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Kerr cuts down champ to claim maiden pro title

Mark Kerr, right, defeated Stuart Roper to win a professional British kickboxing title at the weekend

A 26-year-old tree surgeon from Ballygawley upset the odds by winning a professional British title during a World Kickboxing Association (WKA) sanctioned EG Promotions event at The Point, in Sunderland, on Sunday.

Mark Kerr received just 10 days notice that he was going to face reigning Super Light Heavyweight WKA Professional British champion, Stuart Roper, in a title fight in the north east of England after the original challenger withdrew due to injury.

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Despite the short notice and after plenty of hastily arranged sparring sessions in the week leading up to the contest at 83kgs, Kerr somehow managed to summon the will to win his first fully professional bout, beating Roper on a split decision after seven two minute rounds.

“It’s a good achievement that!,” beamed Mark, who only flew to England on the morning of the fight. “I’m happy with how it went and to win the title because I had very little time to train for it. I caught him with a couple of heavy punches, settled into it and thankfully it went well.

”After his impressive performance against Roper, who described him as an ‘absolute warrior’, the Dungannon Kickboxing Club man is looking for further opportunities at professional level.

“I’ve been training with Stuart [Kirk at DKC] for four or five years, I’ve always been into it, and I’d done well at amateur level. Then this title fight came up at short notice, but we took it and I went straight into the gym, sparring and training in an attempt to get into shape for the fight,” explained Mark, who also plays soccer in the Fermanagh and Western League with Ballygawley FC.

“We’ll see what’s next. We’re hoping to get a big fight in Dungannon, maybe a rematch, but we’ll need a couple of sponsors to come and help me make a good job of it.”

Mark’s DKC stalemate, David Frizelle, was also in action in Sunderland, but lost on the judges decision.

 

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