Saturday 28th May will see fighters, from all areas in and surrounding Craigavon gather to attend the now long standing tradition of the annual kickboxing and boxing fight night at the Seagoe Hotel.
“The Gathering XI” has announced its bill of fighters and once more local promoters Davy Boyd and Mike Jefferson have suprassed themselves in bringing the Province’s top fighters to face Mid Ulster’s own men and women.
Top of the bill is a European title challenge, with a Spanish team flying in from Malaga to take on local Lurgan man, Simon Grey. Yet Simon is only one of five locals who are aiming to add title belts to their waists. For every fighter their bout is the most important and prestigious, but Bleary born and raised Simon Grey has the priviledge to be top of this prestigious bill. Simon is the “Quiet Man” of kickboxing, holding NI, British and Five Nations titles across various sanctioning bodies. Coach Davy Boyd has long known of his student’s talents and has invested heavily to fly a Spanish team in from Malaga to take on Simon in the Seagoe. The five round title bout will decide who is the best cruiserweight kickboxer in Europe, the local hope being that Simon adds another belt to his collection.
It is not however just kickboxing that is offered up for titles on this show but also the explosive style of K1, where knees and kicks to the legs are permitted. Here again David Boyd’s gym is offering up another young local talent in the shape of Lurgan lad,Patrick Doran. The Southern regional college student has high hopes after his meteoric rise in the sport over the past few years.
These high hopes and ambitions are mirrored by all the Local Portadown and Lurgan fighters including former motorbike star Mark Murphy, who challenges a Cookstown opponent for the NI middleweight title. Mark aims to go one further than his second place in the 2014 Ulster Championship and take pole postion and the NI title belt. Coach Alan Campbell is confident his protege can do the business and the whole gym and all of Portadown and Lurgan are right behind this popular local sports star.
Concluding the title quests for kickboxing is a Romanian fighter, coming out of KCAM kickboxing in Dungannon, who is taking on a seasoned Londonderry fighter. The last title bout is an Orthadox boxing title challenge with Gilford man, Sean McAtamney who has his sights set on a title belt fighting a tough Lithuanian fighter based in North Down.
One of the most intriguing fights of the night will be the battle between former undefeated heavyweight kickboxing champion Simon Forde from Portadown, as he takes on the current heavyweight kickboxing champion from Londonderry. Both men never met in kickboxing but will meet in a minus 90kg boxing match up. One of the favourite bouts of the evening are bound to come from a number of the derby match ups that are scheduled. Loughall lad Steven Preston is taking on Keith Radcliffe. Both men have a mix of wins and losses and pride is certainly at stake. Yet despite the result the one winner will be charity as both men are raising funds for the NI Children’s Hospice (Keith) and Autism Awareness (Steven). Other notable fighters to watch out for include Sharon Rogers, as she makes her debut in the ring in an effort to slice and dice her Lithuanian opponent from Dungannon,
This is a massive bill of 18 confirmed fights, no juniors, no exhibtions, just good old fashioned hard fought match ups and five title bouts in a four star hotel. Doors open at 6.30 till late, for an evening of competition, music and drink.