BOGSIDE boy, Cian ‘The Kid’ Kennedy grew up watching some of Derry and Donegal’s finest kickboxing champions reach the highest heights in the sport but now, he insists, it’s his time to shine!
Cian (15) has witnessed the likes of Daniel ‘Pinta’ Quigley and Natalie McCarron claim four world professional belts and most recently Brian Houston claim the ISKA world amateur super middleweight title.
This Sunday the Rath Mor Warriors fighter travels to the Ramada Hotel in Birmingham on a mission to bring home the WKA European Full Contact 50kgs title.
And he insists, in no uncertain terms, that he will be on the return flight from the English midlands on Monday morning with the belt securely in his possession.
The highly rated ISKA British champion, Billy Evans (Saxon Kickboxing Club) - ‘the best junior kickboxer in Europe’ - stands in his way, but Cian claims the Englishman’s reputation will count for nothing once they enter the ring.
“I’m confident that when I get in there I’ll bring back the belt,” Cian said confidently.
“I’ve no doubts in my mind after all the hard training. It’s my destiny to become a champion and that’s the way it’s going to be,” he added defiantly.
“When you hear the words ‘European champion’ and ‘world champion’, the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.
“All the training is done and the excitement and determination is starting to build up now,” he explained.
It’s undoubtedly going to be the biggest test of his young career as he fights on the undercard of Brad Foster’s WKA World Junior Featherweight title fight against French man Szulc Leo.
“It’s a big step up,” he acknowledged. “It’s the second most prestigious belt in the world and at the minute it’s my main goal.
“Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning I’m up at 6 a.m. doing my hill sprints and then every night at 6 p.m.
“I train again either out running or at the gym.
“So I’ve put in all the hard work and now I’m just looking forward to getting in there to do the business.”
From the day he walked into the gym I saw that he had something special. Some people are born with it and I seen it right away when he hit the punch bag and then the pads - I knew he had something!Sean McGill (Rath Mor Warriors)
On his last outing at the hugely successful ‘Domination’ bill at Templemore Sports Complex Cian was crowned Irish Straw weight champion with a KO stoppage of his opponent.
He’s an exciting talent and his signature move, the spinning back-kick has earned him a reputation as an entertainer with a prolific record of 10 wins from 10 full contact bouts so far!
Cian’s been a member of Rath Mor Warriors Kickboxing Club in Creggan for just four years and he’s already, under the guidance of his coach, Sean McGill, navigated his way to a European title shot.
And McGill, who will be in his corner at the Ramada Hotel on Sunday night, believes he can go further and secure a world title within the year.
“From the day he walked into the gym I felt that he had something special,” said McGill.
“Some people are born with it and I saw it right away when he hit the punch bag and then the pads - I knew he had something.
“So if he can prove himself on Sunday night he will be among the elite in the world and we could be looking at a world title shot by the end of the year.
“He is totally dedicated which is hard for someone of 11 or 12 years of age to try and keep them focused, he’s a role model at the age of 15.”
“He gives back into the club as well at the kids classes.
“He comes in and helps coaching and the kids respect him and there’s silence when he takes the class more so than they would when I take it.,
“They want to be him and he’s a bit of a role model at 15.
He’s a good young fella. He’s disciplined and respectful outside the club as well.
“He used to watch ‘Pinta’ Quigley, Natalie McCarron and Tommy McCafferty at the PT shows. I used to take him to watch them and you could see his eyes light up.
“He said he wanted to be like that and he stuck at it and now he’s getting his chance.
“He could become the first junior from Derry to win a European belt. Danny Wade from Top Ring won the British title and Five Nations title so he could make his own bit of history this weekend.