Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Comeback kid Gary has second shot at world kickboxing title

Gary Hamilton with Billy Murray of Prokick Gym in east Belfast

A SOUTH Belfast man has given himself a fighting chance of making history as he aims to become a world kickboxing champion for a second time at a major event planned for Belfast this year.

Gary Hamilton from the Donegall Road, had previously reigned as WKN's featherweight champion for several years but has not fought competitively for over a year.

Gary got involved in the sport at the age of 15, shaping him into the man that he is today and allowing him to be a role model for children coming in to the gym from as young as five and six years-old.

He is approaching his century fight at various different weight levels and has fought in most of the major countries in the world.

At the tender age of 33 Gary admitted that he had lost his way a little in recent months but is now ready to return for his showdown with the current world champion Daniel Zarha of Malta.

"This is it for me, the big one. I lost my way for a while but over the past 12 months I have worked hard with the belief that this might happen again for me," he said.

"There were times when I wanted to walk away from all the training and the commitment; it gets harder and harder as the years take their toll.

"My 2005 fight with Mohammad Samir in the Ulster Hall was an amazing night. He was the best in the world at the time and although I was in front in that fight, his true class shone through when it mattered most. This time i feel ready, wiser and more prepared for this opportunity."

The headline event is just one of a great card of fighting planned for the Ulster Hall this December, which will see fighters from across Belfast challenge for and defend titles in the sport.

Prokick Gym owner and event promoter Billy Murray is a former ISKA world welterweight champion and said that the Ulster Hall is the perfect venue for the re-emergence of Kickboxing following growing popularity for mixed martial arts sports.

"Christmas has come early for the sport of kickboxing in Ireland, KICKmas has returned with world title shots for some of Belfast's brightest stars.

"We will have a fight card that will have fans anticipating another great night of action at the Ulster Hall. I remember all my fights at the venue especially my 1989 title win as if it was yesterday, I can still hear that crowd."

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