Sunderland kickboxer Jake seals English title success in style

Jake Thirlaway, crowned new English champion
Jake Thirlaway, crowned new English champion
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Sunderland’s Jake Thirlaway has secured the IKF super welterweight amateur English full contact kickboxing title at 69.5kg.

Representing Spartan Fighting Arts Academy against reigning champion Michael Groom in Rochester, Kent, Thirlaway impressed throughout the brief fight, which do not go all the way of the planned five two-minute rounds.

The opening round saw Thirlaway feeling out his opponent, though, at the halfway point of the first round, a strong-looking Groom began to press forward in an attempt to stamp his authority on the match.

Thirlaway, though, was able to hit back and land some stopping kicks, keeping the champion at bay and following up with shots from every angle.

Groom pressed forward, landing some powerful right kicks, but the round was the challenger’s.

Things were wrapped up pretty early in the second round, Thirlaway landing a snappy left round kick to the champion’s face, rocking his head to the side.

He immediately followed up with a ferocious jab, cross, left hook combination, with the hook being surplus to requirements as the right hand had already put the champion out of commission a mere 19 seconds into the round, securing the bout and the IKF belt for the Wearsiders.

Thirlaway’s coach, fifth dan blackbelt Paul Grieves, the chief instructor at Hylton Castle-based Spartan Fighting Arts Academy, said “I’m absolutely delighted for Jake.

“He looked very emotional as his first ever title belt was wrapped around his waist, which is understandable given that it’s a little overdue.

“He’s been campaigning for a number of years, he really puts the work in and has such natural talent he has at his disposal.

“This was his sixth knockout victory in over 20 ring fights, proving that he also has a lot of power in his arsenal too.”

A delighted Thirlaway is already making plans to make his first defence of the belt in Middlesbrough on April 9.

Anyone interested in following in Jake’s footstep can contact Grieves on 07971 467989 to find out about the various classes at Spartan Fighting Arts Academy.