World titles and black belt for martial artists

It’s been a big week for local exponents of martial arts in the region.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 16th November 2021, 9:40 am
Updated Tuesday, 16th November 2021, 9:40 am
George Wardle, Keowan Eaton and Robert Howey at the Hybrid Kickboxing World Championships, and Niall Keen-Jolly with his karate black belt.

Kickboxers from Hybrid Kickboxing Amble gained success at the WKO Open World Championships held in Barnsley, gaining three silver and two gold medals, whilst karate kid Niall Keen-Jolly was awarded his black belt.

At the WKO World Championships Robert Howey gained a hard fought silver medal in the Sport Boxing coming up against a very experienced young lad in the final.

14 year old George Wardle had a hard day only managing fourth in the K1 but came back strong to win silver in the Sport Boxing against a very strong lad from Poland. This is an even bigger achievement as George has only trained for three months.

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Star of the show was 16 year-old Keowan Eaton who gained silver in the K1, and gold in the Sport Boxing, which he followed up with another gold medal and Championship belt in the Ultimate Fighter (one round boxing, one round kickboxing and one round low kick), Keowan stopping his English opponent in the first round.

All three lads were a credit to team Hybrid and there family's this being there first time representing not only Hybrid Kickboxing Amble but the England team as well.

For Niall, who has just turned 10, gaining his black belt in karate was a remarkable achievement.

He only started karate in 2018 at Warkworth with his sensei Keith Burns, at the Kaizen Karate Club.

Niall showed great interest in the sport and soon started to train more at Ashington, Killingworth and Gateshead as he progressed in his belts, also enjoying the competition side of the sport.

Even through COVID Niall managed to keep his training going with zoom links, and as the rules changed, to outdoor training. And his commitment and dedication paid off on Sunday when, after an eight hour day, he was presented with his black belt (1st Dan) by sensei Frank Brennan and sensei Gary Harford.

Mother Ruth said: “This is a rare achievement for one so young especially in the present climate.

"We would like to thank all that have helped Niall to achieve his momentous goal, especially to everyone at Kaizen Karate Club and more so to sensei Keith Burns.”