Christmas is coming early for local fight fans with the East Coast Muay Thai (ECMT) club preparing for a massive age grade martial arts festival later this month.
The Beast Coast Invasion will be held at the Whatuwhiwhi Community Hall on Friday, December 15, with 17 bouts scheduled on the card, including several where national titles will be up for grabs.
ECMT head instructor Emmz Trego said he hopes the wider community will come out in force to support the matinee event with fighters from "all over the country" coming.
"Our show is the biggie. We are bringing a youth fight show for our kids to the Far North. It's gonna be quite a big, modern Muay Thai event with full Muay Thai rules. We have crew coming up from Napier, Timaru and Hamilton ..."
Four of the 17 matches on the evening card will be title shots, and there will be several members of the Junior Black Gloves, the national martial arts team, in action.
Three of those will be contested by fighters from the hosting club — Sonny Trego, Lfah Trego and Manu Tepania — with the latter set to fight in the event's headliner.
Our show is the biggie. We are bringing a youth fight show for our kids to the Far North. It's gonna be quite a big, modern Muay Thai event with full Muay Thai rules.
"We've also got Emma Nesbitt from Team Nesbitt coming up to take on one of our best kickboxing girls in the Far North, Wikitoria Tipene," Trego said.
Trego took sons Lfah and Sonny along with ECMT stablemates Mary Jane George, Lareesha Waipouri and Soul Heke to a fight event in the Cook Islands last month.
He said ECMT had been invited to represent the Far North and Aotearoa at the Cook Islands Muay Thai Islander Hotel Fight Night on November 17.
Only two of the five ended up being matched on the night, with Mary Jane George winning her 8-year-old girls 33kg division bout, while Lareesha Waipouri, won her 9-year-old girls 45kg bout, both wins coming over fighters from the hosting club.
The three others who travelled were either unable to be matched or saw their opponents pull the plug. Winning by default were Sonny Trego, 8, Soul Heke, 10, and Lfah Trego, 11.
"So they [still] got trophies. It was run by professionals," Trego said.
He wasn't overly perturbed only two fighters ended up having to get in the ring.
"I look at it as a learning curve by everyone who runs fight shows. We flew over there, got a bit of training in, day after the fight gave our kids a bit of treat, did everything you could do on the island."
He also noted the event represented a great build up to the coming Beast Coast Invasion fight night next week.
* The Beast Coast Invasion will be held at the Whatuwhiwhi Community Hall on Friday, December 15. Doors open 12pm with tickets costing $15 pre-sale, $20 on the door, $10 for children aged 10 and over, and a gold coin for those aged under seven.