World titles up for grabs at Galway’s biggest fight night

The biggest night on the kickboxing calendar will be held on Saturday evening in Galway.

Three world titles will be decided at the Black Box Theatre to celebrate the Galway Black Dragon Club’s 15 years in the city.

The club, which is based in the Riverside Commercial Park on the Tuam Road, is flying in fighters from Wales, England, France and the USA for this promotion, entitled "Worlds Collide".

Local fighter and current European super middleweight champion Cathal "Mean Machine" Manning from Salthill is taking on last year’s 2010 IKF World classic champion Joseph "Crush" Corneroli from South Carolina for the vacant World light heavyweight title. Manning (23 ), who is a plumber, also has been training at the club for almost 10 years, winning the European supermiddleweight title first in 2008, which he successfully defended last year.

Nikki "the killer" Collins from Luimnagh, who knocked out European champion Carla Jessup from England in the fourth round for the World bantamweight crown last May, makes a mandatory first defence of her title against No 1 contender Alicia Mermoux from France. The 32-years-old who works in Boston Scientific, has been kickboxing for 10 years and is an assistant coach at the Galway Black Dragon Kickboxing Club.

The club’s European heavyweight champ, Aidan Brooks from Dublin, will drop down to cruiserweight to take on French-based Miletic Nenad from Serbia for the vacant World cruiserweight title under International Rules. Brook, a 35-years-old health care worker, is the current European heavyweight champion.

In addition to the three world title fights, a European, two Five Nations fights, and an All Ireland title fights are also on the card.

Gort’s Eric Daly, the current All Ireland and Five Nations champion, takes on current British champion Howard Hogg from Wales for the vacant European super lightweight crown, while Catherine Cullinan from Claregalway fights the current English champion, Zoe Land, for the vacant Five Nations featherweight title.

One of Ireland’s top junior fighters, 16-years-old Charlie Ward from Castlepark, will take on last year’s World silver medalist Glenn McFarlane from Belfast for the vacant Junior Five Nations light welterweight crown, and his clubmate Alex Novac makes a second defence of his senior All Ireland welterweight crown to No 1 contender Darryl Orr from Donegal.

The promoter Pete Foley says with five countries and two continents about to do battle, this will be Ireland’s highest profile kickboxing fight night over the last 20 years.

“ Fight fans are guaranteed to see world class athletes in action as local fighters attempt to carve their own little bit of history,” he says.

The promotion will be supervised by International Kickboxing Federation president Steve Fossum who is flying in from Sacramento.

Tickets are available from the Black Dragon Gym, Fighters, Town Hall Theatre, Sally Longs Bar, and the Menlo Park Hotel.

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