DERRY KICKBOXER, Christopher O’Donnell became the first Irishman to secure two consecutive WKA World titles at the recent Championships in Karlsruhe, Germany.
O’Donnell was crowned World Kickboxing Association (WKA) lightweight champion in full contact kickboxing, following a unanimous decision victory over French opponent, Kevin Gueugneau.
Sponsored by Extreme Fitness Gym, Distillery Brae, O’Donnell, alongside fellow Derry kickboxers, Ruairi Stewart and Conor Murphy, travelled to the prestigious world championships at the spectacular Europahalle Sports Arena where they represented Northern Ireland.
All three local fighters took part in a strenuous eight week training camp with strength and conditioning coach and owner of Extreme Fitness, Derek Lynch prior to the tournament which involved training twice a day, six days a week.
And the training obviously paid off as O’Donnell fought three opponents en-route to the lightweight final, winning every round along the way.
The Derry man firstly had to deal with Germany’s Christoph Troesch and he dominated the hometown fighter on his way to securing a unanimous decision win.
Next up, O’Donnell squared off with Ukraine’s Maksim Kuskov who came out in the first round with plenty of intent, however, the Derry kickboxer responded superbly, controlling the fight with his hand speed and accuracy of strikes which proved too much for the Ukrainian.
Once again O’Donnell secured a unanimous decision win and progressed to the semi-final where he met Germany’s Masatoshi Ueno.
In the first round O’Donnell dropped Masatoshi to the canvas with a sharp right hook to the head, the referee giving the German an eight count.
In round two it was clear that the velocity of O’Donnell’s attacks were beginning to take their toll on the German and with just one minute left, O’Donnell caught Masatoshi with a series of devastating body shots, putting him on his back and was eventually awarded a technical knockout win.
French opponent, Gueugneau stood in the way of a gold medal in the final and O’Donnell had his opponent on the backfoot from the start, landing shots at will.
In the end, O’Donnell outclassed the Frenchman with his offensive game-plan and claimed the lightweight WKA title with a unanimous points victory.
O’Donnell is the first kickboxer from Ireland to have won the WKA world championships two years consecutively and is also the first to have done so in two different weight divisions, having won the light-welterweight title last year.
Meanwhile, O’Donnell’s clubmate, 14 year-old Conor Murphy claimed a silver medal in the 15-17 age category following a split decision against Czech Republic’s Peter Zadera in the final.
Murphy had previously met Germany’s Manuel Muller and in the semi-final defeated Peter Biskup from the Ukraine.
In the final Murphy showed remarkable hand speed and used it to put Zadera on the back foot. Murphy stayed in the centre of the ring in the final round as he attempted to pick off his opponent, however, it wasn’t enough as the judges awarded a split decision.
All three local men will be competing as part of an Irish select team on November 5th at Pilot’s Row Youth Centre where they will be fighting against a Scottish select team, which will consist of fighters such as full-contact Pro world champion, Ronnie Clarke, Scott Allen and WAKO champion, Ryan Lyall.