LATE call-offs led to a storming inter-York finale to the Ring Series 2 mixed martial arts show.
Opponents for both Martin Baulkalns, of the United Masters Martial Arts Academy in Layerthorpe, and Liam Brough of the Legions Thai-Boxing gym in York’s Fifth Avenue, withdrew on the eve of the bill at the Energise centre in Acomb.
So United Masters Promotions duo Tony Dias and Gaz Watkinson, together with Legions chief instructor Dave Phillips, agreed the York duo should fight each other for the men’s WRSA northern area ‘B’-class Thai title.
Both rivals often train and spar together, but when the bell went to the contest of five two-minute rounds, both Baulkalns and Brough went all out for the victory.
After five gruelling rounds reflecting the clash of styles between kick-boxer Baulkalns and Thai-boxer Brough, the duo could only be separated by a split decision which ultimately went to Brough.
Said Dias: “It was so, so close and it proved to be the fight of the night. One fan came up to me and said the contest was worth the admission alone, which showed just how much the two lads put into it.”
There were two other fine successes for Legions’ aces.
Liam Goodwin captured the WRSA K1 middleweight northern area title with a second round stoppage of Marius Daublys from the Koncept Gym in Newquay, whose contingent took nine hours to travel to York on the day before the show.
And an emphatic victory was posted by Dan Chilton who halted Barnsley’s Adrian Aleksander Pociecha, again with a technical knockout in round two.
The only blot for Legions was the third-round stoppage of Al Chambers by Rochdale’s Brian Jack Taylor for the WRSA K1 pro super-middleweight crown.
United Masters Academy youngster Sam Watkinson took the show’s opening bout with a first round stoppage of Halifax rival Ammar Nazir in a junior light-contact kickboxing bout, but there were defeats for the York Martial Arts Academy duo of Charlie Foster-Vigors and Luke Burkes.
The lone all-female bout – a grudge match between Newquay’s Kate Jackson and Leeds Cage fighter Chloe Hinchcliffe – ended in a victory for the latter, who was crowned ladies K1 English title-winner. After the bout, both fighters embraced each other to declare their previous spat was over and forgotten.
Added co-promoter Watkinson: “It was well supported by the public of York and clubs like Legions and Craig Long’s York Martial Arts Academy, showing that York is a big fight family.
“And what a finale. It was an absolutely brilliant fight to close the show. I’ve seen hundreds of contests and I’ve not seen many better than that. It’ll take some topping.”
Watkinson and Dias are planning another in the Cage Confrontation series for late June or early July.