6 May 2024

~3 minutes read

Success for Black Dragon Kickboxing Club in Carlow

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Success for Black Dragon Kickboxing Club in Carlow
The Galway Black Dragon Kickboxing Gym travelled to Carlow on Sunday with three fighters for a fantastic evening of Kickboxing/K-1.

Darren Van Strien from Westside, 12-year-old Itza Daril from Moycullen and Sam Esmat from Tuam Road were in action and with two fantastic wins and one loss, it certainly wasn’t a bad day at the office.

Itza Daril was first up and she certainly showed what she was made of by putting on a fantastic display against her 13-year-old home town opponent.

In fairness to both girls, they both fought out of their skins, but it was Itza’s superb kicking skills that caught the judges’ eyes giving her the win by unanimous decision in front of a capacity audience in Carlow’s beautiful Seven Oaks Hotel.

Watch out for this young lady as she is an upcoming superstar.

Sam Esmat was up next and although he only took the fight on a week’s notice, it was one of the most exciting of the evening with both men going at it from the opening bell.

However, it wasn’t to be Sam’s night as his opponent from Shannon Kickboxing caught him with a left hook from hell in the 3rd round and the referee rightly called it off.

Never an easy fight against any of Howie Vincent’s Shannon Warriors but Sam can certainly hold his head high as he doesn’t do boring fights and is surely a fan favourite.

The coup de gras was next though, the icing on the cake as they say as Darren Van Strien once again locked horns with Shannon’s Éamonn Markham with the IKF Junior Bantamweight Irish K-1 Title on the line.

The last time these two met was back in February in Galway where the judges couldn’t split them, and they fought to a draw meaning the title remained vacant.

With Darren’s 18th birthday fast approaching (less than a week away), it was a scramble to find a show around Ireland to put the fight on but promoter Larry Brennan stepped up and was delighted to host.

The fight got underway and both contenders went at it from the off.

Darren however, seemed a little sharper in the exchanges in the first couple of rounds but the Shannon sider rallied and came back strong in the third and the fourth and it was once again all up in the air, but the fifth & final round saw the two young men throw everything at each other in a really exciting & entertaining bout that had the audience on the edge of their seats but when decision time came, it was Darren’s work that caught the judges eyes and he won by a single point.

Once again, Galway and the Black Dragon Gym have a newly crowned and well-deserved all-Ireland Champion.

Darren not only works diligently in his training regime but he also helps out with junior classes at the Black Dragon Gym and therefore gives back so much to the sport that’s been so good to him.

Special mentions go to his club mates Oisín Concannon & Corey O’Malley for not only helping in the corner but also for all the work they put into Darren with all the sparring, pad work, roadwork etc and of course to all the fight fans who travelled from Galway to cheer the fighters on.

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