STRIKE MARTIAL Arts Academy coach and promoter, Daniel ‘Pinta’ Quigley is confident the Bay Road club will add two more major titles to its ever growing trophy cabinet on Saturday night when it stages the ‘Heat Rising Stars’show at Longtower Youth Club.
Two of the club’s most exciting young kickboxing talents are the main attractions on an action-packed fight bill as Steve Owens and Damien ‘Kid Dynamite’ attempt to secure ISKA titles for Strike on its second show of the year.
St Johnston native, Duddy makes the step up in weight as he fights for the 60kg Irish Amateur title while Owens, from Bayview Terrace, is hoping to follow in the footsteps of his stablemate and sparring partner, Eamon Deane and bring the ISKA’s Pro Am 5 Nations 75kg title back to Strike in the headline bout.
That Pro Am title, won by Deane in the Domination show at Templemore Sports Complex last November, was vacated by the Creggan man when he turned professional to fight for the world title in Germany last month.
Strike coach, ‘Pinta’ believes his clubmen have what it takes to bring the titles back to the club and he’s excited about showcasing some of the city’s up-and-coming K1 fighters.
Owens (7-2-0) has been quickly making a name for himself on the Irish K1 scene and ‘Pinta’ is confident he can secure the 5 Nations belt after watching him secure a spectacular K.O at Enfusion in May and another win last month.
“Steve Owens has been the busiest fighter I’ve had since Strike has opened,” said ‘Pinta’. “He’s won six and lost two so far. So that’s nine fights he’s had already and he’s only 21 years-old.
“He’s full of confidence but he’s up against a tough fighter in Tier Blundell from Birmingham. He’s a well travelled fighter. He as a lot of experience and the odds are against him, but I’m sure with the home support and the amount of training he’s put in, he’ll be grand.
“He’s fighting for the belt Eamon Deane won at Domination,” added ‘Pinta’. “Eamon had to vacate that title when he turned professional and went to fight for the world title in Germany.
“He’s got the confidence and he’s got the hunger and he’s surrounded by a good team. Everyone is behind him and Damien. As a team we want them to do well. It’s just down to Steve on the night.”
The popular ‘Kid Dynamite’ Duddy returns to the scene of his ISKA Amateur Irish title victory over Ben Clarke of Blackrock Co. Cork last March and his coach is predicting another pulsating fight for local fight fans.
“Damien Duddy is always a crowd pleaser,” added the Strike coach. “He’s been coming through the ranks this past eight years. We tried to get him a Five Nations title but it’s a K1 Irish title. He’s just moved up a weight to 62kg.
“He’s already cleaned up in the full contact rules so this is the start of his K1 career and he’s fighting for an Irish title. So we’ll be pushing him for a few other belts throughout the year to see how far he can go.”
People want to see a good tear up and want to see blood and knockouts and this show should have plenty of action.Daniel ‘Pinta’ Quigley
And ‘Pinta’ is looking forward to two other Strike fighters who will be featuring on the bill. The highly rated youngster, Glen Sheehan (55kg) and Sarah ‘Pink Panther’ McGowan (60kg).
“There’s a lot of young talent coming through Strike. We’ve been travelling up and down Ireland, to Dublin and Wexford, to shows as much as we can. So they’re gaining experience.
“Glen Sheehan was down in Athlone recently and stopped his fighter in the second round. He’s another very, very exciting talent. He fights at 55kg so he’s light but he’s fast and he’s another good crowd pleaser.
“Sarah McGowan is only 16 years old but she’s really mature. She’s been sparring with most of the lads and has more than held her own. So her fight will surely be good to watch as well.
“It’s a great venue and we always try and put on the best show we possibly can.
As the dust begins to settle on UFC 189 and Conor McGregor’s thrilling stoppage of Chad Mendes, ‘Pinta’ is hoping to tap into that hype and is hoping Derry fight fans come out in force on Saturday night.
”We’ve changed the rules to Oriental rules which is much more exciting and it’s the first time a full Oriental Rules show will be held in Derry.
“People want to see a good tear up and want to see blood and knockouts and this show should have plenty of action.
“With so much hype around the UFC and the Conor McGregor fight last weekend hopefully Derry people still have the appetite this weekend to see some local fighters perform.
“Derry people should be supporting their local talent. You have to remember Conor McGregor once fought on a show in Derry about five years ago. There’s lots of opportunities now for fighters and you never know, there could be a future Conor McGregor on one of these shows.”
Tickets for the show are priced at £15 and £10 for U18s and are available at Masons Bar and Strike Martial Arts Academy.
There will be full bar facilities on the night, provided by Masons Bar.
Doors open at 6.30pm.