Kickboxers Batter Loughborough
In a tour de force, the Cambridge Kickboxers beat their Loughborough opponents 6-2.
CUKBS convincingly defeated a strong Loughborough team by 6 fights to 2 on Sunday. The result builds on the club’s 100% record last year and puts Cambridge in a good position ahead of the Varsity match next term. 6 of the 8 Cambridge fighters have represented CUKBS at least once before, and the club now has a strong core of fighters.
The first fight of the night was between Cambridge’s Cenan Djenan and Max Sprengel of Loughborough. The fight only went one round before Djenan was forced to retire due to an ankle injury.
Things then picked up for Cambridge, with both Tim Williamson and Daphne Tsalli winning their fights. Williamson demonstrated considerable improvement from previous fights and put together an accomplished performance to win comfortably against Loughborough fighter Steve Millward. Williamson controlled the fight throughout, putting together a number of impressive punching combinations, as well as scoring several head kicks.
The fight between Daphne Tsalli and Loughborough’s Daniela Bright was an interesting contest of punches vs. kicks. Tsalli trains regularly with CUABC as well as CUKBS, while her opponent was a taekwondo black belt. In the end, Tsalli won the bout by a considerable margin, stepping inside the range of her opponent’s kicks and pummelling Bright with flurries of punches. The Loughborough fighter proved incapable of dealing with this sort of close range fighting, unable to guard against Tsalli’s punches or get her kicks past Tsalli’s guard.
Loughborough then levelled the contest by winning the next fight, which was between Cambridge’s Charlie Samson and Zen Lee from Loughborough. Despite having only limited experience, the Loughborough fighter was very impressive. His reflexes and footwork meant Samson had difficulty ever getting close to him, while his hand speed allowed him to put together some blistering combinations which Samson struggled to deal with. However, despite this being only his first fight Samson gave a good account of himself against a very strong opponent, battling through to the end and showing enough to suggest potential for greater success in future contests.
In the second half of the evening Cambridge romped to victory with 4 wins out of 4, one of which came to be a knockout. Former CUTKD captain Samuel Dahan was impressive in his first kickboxing fight against fellow taekwondo black belt Andrew Smith. Dahan did struggle however to adjust to light contact rules and was repeatedly warned by the referee for use of excessive force. Unable to control the power in his kicks, Dahan largely resorted to boxing. Remarkably for a taekwondo fighter who only recently converted to kickboxing, Dahan was still able to win relatively comfortably using mainly his punches. Even after Dahan had a point deducted in the final round there was little doubt of the outcome.
CUKBS vice-president Ollie Osunkunle was next in the ring, taking on Rhys Morris. Taking advantage of his opponent’s lack of speed, Osunkunle altered his usual fighting style considerably. Rather than his usual juggernaut approach, Osunkunle remained light on his feet, darting in and out of range and around the outside of the ring, tiring his opponent. By round three Morris was exhausted. His guard dropped and his footwork became sluggish, allowing Osunkunle to step in and pick up points at will. In the end Osunkunle was the clear winner.
In the closest fight of the evening, Cambridge’s Alex Kaus earned a hard fought victory against Christopher Radcliffe. Former national semi-finalist Radcliffe proved to be a formidable boxer, relentlessly pressing forward with rapid punches. Kaus rose to the challenge though, matching the boxing of Radcliffe and taking advantage of his superior kicking ability to pick up valuable head kicks. It was probably the greater weight given to kicking techniques in terms of points that swung the decision Kaus’ way in a fight that was otherwise difficult to call.
The final fight was between two competitors who each have over a decade of experience in martial arts, as Cambridge fighter Konstantin Semeniuk took on Loughborough’s Martin Morgan. The first round was close but was probably won by Semeniuk. The fight ended early in the second round when a kick to the body caused Morgan to double slightly forward straight onto a hook punch, which connected cleanly with his jaw and knocked him out. Morgan stayed down for several minutes, prompting concern from his teammates and the audience. Eventually the attendant medics were able to revive him, and thankfully he showed no sign of serious injury after this. With Morgan unable to continue Semeniuk was declared winner, leaving the final result Cambridge 6 – Loughborough 2.