National titles for kickboxers from Original Jesters gym

KICKBOXING WARRIORS -- the eight-strong team from Matlock's Original Jesters fightclub who took part in Art Of War 5. From left, Back Row: Declan Ward, Brandon Wayne, Tommy Read and Katie Bailey. Front Row: Joss Bevan, Richard Smedley, Adam Gostkowski and Karl Johnston.
KICKBOXING WARRIORS -- the eight-strong team from Matlock's Original Jesters fightclub who took part in Art Of War 5. From left, Back Row: Declan Ward, Brandon Wayne, Tommy Read and Katie Bailey. Front Row: Joss Bevan, Richard Smedley, Adam Gostkowski and Karl Johnston.

British and English titles were among the fights won by kickboxers from Matlock’s Original Jesters club at a major event, Art Of War 5, held at County Hall in the town.

The event, which showcased boxing, as well as kickboxing, featured eight bouts involving the Original Jesters. And pride of place went to Karl ‘Tinker’ Johnston, who landed an International Combat Organisation (ICO) pro British K1 belt, and to Joss Bevan, who was crowned the new amateur English full-contact champion.

Johnston faced Nigel Thomas, who has a European title to his name, but showed maturity and skill to wear down his more experienced opponent to take a unanimous decision. Bevan, who won the Midlands area title in May, showed his class to stop his Birmingham-based opponent in the third round.

First up for the Original Jesters had been junior Katie Bailey, fighting under light-contact rules in her first-ever bout. She came out flying, and her pace and level-headed attitude secured her a unanimous verdict. Next in the ring was Brandon Wayne, fighting under boxing rules. He was stronger than his Lincoln-based opponent to steal a good points’ victory.

Moving up in class in his first full-contact kickboxing bout was Declan Ward, who faced a tough, accomplished fighter from Barnsley fresh back from winning gold at the world championships in Germany. Ward pushed his opponent to the wire before losing on a majority decision.

The last junior in was Tommy Read, who proved too slick for another Lincoln-based fighter and earned a unanimous decision.

Under boxing rules for the adults, Richard Smedley showed heart and resilience for a close points’ win on his debut for the club, while Adam Goswtowski waged war on an experienced boxer from Sheffield, whom he stopped in the third round.