Proud Tollbar MAT Sixth Form College Year 12 student Evan Balch with his Kickboxing Bronze Medals after competing at the Irish Open.
Tollbar MAT Sixth Form College student Evan Balch has achieved his dream of winning a medal at the largest and most prestigious kickboxing tournament in the world, The Irish Open.
The Irish Open is an official WAKO World Cup, (World Association of Kickboxing Organisations), the world governing body for the sport of kickboxing, recognised by the IOC and the IWGA. It is part of the WAKO World Series of events and is an official Kickboxing World Cup.
More than 4,000 kickboxers entered the event in Co Dublin, where the kickboxing styles of Point Fighting, Light Contact, Full Contact, K1 Rules, and Musical Forms were carried out over four days of inspirational kickboxing, with all proceeds being donated to the ISPCC, a registered Irish charity
Lincolnshire Martial Arts Academy was ranked 118th out of 310 teams from around the world at the competition. Year 12 Tollbar student Evan, who is studying for his A levels in Maths, Chemistry and Physics, was ranked 2nd in the UK for his age and weight category in light continuous, and fourth in points, receiving two Bronze Medals.
The Irish Open is considered to be more difficult than any other world cup/international tournament because of the sheer number and variety of entrants. Most world championships are held after a national selection of which only one senior qualifies, the British champion. While in juniors/cadets two qualify, the top two British fighters.
Evan explained how this changes at the Irish Open. He said: “The Irish Open is an open tournament, so in any one category you will find the first, second, third, fourth top fighters from countries from all around the world competing. That for me is why the Irish Open is a very difficult competition, especially for the technical value of each competitor. They all have a completely different style of fighting to the next, who may be from the other side of the world, and you must adapt to it in order to beat them.
"For example, in my Points Fighting category there were 38 fighters of all nationalities, and I fought my way through to a Bronze Medal. Other categories such as the Junior Grand Champion had 75 entries and the Men's Grand Champion had almost 100. That is why it is immensely difficult to get on the podium in an advanced category at this competition, and it has taken me seven years to finally do it."
Some professional kickboxers and MMA fighters that once fought on this circuit and still attend as coaches, are Raymond "Real Deal" Daniels (CA, USA) and Michael "Venom" Page (UK).
Evan Balch in action at the Irish Open.
Evan Balch on the podium to receive his kickboxing Bronze Medals at the Irish Open.