on but lost on points.
The three world title fights were announced and the local Mayor gave a rousing speech, all fighters attended the ring and stood to both national anthems, the wars were then began.
First fighter up was Marty-Lee Wilson, who entered the arena to a big friendly hometown welcome with Joel Nadin entering the ring in style by using the ropes as ladders.
Kihikihi’s Joel Nadin rose to the occasion, fully extending Britain’s Marty Wilson for the world title. Wilson, a 3 x world light middleweight champion commented that he was amazed how strong Nadin was. “I hit him with shots that have knocked others out. But he just kept coming” After 8 rounds Wilson was victorious with a unanimous points win, giving the UK the first of the nights titles. This was a close fight which gave Nadin a huge lift, unfortunately he had to go to work straight after the fight and leave Wilson to the party.
Next up was the long awaited ladies super heavy weight title between New Zealands Sue Latta and Karen Dews of GB it was a hard fight for both girls. Latta, boxing extremely hard with full power, whilst Dews used skill and fast flowing combinations. Karen knew the fight would be hard against this World Muay Thai and Oceania pro boxing champion, but was disappointed to learn the judges gave Latta a unanimous points decision. Disappointed but had to accept the judges decision, both National and international referees.
The main event of the evening had got to be hometown hero Brad Johannson against Marlon Hunt for the vacant World cruiserweight title. Hunt, with an 80% KO record, obviously gave cause for concern. From the outset it was clear to see the power of Hunt which stunned him a few times and resulted it 2 standing 8 counts, in round one and seven. Johannson took the fight back to Hunt, having him on the ropes a few times but the Brit was too quick and strong. His speed on his combinations was lightening fast, hitting the target on most occasions. Although the home crowd gave Brad 110% support they could not stop the judges voting unanimously in Hunts favour. Rick Dobson agreed this was one of the best fights he had ever seen. Agreeing with the results, Dobson showed an interest in a re-match and also bringing other fighters over to GB in the near future.
The friendship and bond forged between Cris Janson-Piers and Rick Dobson was amazing, “We hit it off instantly” said Cris, “He’s a great guy and we think alike in a lot of our ways”. So much was this a friendship made, Cris and Rick are twinning their clubs to show the true sportsmanship everyone who was involved shared. The team travelled back home safely with trophies and memorabilia in tact, stopping at Australia, Thailand and Dubai on the way home. A trip of a lifetime with memories that will remain with us forever.
New Zealand fighters can rest assured that GB will always be in their corner at the World and European championships….that’s as long as they do not meet before the final!
Chief Coach – Phantom Kickboxing
National President – WAKO (NZ)
President - WAKO (Oceania)
PO Box 397
Te Awamutu, 2400
Ph: +64 27 255 2522 Fax: +64 7 870 4347
Photos from the tournament
Latta in action against Dews
Jahansson taking Hunt on to the ropes
Nadin just out of reach of World Champ Wilson