By PHILIP CHANDLER
A Queenstown fighter last Saturday added a South Island Muay Thai belt to go with a South Island kickboxing title he won last October.
Noah Shepherd, 26, a light cruiserweight who fights at 84.6kg, says it’s ‘‘a big buzz’’ to have both titles.
He’d completed a full-on 12-week training camp at Fight Science to prepare to fight Christchurch’s Alan Murray, only for the latter to step on a stick and puncture a foot the day before their scheduled bout.
Murray recovered for the Christchurch fight to be rescheduled.
‘‘It did turn it from a 12-week camp to a 16-week camp which was pretty gnarly, to say the least,’’ Shepherd says.
In the first of five two-minute rounds, he got Murray with a left hook which he thought would finish him off, but instead he stayed the distance.
‘‘It was definitely a tough fight, but I was confident I was winning every round.’’
When he’d won his first belt, he triumphed in the second round by knocking out his opponent with a knee to the head.
Shepherd, who’s trained in both kickboxing and Muay Thai for the past two years, pays ‘‘massive credit’’ to his coach, Rob Horrocks, assistant coach Mark Barnes and the whole Fight Science crew, as well as his Wakatipu Youth Trust workmates.
At the same Christchurch meeting, another Fight Science fighter, Aidan Dolan, won his first Muay Thai fight in the 70kg category in a unanimous decision.
Horrocks, meanwhile, will tackled very experienced kickboxer Yassin Yass in Auckland this past Saturday in the 64kg semi-finals of the Apex Muay Thai Warrior Series.
That’s hot on the heels of him winning the 68kg ‘King in the Ring’ eight-man kickboxing series in Auckland last month.
Horrocks’ Auckland opponent predicted he’d ‘‘outskill’’ him.
The 31-year-old Queenstowner, however, says ‘‘he has to say something, doesn’t he?’’
‘‘I’m definitely bringing some skills and I’m definitely going to be trying to hurt him, so we’ll see what happens,’’ he said before the fight.