Article: Bay of Plenty Times - October 1989 (lead up to event)
Tauranga fight fans will have the opportunity to see world class kickboxing next Saturday when Tauranga’s Clinton Simmonds takes on Australia’s Ashley Fox for the South Pacific Super Featherweight title.
The sport of kickboxing, which has received a fair amount of exposure on television recently, is enjoying a growth in popularity and the organiser of the event Pat Bishop is hoping for a lot of public support for the “home town boy”.
As well as acting as organiser and promoter, Pat is also coach for Clinton and six other local kickboxers who will appear on the bill.
Pat has been coaching Clinton since 1986 when he was a student at Tauranga Boys’ College.
Pat says he has progressed into a very good fighter and is definitely one of the best of his weight in the country.
“Clinton is capable of a very spectacular fight,” he says. “He has a wide range of kicking skills and reasonable boxing ability.”
Pat adds that while Clinton has progressed quickly, based on a six-days-a-week training schedule, it is still early in his development and he has a long way to go yet.
However he is confident that Clinton has both the skills and conditioning to win Saturday’s fight.
Pat Bishop’s involvement in martial arts goes right back to the early seventies and the era of Bruce Lee movies. He dabbled in karate and then in 1974 became attracted to the sport of Nam Wah Pai.
As well as competing he started training a number of friends and associates in a house at the Mount which was converted into a gymnasium.
In 1982 he began to become more involved in training, at the same time being attracted to the new sport of kick-boxing which had developed in the United States.
At the time he was operating a gym in Cameron Road which he had for two years before moving to his current location in Grey Street.
Although unsuccessful in making it a fulltime paying job Pat says training in martial arts has become an “all embracing” involvement which takes up most of his time.
“I didn’t set out to be a trainer, it just derived from my involvement,” he says.
The sport of kickboxing has only been established in New Zealand since the early 1980s.
According to Pat it developed in the United States in the late 1970s as a mixture of conventional boxing and mainstream martial arts which were at their peak of popularity.
However kickboxing in its pure form has existed for centuries in Thailand where it is a national sport and goes under the name of Muay Thai, he says.
Pat says the two sports are very similar but for safety reasons the Western style doesn’t incorporate some of the elements of Thai boxing such as use of elbows.
“It’s basically safer and less brutal,” he says.
To the uninitiated the sport of kickboxing appears to be excessively violent with few redeeming features.
Pat concedes it is a potentially dangerous sport but says it is “controlled’ violence between two fighters usually well equipped to defend themselves. “Sure it’s not tennis,” he says. “But you’ve got to remember that all contact sports are dangerous.”