International News: Ten Year Old British Girl Is The Best Junior Kickboxer In The World
A British girl is widely being considered the best junior kickboxer in the world now that she has lost only one fight out of twenty three in her incredibly young career, pun intended. The most impressive fact is that young Tiah Ayton is regularly fighting boys who are three years older than she is in order to get a fair fight during her training. The sky is the limit for Tiah and her nickname, the “girl on fire”, is a perfect indicator of that.
 
Tiah has been training for almost half her life – that’s only four years, so yeah, you could say she’s a natural. She’s three times European and World junior full contact kick boxing champion, and world open Muay Thai champ. Now, at only ten years old, she has her sights set on Olympic gold and a UFC title. Every week, she trains at least four days for well over an hour which might not sound like a lot but for a ten year old it is. She regularly trains and fights against competitors who are not only older but also weigh more. And by more were talking fifteen or twenty pounds normally.
 
Maybe the craziest thing about Tiah is she learned most of her technique from watching YouTube videos at home. She’s also never been knocked down in any of her fights either which is almost unheard of with the amount of bouts she’s had already. For now, she’ll split her time between being a fighter and being a kid with the hope she can put more time towards kickboxing once she graduates middle school in a couple of years. She is currently hyper focused on school as well as meeting her kickboxing goals of becoming the number one ranked junior kickboxer globally as well as Olympic gold and a UFC championship down the line of course.
 

Rebecca Mooney Makes The Northside Proud & Brings Home Gold
Rebecca Mooney from the Northside of Dublin, Ireland has successfully held on to her European Taekwondo sparring title which took place in Bulgaria. This is big news, not just because it earned her a gold medal, but also because it has officially secured her spot in the World Championships which will be held in Ireland in October of this year. It was absolutely no picnic but she fought extremely hard and smart and came out on top once again.
 
One of the most impressive parts of her victory is the fact that she’s only seventeen years old at the moment so the sky is the limit for Mooney. It took her three extremely hard-fought fights for her to retain her title but she prevailed and did so while keeping her cool as well as controlling the pace of the bouts extremely well. The road to the title included a tough match against her Irish teammate Mikaella Moriarty and the title fight against a Polish fighter who gave her a real run for her money but Mooney prevailed and took home the gold through a decision in which all four umpires agreed upon. It is her third straight gold in this category, so, she is now three time defending champion which is a first for a fighter of her size.
 
She also took home a bronze medal for team sparring during the competition. Her teammates also took home a couple of medals as well. Mooney has returned to Ireland as European Number One for her particular division once again. She will focus on her finishing her school work for the year and a short vacation but after that she will soon start her preparations for the World Championships in October where, as we’ve said, the sky is now the limit for Mooney.
 

Irish Kickboxer O’Donoghue Takes Home World Championship
Brian O’Donoghue has won WFM Kickboxing Championship which was held in Dubai this year. He is the first Irish winner in the history of the tournament. What’s most impressive is O’Donoghue’s age, at 36 he is also one of the oldest winner in the tournament’s history as well. He hails from Carlow and fights like it was well as he unleashed a fierce barrage of punches and kicks to take down the heavily favored Egyptian opponent in a majority decision.
 
O’Donoghue is no stranger to rough and tumble, pull out all the stops sorts of fights, which this most certainly was. He used to be a footballer for many years in his youth and spent the vast majority of his youth kickboxing. Today, he runs and owns The Fit Club in Carlow where he has close to a hundred students at the moment. Now he also has a WFM Kickboxing Championship to hang in his school as well.
 
This just adds fuel to the fire that is Irish Kickboxing in 2017. Earlier this month over two thousand people competed in the Irish Open – an all time high for the event.

Top Irish Fighters of All Time
Ireland is not a densely populated country. Despite its scant population (5 million individuals to be approximate), it has managed to produce some of the best fighters in the world. In this article, we shall discuss the top 5 Irish boxers of all times as well as the top 5 UFC fighters from Ireland. We also write a brief on the most popular female fighter from Ireland (with special regards to the Mixed Martial Arts fighting division).
 

The Top 5 Irish Boxers of All Times:

 
1) Steve Collins – Popularly known as the “Celtic Warrior”, Steve Collins was the bookie’s choice. He enjoyed an extremely successful armature as well as professional boxing career. He is known to have won twenty six Irish boxing titles before becoming the world champion. Ironically, Steve should have been the world boxing champion in the year 1990 wherein it is argued that he defeated Mike McCallum. Nonetheless, he eventually won the belt after defeating Chris Eubank (not once but twice). Unfortunately, Steve had to retire early in his career following serious head injuries.
 
2) Eamonn Loughran – A silver medalist at the World Junior Boxing Championship held in 1987, Eamonn went on to become the World Welterweight Champion. He also defended his welterweight belt five times (an iconic feat by all standards).
 
3) Barry McGuian – Popularly known as the ‘Clones Cyclone’, Barry participated in the 1978 and 1980 Commonwealth Games. After turning professional in the year 1981, Barry went on to become the World Featherweight Champion (WBA) in the year 1985 after defeating Eusebio Pedroza. Unfortunately, owing to his father’s sudden demise, Barry quit the sport, as he seemed to have lost the motivation to continue boxing.
 
4) Freddie Gilroy – An Olympic gold medalist in the 1956 Olympic Games, Freddie had an illustrious career as a professional boxer. During his short 5 year stint as a professional boxer, Freddie won several accolades including European, Commonwealth as well as British boxing titles. Freddy was also the favorite contender when it came to betting on the game. John Caldwell Vs Freddie Gilroy was perhaps the most popular boxing bouts in Freddie’s illustrious career.
 
5) Tom Sharkey – He started his career as a cabin boy before taking advantage of his “brawling style” boxing and becoming a world champion. A bookies’ favorite, Tom Sharkey had a terrific career as a professional boxer. He was inducted in the International Boxing Hall of Fame in the year 2003.
 

The Top 5 Irish MMA Fighters of All Times:

 
1) Conor McGregor – Without a shadow of a doubt, Conor McGregor is the most popular MMA fighter that Ireland has ever produced. He has participated in the Featherweight, Lightweight and Welterweight titles. He is currently the UFC Lightweight champion and has won 21 of his 24 professional MMA fights. Boxing is considered as Conor’s best skill-set. He is also known as “Mystic Mac” and “The Notorious”. Conor is undoubtedly the busiest fighter in the Ultimate Fighting Championship roster. He is also planning to move to the Lightweight division and win the title belt.
 
2) Joseph Duffy – Joseph is the only Irish fighter to have defeated the legendary Conor McGregor. He fights in the Lightweight division and has a professional fighting record of 18 victories and 2 defeats. In the UFC, he has fought twice and has remained undefeated both times.
Nicknamed “Irish Joe”, Joseph holds a professional boxing record of 7 fights with no losses and a professional kickboxing record of 3 fights and no losses.
 
3) Paddy Holohan – One of the best all rounded mixed martial artists from Ireland, Paddy Holohan competed in the Flyweight division of the UFC. He started his professional fighting career in the year 2007 before retiring in the year 2016. His mixed martial arts record stands at 15 fights, 12 wins and 2 losses, with 1 draw. Patrick used his Jiu-Jitsu skills to defeat his opponents. He also goes by the official name of Patrick Holohan.
 
4) Neil Seery – Neil is yet another MMA fighter hailing from Ireland. He has a mixed martial arts professional fighting record of 16 wins and 12 losses. Although he lacks knock-out power, Neil is known for his rock solid chin and his lightening fast speed. He is currently in contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship and fights in the Flyweight division.
 
5) Cathal Pendred – Nicknamed “The Punisher”, Cathal is an Irish fighter who has an impressive mixed martial arts record of 17 wins and 4 losses. He has competed for the UFC, Cage Warriors and the Cage Contenders. At Cage Contenders, he was the Welterweight champion. He fights out of Dublin, Ireland and has participated in both Welterweight as well as Middleweight divisions. Cathal is best known for his ‘dirty boxing’ fighting style that usually works in his favor during split decisions.
 
The Top Female Irish Fighter – Without a shadow of doubt, it has to be Aisling Daly. Currently competing at the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Aisling shuttles between Strawweight and Flyweight divisions. She has an impressive record of 16 wins and 6 losses in her mixed martial arts career. She won gold at NAAFS 125 pounds division by defeating Jessica Eye. Aisling Daly is undoubtedly the most popular Irish woman MMA fighter.
 

The Uncanny Connection Between Irish People and Mixed Martial Arts

 
It is interesting to note that more than 50% of Irish people prefer to legitimize MMA. They would like MMA to be added to the list of legitimate sports in Ireland. Ever since the Sports Minister of Ireland, Shane Ross, labeled mixed martial arts as a rather disturbing sport, the Irish fans decided to speak their mind and rally for the sport they genuinely love.
 
Mixed martial arts became popular after Conor McGregor won the UFC belt. Apparently, Shane is worried about the nature of injuries that this sport can cause. Many MMA fighters have been reported to have suffered brain hemorrhages. Leading neurologists have categorically stated that mixed martial art fighters run the risk of contracting long term sporting injuries.
 
Despite the contradicting views between the people of Ireland and the sporting authorities in Ireland, the fact remains that mixed martial arts and boxing are extremely popular in this country. With the rise in the global popularity of MMA, it is expected that Irish fans would always get to watch their favorite Irish fighters slug it out in a cage.
 

A Local Kickboxing Comeback Is In The Works…
Lily de la Cour started the year on an all time high with being awarded the Celtic Ross West Cork Sports Star of the Year which came only a month after she won gold at the WAKO championships in 2015. She went on to dominate and win her weight class at WAKO Irish Open International in Dublin, Ireland. Everything was coming up Lily. Then the tragedy occurred – she twisted her ankle while sparring leaving her with a minor tear in her tendon.
 
It might not sound like a major injury but for a kickboxer it is extremely serious. In Lily’s case, she was out for the final seven months of the season and in early 2017 she is still rehabing from the injury but she is on the mend. She says that she only expects another 90 or so days before she is back at a hundred percent which will come just in time to get ready in a hurry for the upcoming season. She is hoping for a big year once she comes back from her injury – she hopes to defend her WAKO title as well as looks to improve.

International News: A Nine Year Old Kashmiri Girl Is Killing It!
Tajamul Islam is a nine year old girl who has amazingly won the sub-junior World Kickboxing Championship in November. She is from Kashmir a region of turmoil which is currently held by India. After her latest victory, she now has her eyes on the world’s greatest kickboxing prize – the Olympics. She has only been kickboxing for two years – she just started training martial arts in 2014.
 
She picked up her first accolade, a gold medal, in a state kickboxing championship when she, at the age of eight, she defeated a thirteen year old competitor. She trains seven days a week for a total of about twenty five hours a week while still attending school on a regular basis. En route to her gold medal victory at the world championships she won six fights in five days.
 
She has since become a local celebrity and hero bringing hope to her politically divided homeland. At school, she is constantly at the top of her class and participates in after school activities as well even though she still trains kickboxing so frequently. She has said that when she gets older that she would like to become a doctor. She commented “I will first break my opponents bones and then treat them.”
 

What Are Connor McGregor’s Chances To Win At UFC 205?
With the highly anticipated New York debut of MMA at UFC 205 tonight the top question on everyone’s minds is “Can McGregor do it again?” Most would have you believe that, no, he can’t. Many experts feel that the continuous jumps in weight classes, McGregor’s conditioning can possibly be at the point where it needs to be in order for him to be successful. Even if he does lose, it is impressive that he’s able to be so fluid so quickly between weight classes. That coupled with the daunting task of fighting the great Eddie Alvarez leave little room for any doubt that McGregor will lose.
 
However, if you look at McGgregor’s last fight versus Nate Diaz at UFC 202 you should be able to be convinced that he does in fact stand a good chance of victory. That fight was an absolute battle of wills and attrition which saw McGregor come out on top by the skin of his teeth. But, that is generally how those sorts of bouts are won – in extremely close battles of endurance. More importantly and less noticeably, it was McGregor’s extreme preparation and planning that realistically won him the fight. His super effective leg kick offense and even more effective take down defense completely turned the tables on Diaz to the point it won the fight.
 
Expect more of the same tonight: a mastermind game plan that catches the opposition by complete surprise. If he does come out of the main event with a win, McGregor will only be the third fighter in UFC history to simultaneously hold two belts in two different weight classes. When asked of what he expected from the fight UFC fan and martial arts school owner Lee McCurrach said “We’ll have to wait and see but you know it’s going to be very entertaining.” Tune into UFC 205 from New York tonight at 10:00 pm EST on Pay-Per-View to catch all of the main card.
 

Bantry Teen Is Now A Kickboxing Sensation
At the WAKO championships held in Dublin about a month and a half ago Sean Brady put the kickboxing world on notice when he took Gold at the event. Brady is only fifteen years old too. The local high school student is also a talented footballer as well and with all of these recent achievements at such a young age he is quickly on the rise in the kickboxing world.
 
Before the gold medal, Brady was already a four time national champion. How did he achieve all of this success at such a young age? His father Bernard explained the culture in his family “This family lives and breathes kickboxing.” So, with the constant help, support and influence of his family along with his own dedication and hard work he became a gold medal winning world champion.
 
Sean had spent the last four years preparing and training for the event after he heard at a competition in 2012 that the 2016 WAKO championships would be held in Dublin, Ireland. As for the future, Brady will be moving up to the junior division next year where he plans to remain for three years before he moves onto the senior division at age eighteen. He will continue to compete in the WAKO championships so long as his schedule with his studies will allow him to do so.
 

Ireland Comes Up Big At World Kickboxing Championships In Dublin
Almost two weeks ago the World Association of Kickboxing Organizations (WAKO) held their biggest event, the world championships, in Ireland. Over 2,500 participated but only a very select few were able to call themselves champions at tournament’s end. Eliza Bluma, Dayna Walsh, Robyn McDonnell and Craig Tuite were the locals who had spectacular performances in the tournament.
 
The fighters earned medals and fought their hearts out. Overall, they brought home one gold and two bronze medals between them. It seems as though their many months of hard training and preparation had paid off. It is quite clear that they all have earned a spot on the Irish national team for many years to come and that their best has yet to come. Don’t sleep on this team!
 

Irish Open Winning Kickboxing Teacher Helps Kids Live Better
A twenty five year old kickboxing teacher named Karen Bailey is using her skills to help kids grow up healthier. She has been kickboxing for fifteen years and has said that kickboxing “saved my life.” She has won medals in the 2013 World Championship, 2014 EU Championship and the 2015 Irish Open.
 
Since then she has been volunteering her time using kickboxing to get kids active in order to get them used to ditching the video game laden sedentary lifestyle many children tend to choose in 2016. However, the main purpose of her work is to educate children with eating disorders to get them back on a healthy diet routine. Add in exercise and you have the formula for health success.
 
Karen volunteers in the times she has off between her supply work and kickboxing herself. She works five days a week and trains kickboxing six days a week. But, she still finds time to volunteer with the children.
 
According to her peers she “goes above and beyond for those kids.” As a result of being so charitable with her time and efforts she has been nominated for the Nottingham Heroes Award 2016 which celebrate the achievements of remarkable people who make their community a better place. The 2016 winner will be announced and recognized at a ceremony in October in Nottingham.