The new European champion Bird though only 18 years-old has sacrificed a lot in his young fight career, he recently sold his car, pc and practically everything he owned to go train in Thailand in preparation for future ring competition. It paid off too when he lifted the WKN European crown.

Prokick chief coach Billy Murray; believes Bird could go all the way to the top and even compete in the new Japanese division in K1 at 65kg but only if he stays grounded. “In the sport of kickboxing Mark is starting to making a name for himself across the world, and now that he has added a European title to his British crown, even better. Last year he also travelled to the Mediterranean on invitation and took the Corsican cup."

Sunday saw an action packed fight card at the Holiday Inn Belfast. Billy Murray Promotions and ProKick brought you the Next Generation event. The event featured fighters from Portugal, Scotland, England, Corsica, Ireland north and south.


The rest of the Next Generation results are listed below: 
 Under Low-Kick Rules - 3x2 minute round Bantonweight
David Bird 57kg (ProKick) Vs Peter Hamill 57kg (Kempo Gym) Winner points
Teenager David Bird didn’t have as much luck as his brother as he lost on points against tough opponent Peter Hamil from Lurgan. The 15 year old started well but tired in the final round which cost him the fight.
Light middleweight both 15 years old - 3x2 minute round
Andrew McCreary (NI) Winner RSF 2nr round Vs Kieran Jamieson (Scotland) 
Debut fighter Andrew McCreary made a good start to a promising career with his win over Scottish fighter Kieran Jamieson. The two 15year olds showed talent for the future after a hard fought 2 rounds of their 3 round bout. McCreary done enough with the better kicking style and a persistent left jab to force the referee to call a halt in the 2nd.  Well done both boys.
Catch-weight Contest
- 3x2 minute round - DRAW
Anne Gallagher  Co.Donegall (ProKick) Vs Tracey Renow (London) (Marty Cox Gym)
Anne Gallagher faced a tough opponent in experienced veteran Tracey Renow from London. The Londoner however took the fight at very short notice and was 5 kilo’s lighter in a catchweight contest. Gallagher who has had 3 previous bouts compared to Renows vast record settled comfortably into the pace that Renow set and picked her shots well. All judges including the referee awarded the match a draw after a stylish match from two well suited opponents.

Light-Heavyweight - 3x2 minute round
Chris Rakus (Galway Ken Horan ) Winner points 81kg Vs  Martin Leonard 83kg (Kempo Gym)
Two travelling and visiting opponents met in the Next Generation event and got as warm a welcome as the home fighters. This was a tit for tat match with the judges heading toward the fighter from Galway.
Lightweight - 3x2 minute round
Lance Thompson (ProKick) 60 kg Vs Vernon Green Winner points  (London Marty Cox Gym)
17 year old Lance Thompson made his first competitive outing on the card and looked as though he brought the whole of the country with him for support on entering the ring there was a huge uproar from the audience for the ProKick fighter. The gutsy teen took on more experienced fighter Vernon Green from London in a 3 rounder. Unfortunately for Lance and his supporters he didn’t take the win but put on a brave performance and is already talking about his next outing. A special thanks to Marty Cox for coming over at the last minute to give Lance the necessary experience that is needed to compete.
Middleweight - 3x2 minute round
Robert Regulinski 75kg (Golden Dragon) Vs Greg Thornton Winner RSF 2nd round (Kempo Gym)75kg
Two more visiters and non prokick fighters hit the square ring at the holiday Inn Next Generation event. This match again was a tit for tat battle with neither fighter taking a backward step. Kempo fighter Greg Thornton took the win as he stopped Polish fighter Robert Regulinski.
Light middleweight  - 3x2 minute round
Karl McBlain (ProKick) Winner RSF 2nd round 70kg Vs Danny McAloran70kg (Kempo Gym)
Debutant Karl McBlain started his career in a blaze of glory but not without some scary moments of his own. The two fighters started fast and it looked like whoever landed first would take the win. The two battled head to head throughout the first round without taking a backward step. Luckily for Karl he landed the big shots first allowing the referee to administer a standing count and check over Danny McAloran. It was much of the same for the second round only this time McAloran hit the canvas not once but twice forcing the referee to call a halt to the bout in McBlain’s favour.
Light middleweight  - 3x2 minute round - DRAW
Jonny smith 72kg(prokick) Vs Connor Toman 75kg (Kempo Gym)

Jonny Smith thought he was caught up in a cyclone as his fighter Connor Toman came at him with every limb. The Kempo fighter was looking for an early finish and technique went out the window as these two brawled until the end of the third round. It was hard for the judges to split the pair as they seemed to be watching a dog fight. Amongst the gnarls and growls it was a very competitive match and the pair were awarded a draw.

International  & Championship Contests 
WKN Super-heavyweight K1 Style  4x2 minute round
James Gillen (NI) Winner points Vs David Briwa (Corsica)
Battle of the butterbeans was next up and make no mistake there was nothing soft about these two super heavyweights. The Corsican didn’t come to lose as since his last fight he trimmed down a mere 20 kilo off his mass. James also trained hard and lost a good 5 kilo for this bout which brings him close to 20 stone. The pair started fast with the Corsican walking forward throwing hard kicks and looking to land with the knee. It took Gillen no time to work out the Corsicans game plan to make his own counter attacks. James scored well with uppercuts and hooks and concentrated on the low kick at the same time. There was much of the same in the second round but in the third Gillen landed a series of heavy shots allowing the referee to look after Briwa for a standing count. The two gave their all for the packed Holiday Inn crowd on this Christmas cracker and James Gillen walked away the victor.
WKN Super Welterweight Amateur European K1 Style title  - 5x2 minute round
Mark Bird (NI) British champion Winner Points 65kg Vs Mickey Shields(Scotland) British Champion 69kg
Mark Bird lifted the super welterweight European title after a classy display of kickboxing K1 style. Kudos to young Mickey Shields who travelled to the event without a coach. Report above.
WKN Super Welterweight Aamateur European full-Contact title - 5x2 minute round
Stuart Jess (NI) Champion Vs Bruno Torres Winner 3rd round ko (Portugal) 

Stuart Jess’ hopes of world title glory were halted last week when his rival Jose Oliviera broke his ankle prior to their bout. A stand in was found at the last minute as team mate Bruno Torres, a Portuguese champion agreed to challenge Jess for his European title. Jess fought strong in the first round matching up to the Portuguese fighter Torres but was caught in the second round with an accumulation of punches and took a standing count. He pulled though and made it to the third round but was unlucky to be sent to the canvas after a shuddering hook to the head. The Benifica based fighter Torres was delighted to say the least after winning a European title with only 48 hours notice. It was a bittersweet end to a perfect day for the home fight fans.

The Next Generation kickboxing event in Belfast from the Holiday Inn was sponsored by:

Taylored Workwear LTD
Calor Gas
Company Haircutters
Ralph Jess motors.

ProKick and Billy Murray would like to thank all the travelling fighters and coaches from Portugal, Scotland, England, Corsica, Ireland North and South for helping make this event a great success..

Video action and pictures to follow so please check back here for more.