Brave man wins title
“The bravest man in Tauranga” is how coach Pat Bishop describes his fighter David Johnston after he won the New Zealand heavyweight kickboxing title in Tauranga at the weekend.
Against the odds, Johnston beat Auckland’s Billy Scanlan for the title after Scanlan did not come out for the fourth of the scheduled eight-round bout.
Scanlan, a legend in kickboxing circles, weighed in 10 kilograms heavier than Johnston and few had given Johnston a chance against his more experienced opponent.
Despite being repeatedly knocked down in the fight, Johnston was ahead on points when the fight was stopped.
Johnston’s coach Pat Bishop, still hoarse today after Saturday night’s fighting, said the applause for Johnston was thunderous; the atmosphere unbelievable.
“I can’t say how proud I was,” Bishop said.
It almost overshadowed the South Pacific title fight between another of Bishop’s boxer’s, Clinton Simmonds, and Queenslander Tony Cockburn.
Simmonds had the winning of the fight in the first round when he knocked his opponent down, but went to the wrong corner and delayed the referee’s count.
He went on to beat his heavier opponent in a split decision.
Bishop said Cockburn used his weight effectively to muscle in on Simmonds to stop him getting clear air to deliver his kicks and punches.
Topping off the “greatest” night’s boxing for the Tauranga club, Jason Wiggins also won a New Zealand title in the welterweight division by knocking out Jason Conway of Auckland with a clean punch to the jaw in the first round.
Tauranga’s other fighter vying for a title Justin Potter, lost his bout in the fleaweight division when he received a small cut above his eye.
Bishop said that because of Potter’s age, 13, it was decided to stop the fight for safety reasons. A rematch has been organised for March.