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A Swift finish is what Johnny wants when it kicks off

By Frank Brownlow

Published 04/12/2015

Best foot forward: Johnny ‘Swift’ Smith kicking his way to victory against Yuhei Tsuda
Best foot forward: Johnny ‘Swift’ Smith kicking his way to victory against Yuhei Tsuda

All that Johnny 'Swift' Smith wants for Christmas is victory over Canada's Samuel Debalke on Billy Murray's annual KICKmas Belfast 2015 bill at the Clayton Hotel on Sunday.

Three-time former UFC welterweight champion Georges St Pierre has been putting gym-mate Debalke through his paces ahead of the Mercedes Benz & Smart-sponsored bill.

Debalke, an amateur MMA boxer and Mauy-Thai fighter, makes his professional debut on the 'Made In ProKick' event.

Bangor fighter Smith, a technical site engineer for Calor Gas in Belfast, has a burning desire to become king in the professional kickboxing ranks.

The 28-year-old ProKick fighter had his last outing at the World Martial Art Games in Geneva on September 12, stopping top Swiss fighter Julien Domingos in a K1 style fight with a clinical knee to the head at the beginning of the second round.

And back in June, Smith had a devastating second round KO win when defending his WKN amateur world title against highly rated 21-year-old Yuhei Tsuda from the RISE Gym in Tokyo.

Looking ahead to Sunday's big fight, Smith said: "It's a natural progression, I feel as if I'm coming to the tipping point, I want to be pushed and tested.

"I want to see how far I can go. I want to see what my limit is and then push past it and set new ones.

"Debalke is a good all-round martial artist who fights out of TriStar gym in Montreal, Quebec.

"They have the likes of Georges St Pierre, a former UFC champion, training there.

"Debalke also competes in conventional boxing, Muay-Thai and kickboxing, therefore has a lot of fighting experience, and has great people around him like legendary coach Vic Theriault who has been in the fight game a lifetime.

"And I, on the other hand, fight out of the best kickboxing gym in this country which has a conveyor belt for producing real talent.

"I predict this is going to be a great fight for those fight fans lucky enough to have a ticket, he added.

The fight-card is a KICKmas cracker packed with what the promoter id calling a 'Festive Feast of Fists n Feet'.

Belfast's Cathy McAleer will top the bill when she fights for a world crown.

Darren McMullan and Samantha Robb will defend their WKN Pro-Am world titles.

Also ProKick's adopted son - top Spanish professional Rafa Del Toro - will fight out of the ProKick corner.

ProKick's rising teenage talent Jake McCreedy from Dundonald is lined up for his first Irish schoolboys title match, taking on Waterford's Rytis Daniules.

The weigh-ins takes place at Mercedes Benz & Smart at Boucher Crescent, Belfast tomorrow (3.30pm).

The ProKick team for the big show had a final work-out on Wednesday night.

Promoter Billy Murray said: "The team had their very last training session, a public one at that.

"ProKick members watched the team strut their stuff in a small session which just lasted 45 minutes.

"Our squad have trained so hard for Sunday's event at the Clayton Hotel.

"This was a first for us at ProKick as it is normally a closed session for our team.

"Their training, sparring and hard work is all done.

"This was just a short sample of what they've been doing over the months in preparation," he added.

Belfast Telegraph

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