Sports

Irish titles for Newry Muay Thai

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Irish titles for Newry Muay Thai thumbnail CELEBRATING their success front row l-r Thomas McGarry, Keelan McEvoy, Shea Cleland, Gerard McEvoy, back row l-r Declan McAleenan coach, Oisin Fox, Ethan McAleenan and Sean Smyth Coach.

MUAY Thai in Newry is on the rise after Team Torres' young fighters won on the national stage at the weekend.

The Newry team entered five fighters in the Irish Muay Thai Open in Dublin, with 12-year-old Shea McClellan impressing so much he won the Fighter of the Tournament award.

Ethan McAleenan picked up his second Irish title at the event, after stopping his opponent by using knee-jabs in the first round of the final.

No-one would fight Irish Muay Thai title holder Oisin Fox, so he fought in a K1 fight against a Dublin and Derry tournament title holder and it was the Newry 15-year-old that came out on top with a brilliant performance.

Nine-year-old Keelan McAvoy lost out on a close decision in the 35k category, in a fight his coach thought he was unlucky to lose, while Thomas McGarry (12) fought intelligently but lost against a much more experienced fighter.

Team coach Declan McAleenan said he was delighted with how his lads performed and praised the effort of all his competitors.

"The club will be going two years in September so that's four Irish titles in less than two years and then Oisin also has a Cage Legacy title, so the club has gone from strength to strength," said McAleenan.

"Even the lads that didn't win medals surpassed my expectations." McAleenan thanked Sean Smyth for allowing him to start up the club for children and teenagers and admitted he has been taken aback by the attitude of some of his younger students.

"These lads are committed, they come out of school and come into the gym and train between 4pm and 6pm then go home for an hour and then come with me to Armagh to train and sometimes they are training from 4pm to 10.30pm," said McAleenan.

"It is not that there are massive numbers in classes, maybe between 10 or 15 in each class but the commitment is second to none. These guys would also train in Ju Jitsu classes too, so they do a lot of training.

"They simply eat, drink and sleep Muay Thai and it is great that they love it so much." And McAleenan reserved special praise for the Fighter of Tournament.

"I am over the moon for Shea, he fought brilliantly in Dublin and none of his opponents could deal with what he threw at them and it was the referee who picked the winner so Shea fully deserved his award." Next up, Oisin Fox could defend his Irish title in the Cage Legacy show in Drogheda next month but McAleenan also has his own big fight to contend later in the summer.

He will train in California next month in preparation for his next fight on July 22, in the Cage Legacy MMA show in Cork.

"They are taking a guy from a top gym in Sweden to fight me, so I will be ready for him," said McAleenan.

McAleenan's club-mate Marcin Zembanla will also be in action in Cork, so Newry will be well represented in the Rebel County this summer.

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