Jay Snoddon
Jay Snoddon becomes a new WKN featherweight amateur champion

International kickboxing returned to Northern Ireland this past Sunday, September 12 with the Fight Club made-in Prokick event in Belfast. The Billy Murray promotion showcased a pair of WKN championship bouts with the rising stars representing the country-host up against international opponents.

Snoddon takes WKN International title

Jay Snoddon won the WKN International featherweight amateur title by unanimous decision against Justin Pace from Malta.

During a tight first round, both fighters were taking their time, analyzing each other and setting the range. Snoddon finished stronger with punches, landing and unsteadying Pace as the bell sounded. The Maltese fighter came out in the second round, displaying a lot of variety with his kicks, although the local athlete kept his cool and evaded them, countering with punches, with another round that demonstrated his strong boxing skills.

In round three, Pace continued with a range of shots, this time throwing a spinning back fist that shaved the side of Snoddon’s head. He tried it again, this time miscalculating his distance and landing illegally with his forearm causing Snoddon’s nose to begin bleeding.

Not to be deterred Snoddon came out calm and composed in the fourth and landed copious knees to the young Maltese’s stomach. The two fighters grappled together in the clinch throughout, and towards the end of the round Snoddon began to land knees to the head, which left his opponent looking to his corner for support.

As the bell rang for the fifth and final round, fight fans erupted in expectation as both fighters came out giving their all seeking to be crowned WKN champion. Both young men had put on a great show for the crowd and eagerly awaited the decision from the judges. With his hand raised, Snoddon’s dream had become reality, he was crowned the winner.

Emotional Snoddon had the belt fastened around his waist, realizing all the months of hard work, dedication and sacrifice were worth it.

Braniff wins WKN British belt

James Braniff earned the WKN British super lightweight amateur title by unanimous decision against Joshua Embradura of Wales.

A long awaited contest kicked off with the Welsh fighter demonstrating great technique and skill, slipping Braniff’s punches. Using his height and reach, Braniff stayed on the outside and began to work his way in with low leg kicks.

Embradura received two warnings by the referee for holding his opponent’s leg, and as round two began this continued. The referee was left with no choice but to deduct a point from the Welsh fighter.

Braniff got back behind his jab and landed some strong shots but they were immediately matched by Embradura coming back with heavy kicks and punches of his own.

Following the point deduction, Embradura came out strongly at the beginning of the third round with a range of high and low kicks, making their mark on Braniff. However, just before the bell sounded for the end of the round, Braniff landed a straight right hand that unsteadied his Welsh opponent.

Onto round four… Braniff began by attacking Embradrua’s lead leg with a bout of chopping low leg kicks. This began to cause the Welsh man problems again and once again he began to reach for James’ leg to counter the kick. The referee issued a number of warnings again and mid-way through the round deducted another point from Joshua Embradrua.

The fifth round saw two tired young men go toe to toe and kick for kick in the “Battle of Britain”. Leg kicks and knees were traded back and forth…. Braniff then changed levels and connected a strong left kick to the head.

A close and technical fight showcased just some of the kickboxing talent that is blossoming across Britain right now.

Braniff had his hand raised, and he eyed his new belt and a huge smile broke across his face as he was given what he has worked tirelessly for over the last year and a half.

The next “Made in Prokick” event titled “Knockdown Lockdown” is scheduled for November 27 in Belfast, marking the return of World Championship kickboxing to Northern Ireland. Local star Johnny “Swift” Smith is set to face Korean champion Lee Sung-hyun for the prestigious WKN welterweight title.

Prokick: Fight Club results

WKN International featherweight amateur title, oriental rules, 5×2 min rounds
Jay Snoddon (Northern Ireland) def. Justin Pace (Malta) by unanimous decision

WKN British super lightweight amateur title, oriental rules, 5×2 min rounds
James Braniff (Northern Ireland) def. Joshua Embradura (Wales) by unanimous decision