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'The Fighting Irish in Canada'

The Prokick team before the trip to Ottawa Canada
Click here for a picture special from Ottawa Canada
There was cause for celebration in Canada last week when a Northern Ireland kickboxing novice select ended honours even with their Canadian counterparts in a gala event in Ottawa.
Belfast’s battling postie Lydia Braniff, Strabane’s upcoming welterweight Marty Keys and Belfast’s teenage sensation Sam Ward all won their bouts, while North Down’s Cully brothers and mid-Ulster’s John Ward were left bloodied, beaten but unbowed.

Braniff’s convincing victory opened the door again to an Irish title fight.
The Atomweight, who trains at the ProKick Gym in Belfast, powered past Canada's Cathy Deevey. She took a unanimous points decision after their three round contest, but never looked in any danger during the fight.
"Lydia is back to her dominant best," said her coach Billy Murray. "There was a minor setback in February, but she’s knuckled down, worked hard and found her natural rhythm again. She looked sharp and hungry.
“We’re going to look for a title fight within the next couple of months."
sixteen-year-old Sam Ward took a unanimous points victory.
Ward knocked the more experienced Nash to the canvas in the second with a blistering right hook and kept his opponent on the back foot for the rest of the contest.
Welterweight Marty Keys faced local man Tim St-John, forcing a standing count in the third rounds with a front kick that knocked St-John to the canas before taking the match on a points verdict.
He was presented with his bout trophy by keen kickboxing fan and Irish TD John Perry who was in Canada on business.
“Marty showed remarkable strength and courage under a lot of pressure,” said his coach Billy Murray. “When he stepped into the ring, Northern Ireland were 3-2 down and it was up to him to make sure we came away with the draw that I think the team richly deserved. It’s not easy travelling half-way round the world to fight in front of a partisan crowd but Marty is made of stern stuff. He has a great future.”
Stephen Cully was beaten on a TKO by former ju jitsu world champion Norm Beauchamps, and brother Kyle was beaten on points by Fernando Viera.
John Ward was beaten in the third by Jarrah Al-Shammari.
"I think the Northern Ireland team can hold their head up high," said Murray. "They are a group of young amateurs who travelled a great distance to compete in very difficult, testing conditions. I’m honoured to have been able to lead the team on this trip.

Jean-Yves Theriault & Master Therien

"I’d also like to thank all the Canadian officials, promoters, fighters and fans a very well-run event and a tremendous warm welcome." ... Billy Murray

Jean-Yves Theriault & Master Therien

Click here for a picture special from Ottawa Canada

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