By Beccy Davies
As black-tie events go, no one really imagines a cage in a middle of a room surrounded by beautifully decorated tables in a stunning Manor Park House with a champagne reception as you enter, but all this worked together beautifully to bring us one of James Wallis’ best events yet. James called this one of his quieter fight nights, but the atmosphere and audience were top notch.
I was lucky enough to be escorted to this event by old friend and IMMAF Team GB coach Nigel Burgess, alongside UKMMAF Chairman Windy Miller. The whole night was put together so well, from a sit-down curry at 6pm, to the spot-on match ups as always from James, starting at 7pm on the dot. I always mention in these reports how well James puts each fight together as it is so important to these amateurs to find their feet in these bouts and not feel uncomfortable at grass roots level.
The cage was set in the middle of the room with beautifully laid out tables surrounding and some seating toward the back. Men were dressed in black tie attire and ladies in cocktail dresses and with full bellies we all got ready for the first much anticipated bout.
Cei Evans (3D MMA) v Kori Lewis (Chris Rees Academy) was a Junior 56k, K1 bout. Both in headguard and shin guard, they both produced a professional display of striking and composure. Kori Lewis, 15 years old, had some of the best striking ability I have seen in any bout, so I see a very bright future for him. Not forgetting his opponent who took some very sharp powerful shots and still fired back. The fight concluded with a unanimous decision victory for Kori Lewis. I look forward to seeing more from both fighters at future events.
As the night drew on, the mixture of K1 and MMA fights kept all in the crowd entranced. There have always been certain K1 fighters that I really look forward to watching, Kalem John is one of them. Fighting out of James Wallis KGB Gym, Kalem always comes to fight and on Saturday he fought Dalton John (no relation) both giving us a no holds barred display of how it should be done. This fight was for the K1 Welsh Championship title with both fighters giving us five rounds of powerful shots. Kalem used every opening to strike and swipe his opponent resulting in a split decision win for Kalem John.
On next was another K1 fighter that I always look forward to watching. Fighting out of James Wallis KGB Gym, Kristian Hynes was fighting Tyree Stevens (Assasins Gym) in a Pro K1 bout. I had seen Kristian fight on previous shows and his sheer tenacity and combinations make him a pleasure to watch so I knew he would bring it all in the cage and so he did. His opponent also brought it all resulting in a very hard fought fight with Tyree Stevens getting the split decision win.
At this point in the night we were invaded by the Swedish. Well more of an organised invasion led by the very charismatic Swedish coach Jorgen Hamberg. A great idea was had to get five of Sweden’s amateur finest to match up against four of Chris Rees Academy’s best and one of 3D MMA’s amateur fighters to make this a Sweden v Wales Cup event. What a brilliant light bulb moment that was as:
Jonny Touma (Sweden) v Morgan Monk (3D MMA Wales) – Winner Jonny Touma.
Robin Roos (Sweden) v Will Davies (CRA Wales) – Winner Robin Roos.
Renato Vidivic (Sweden) v Ben Miles (CRA Wales) – Winner Renato Vidivic.
Alexander Lindgren (Sweden) v Shane Price (CRA Wales) – Winner Shane Price.
Tobias Harila (Sweden) v Scott Pederson (CRA Wales) – Winner Scott Pederson.
The Swedish fighters came to fight and walked away with the Cup which was very well deserved, plus it was great to see all my old friends that I hadn’t seen since my Cut Woman days on IMMAF.
The high level from all the amateur fighters was outstanding, so if this is the next generation of athletes we send out at grass roots level, then we are all in for one good decade of outstanding professional MMA fighters.
James Wallis next show will be at the beautiful Grand Theatre in Swansea on July 21st, so I would advise anybody interested in K1 and MMA to come over and watch a spectacular vision of martial arts in beautiful surroundings.
Once again it has been a pleasure.
Photography courtesy of Richard Velardo.