Conteder UK Eliminations 2008

Contender UK Eliminator 2008

Image result for Contender UK Eliminator 2008Contender UK Champ, Jordan Watson

Thai Boxing Jordan Watson destined for tv box sets following UK Contender Win

Leeds Thai boxer Jordan Watson beat three opponents in one-night to claim the WMC sanctioned UK Contender Title, earning a place in the Contender Asia Season 2 television series.

In the UK Thai boxing event of the year, the Contender UK Eliminations tournament pitted eight of the best 72 kg Thai boxers in the country against each other; with the winner destined for Malaysia in the New Year to compete against some of the best fighters in the world.

Following a year out of the ring, Watson defeated Tim Thomas and Craig Jose before stopping the courageous Chris Shaw in the final, watched by an enthusiastic 1,500 fans at the Watford Colosseum.

Watson’s journey to the final was a convincing one, although his first fight proved the most difficult. Richard Smith, Watson’s trainer at the Bad Company Gym said: “Since Pain and Glory last year (May 07), Jordan has taken a break and been concentrating on his career, which took him all over the country so he’s not been around the gym too much,” Richard Smith said Jordan got straight back into training when the Contender came calling. “He actually put his job on hold and has taken time out unpaid. So he has really only had about 6-weeks serious training for this and may now leave his job altogether,” said Richard Smith.

Watson started strongly in his first fight against Tim Thomas, landing kicks at range and dropping Thomas with a punch in the first round. Thomas then adopted an elusive style at the start of the second round, but Watson found him with several right elbows. In response, Thomas opted to apply aggressive pressure for the rest of the fight, but still found himself outscored with kicks and unable to capitalise when he managed to trap kicks. Watson continued to throw elbows and score the cleaner shots, but appeared to tire in the final round. The judges unanimously announced Jordan Watson the winner, but a durable Tim Thomas certainly made him work for it.

Watson’s semi final fight was against Craig Jose, who had already despatched with Jay Woodham with a second round knockout elbow earlier in the evening. Watson scored well from the beginning, mixing hand combinations with punishing kicks while evading return attacks. It was apparent that Jordan Watson had shed the ‘ring rust’ and was shifting up a gear. Richard Smith said, “Jordan got his form back in the second fight and was outstanding against Craig Jose. Craig never stopped trying and pushing forward, but Jordan stayed one step ahead all the way through and fought a very clever fight.” Once again Watson was declared the unanimous winner by the judges, and his path to the final was complete.

Watson’s opponent in the final had an entirely different journey. Scotsman Chris Shaw beat Alex Abusin with a unanimous decision, before meeting with Daniel Hudson in the semi final—which turned out to be a war. Shaw dropped Hudson in the first round with a shot to the head, only to find himself dropped twice in the final round with body punches. This was too close to call, and judges opted for an additional round to separate the fighters. In a frantic finale, Hudson continued to aggressively punish Shaw’s body with punches, but was unable to stop the Scotsman. A judge’s majority decision went in favour of Daniel Hudson, and Chris Shaw’s tournament appeared to be over. However, the war in the ring had taken its toll and Hudson could not continue.

A very brave Chris Shaw unexpectedly entered the ring, accompanied by his Scots pipers, to face the formidable Jordan Watson in the final. But, it was too much to ask of Shaw—the tournament format had taken it out of him. He evaded as Watson aggressively attacked, but an accurate low kick revealed his left leg was already badly damaged. Watson seized the opportunity and delivered knees into the damaged leg from the clinch, dropping Shaw to the floor in pain. The referee counted Shaw out after 1-minute and 21-seconds of the first round, and Jordan Watson from Bad Company in Leeds became the UK Contender champion.

Image result for Contender UK Eliminator 2008UK Contenders

Also on the fight card, Bad Company’s Andy Howson took on Super K from Sitjaipetch gym in Thailand, for the WMC M.A.D. World Title. This proved to be a tough fight for Howson, who was unable to find a weakness in Super K’s style.

After a couple of even looking rounds, the more composed Super K began to score well with knees and elbows whereas Howson tried to damage the Thai with body punches. The final round saw a technical and elusive Super K picking his shots as Howson looked for a knockout with his hands. Before the decision was announced, Howson gracefully acknowledged his defeat to Super K, and undoubtedly learned a great deal from such strong and technical opponent. Bad Company’s Richard Smith said, “Andy never really got into his stride and didn’t seem comfortable all the way through. Super K just nullified everything he tried to do, “The couple of times Andy did get through and hurt Super K, he was unable to capitalise on it. He’ll only get stronger fighting opponents at this level.”

Super K was eventually declared ‘fighter of the night’ for his exceptional performance against the talented Andy Howson.

Also at the show, Darlington’s Michael Dicks controversially lost his WMC M.A.D. World Title fight against Super boy from Sitjaipetch gym in Thailand, to the dismay of 1,500 strong audience.

After a couple of even looking rounds, Dicks began to look stronger in the clinch and appeared to frustrate his Thai opponent, assertively kicking him to the floor and throwing spinning elbows.

The final round saw Dicks landing punches while Super boy adopted a tricky counter kicking style. For the judges, the Thai’s change of strategy seemed to steal the fight from the consistently strong Dicks. Referee Tony Myers said: “Super boy was drawn into punch for punch, elbow for elbow war and began to fight Michael’s fight—and was coming off second best at times.

“I think Super boy would have lost if had continued that strategy had not started to use his head and long range skills in the fourth and fifth where he scored continuously with body kicks. I know Michael (Dicks) was disappointed but he will definitely be back and I want a ticket.”

Darlington coach Paul Hamilton said that following this debatable fight decision, the WMC have ruled that an immediate rematch should take place in Thailand in January. Hamilton wants the rematch to be outside of the UK, preferably Thailand, to remove any doubt over Muay Thai scoring. “Michael doesn’t want the decision reversed; he wants to win in the ring, not the post.

“We’ve agreed to fight the rematch anywhere in the World, and the WMC are talking about Lumpinee Stadium (Bangkok, Thailand)” said Hamilton. Win or lose, Michael Dicks will turn heads in this well deserved rematch.

Watford’s Ollie Watson soundly defeated the extremely durable Steve Primrose from Beastmasters Gym in Manchester, within two rounds.

Primrose was initially saved by the bell when Minotaur Gym’s Watson dropped him with punches at the end of the first round. In the second, round Primrose also bravely climbed to his feet following three more knockdowns before the referee stopped the contest, announcing Ollie Watson the winner by knock out.

Also on the fight card, Greg Walton from London’s KO Gym competed in his first A-class fight, beating Paul Karpowicz from Master Sken’s Sitnarong Camp.

The Contender event was an amazing success, setting a new benchmark for UK Muay Thai. Referee Tony Myers said: “Everyone involved should be proud to have been part of the show. All the fights were excellent and all the fighters carried themselves professionally. There were some outstanding performances and any of the fights could have headlined a show.”

Event organisers Sue Taylor and Paul Hamilton of the UKMF put together an outstanding event in London, and found a credible fighter to represent the UK in the Contender Asia Season 2 Championship. Sue Taylor described Jordan Watson as a young gifted champion, whose performance has inspired many children to achieve. “The whole of the United kingdom is proud of you (Jordan). “We will sit and watch with pride… waiting for the moment when you are crowned,” said Sue Taylor.