By GUY WILLIAMS
A whipping right hand in the closing seconds of the last round won Queenstown kickboxer Rob Horrocks the King In the Ring 8 Man Series in Auckland at the weekend.
The Manchester native, one of eight fighting for the 68kg welterweight title in Auckland on Saturday night, reached the final against classy Aucklander Kayne Conlan after stopping his first two opponents early.
The action-packed final — rated by commentators as one of the best in the event’s history — went to a deciding fourth round after the judges couldn’t split the pair.
Conlan arguably had the better of the first after landing some clean shots, but the momentum swung Horrocks’ way in the second after he staggered the Aucklander with a left hook.
Conlan recovered and the pair traded punches in a brutal third round that left the scorecards even.
With only 15 seconds left in the contest, Horrocks, 31, got an eight-count after catching Conlan with a right hand that put him on his knees.
The Fight Science coach, who pocketed $10,000 for the win, tells Mountain Scene the victory was payoff for a gruel ling 12-week training block that enabled him to stay sharp through all seven rounds he fought on the night.
Conlan’s reputation only made the victory sweeter.
‘‘When I saw the line-up, it was a bit of a dream to fight him in the final.
‘‘I thought if I can get Kayne in the final and beat him, that would just be the fairytale ending.
‘‘We were both trying to out-think each other and out-move each other, and it made it a really fun fight.’’
He’s next in the ring at the Apex Muay Thai Warrior Series in Auckland on May 1.
Meanwhile, in Christchurch on Saturday, one of Horrocks’ students, Muay Thai fighter Charlie Charalamdides, won the 63.5kg South Island title with a third-round TKO of Christchurch’s Sean Spencer.