Belfast Telegraph

New intercontinential champion Johnny Smith makes swift work of title win

 

Dominant display: Johnny Smith on his way to victory over Lee
Jihoon
Dominant display: Johnny Smith on his way to victory over Lee Jihoon
Head coach Billy Murray with Smith
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

Northern Irish kickboxer Johnny 'Swift' Smith is the new WKN Intercontinental Professional super-welterweight champion after his victory by TKO over Jihoon Lee at the Clayton Hotel in Belfast.

The Bangor man was on top of his game against his Korean opponent, eventually stopping the fight in the fourth round when the ringside doctor ruled Lee was unable to continue.

Smith, who came into the bout undefeated, was marginally the favourite against the more experienced Lee, and he quickly proved it by taking control in the first round and only increasing his dominance as the fight went on.

Working from distance, the local man showed his strong technical ability by picking his shots cleverly, while also showing his boxing prowess with some strong body shots with the gloves.

In particular, his use of the front kicks was proving lethal, with several landing on Lee's face, while the roar of the home crowd was visibly spurring him on.

From the off, it was clear that Smith was going to benefit from a vocal home support and, having seized dominance in the bout, he was soon to make it count.

After a quick flurry of shots to open the fourth round, referee Bob Hunter decided he had seen enough and waved off the fight in favour of Smith, with the ringside doctor deeming Lee to be unable to defend himself.

With the win, 'Swift' is now ProKick's professional champion, while it was also the perfect 32nd birthday present, prompting the crowd to burst into a spontaneous rendition of 'Happy Birthday' for the newly crowned champion.

While his next engagement is unclear at this stage, Smith will be eager to get a shot at a unification fight, however a mandatory defence of his title could be first. Regardless, his performance against Lee proved that he is on top form right now and is a deserved champion.

Meanwhile, on the undercard to the night's main event, there were some tasty match-ups that provided plenty of drama and excitement.

In particular, there's no shortage of young talent in the ProKick ranks, as proven by a group of teenagers who fought on the night.

There was a final farewell to kickboxing veteran Aubrey Tarr, who received a standing ovation from the crowd as he bowed out of the sport for the final time.

Meanwhile, the Celtic war between Scotland's Shane Weir and Ireland's Cathal Dunne was a tightly contested match with both showing grit, determination and technique.

Belfast Telegraph

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