A KICKBOXER is hoping for a hometown shot at a world title later this year after coming through a testing fight in Northern Ireland.
Feld Barlow, 21, of Great Sutton, travelled to Dungannon to face local favourite Johnny Kerr in a defence of his 67kg British WKA amateur title.
Barlow had to contend with a hostile atmosphere but managed to silence the partisan home crowd by knocking Kerr out in the first round.
He already holds the British, English and Commonwealth amateur belts – so a shot at a world title is next on the agenda.
Trainer Brian Nelson, who began coaching Barlow when he came into his gym as a four-year-old, is now looking for a venue in the Ellesmere Port area big enough to stage the contest, which is pencilled in for October.
“We want Feld to fight for the world amateur title, somewhere in Ellesmere Port,” said Nelson. “We’re in the process of looking for a venue and finding an opponent.”
Barlow usually fights at Whitby Sports and Social Club, but the venue would be too small to house a world title showdown.
Nelson said Barlow’s fight in Northern Ireland was like ‘stepping into the lion’s den’. Kerr was cheered on by 300 rowdy locals.
“It was like one Manchester United fan being in Anfield,” said Nelson, who runs kickboxing classes at the Epic every Saturday. “We had bottles thrown at us, but Feld wasn’t bothered. He did his talking in the ring.”
Feld’s dad Gary follows his son to every fight and was in his corner when he took on Kerr, who he was facing for the second time in 2012 after beating him earlier this year.
Gary said: “He’s looking to go professional now, regardless of the result in October.”
Also in action in Ireland on the same bill as Barlow was Ellesmere Port’s Steve Babb, who also belongs to the Brian Nelson stable of kickboxers.
He felt aggrieved at losing his 76kg bout when the referee awarded the contest to the local fighter.
“Steve was robbed,” said Nelson.