Masterton kickboxers on rise at Rumble

By Nathan Crombie nathan.crombie@age.co.nz -
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Masterton kickboxer Matt Gain, left, pictured at Honour 7 earlier this month, won his second fight at Whanganui on Saturday night. PHOTO/FACEBOOK
Masterton kickboxer Matt Gain, left, pictured at Honour 7 earlier this month, won his second fight at Whanganui on Saturday night. PHOTO/FACEBOOK

A new crop of Masterton kickboxers are storming their way to victory.

Fortitude Thai Boxing Gym head coach Bryce Baron said three fighters from the Masterton club had each performed exceptionally at the Riverside Rumble tournament held in Whanganui on Saturday night.

Masterton cruiserweight fighter Matt Gain took a win by points in Whanganui over his opponent Brayden Maua, of Wanganui Warriors, after winning his debut outing at Honour 7 in Porirua earlier this year with a first round knock out.

"Matt has very fast and accurate hands and impeccable timing, which is a rare thing. He won by knockout in his debut and landed a few bombs in Whanganui too against a strong opponent," Baron said. "I believe Matt is going to go a long way."

Baron said two novice fighters from the Masterton gym completed debut bouts at Wanganui as well, including Jade Fleetwood in the welterweight class and Mikey Masoe, who fought in the light cruiserweight class.

Fleetwood battled Evi Grace, fighting out of MTI in Wellington, landing multiple right hands and "using her angles really well", Baron said. Fleetwood had performed well against a powerful opponent.

Masoe dropped several kilograms to fight in his division but sacrificed no power or speed during his fight against Isaiah Hemapo, of Bandog Muay Thai Stratford.

Masoe fought well from the opening bell, Baron said, and despite an even second round had "devastated" his opponent in the third and final round, Baron said.

He said the Masterton club was moving seamlessly in to a new generation of winning fighters in the wake of former Fortitude fighter Zane Hopman, who took New Zealand and world titles before going professional as a kickboxer and boxer.

"Zane's a hard act to follow but we're lucky we've got former fighters coaching at Fortitude like New Zealand pro middleweight champion Brendan Varty and Rhys Richards, who is a really good technical trainer.

"It's good to have so much experience in the gym and a solid training team involved, and it's great for the up-and-coming fighters."

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