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Kickboxing Mania

Kick Mania….

The Kickboxing Mania Series is promoted by former four times four weight World Kick & Thai-Boxing champion Belfast's Billy Murray.

The concept is a simple one: The promotions are aimed at bringing the best exponents of all three disciplines of kickboxing together to compete for European, Intercontinental and World titles. In doing so we help spread the sport of kickboxing globally, also creating opportunities for some up-and-coming competitors to compete on international events at home and abroad. We also believe our events have a direct benefit at home through tourism and creating publicity for northern Ireland which helps the country in a positive way.

KICKmas BOX III helped celebrate the 10th year of the Mania series.
This was the biggest fight night at the Ulster Hall since Barry McGuigan had the gloves on and when Billy Murray took his first world title in 1988 against the brilliant American, Richard Hill.
Yes, it was KICKmas time in Belfast now the epicentre of European Kickboxing.
Belfast’s Gary Hamilton clashed with France’s Mohammad Samir for the WKN light-welterweight kickboxing title at the famous fight venue, where boxing legend Marvelous Marvin Hagler was at ringside!

Supported by the Northern Ireland Events Company and sponsored by Hilton, Belfast, KICKmas BOX III staged on December 19 was the biggest and boldest kickboxing show ever staged in Northern Ireland.
the event was screened live by UTV for Eurosport – the whole world tuned in to see if the Ulster chef Hamilton could finally put an end to Samir’s world dominance.

Promoter and former world champion Billy Murray says: “This is my 30th years as a fighter and promoter of shows, it doesn’t get any bigger than this.
“Fans from Thailand, France, Switzerland, the US and Canada travelled to witness this almighty clash of two great fighters. Samir was to remain King-of-the-ring in one of the best fight nights ever staged in the world. ‘Not even Santa could argue with that!

The inaugural KicKboxing Mania 1996
Tthe Dundonald International Ice Bowl staged the inaugural showdown of some of the world’s best kickboxing talent. Back then the sport was just beginning to grow, with hundreds of new kickboxers signing up to ProKick Gyms across Northern Ireland.
The main bouts that night set a standard for the sport. Veteran English flare fighter Trevor Ambrose left many in the crowd agog taking home a world title after an outstanding array of head-kicks usually reserved for the silver screen. Jean Claude Layer retained his title, beating a bruising opponent called Branco Pavlovic, but not without picking up a few cracked ribs for his trouble.
Although the original star attraction, Jean-Claude van Damme dropped-out with less than two weeks before his arrival, a class American team made the trip and the show aired on state-wide cable television ESPN. The occasion was marked by Belfast’s Mark Bailey taking a European title from his Swiss challenger. There were three one hour programmes that aired on Sky Sports 1. And some eight years later on Eurosport along with other networks across the world airing the fight-night from Belfast.

KickBoxing Mania II returned in 1998
Mania II opted for the setting of the Castle Leisure Centre, Bangor, County Down, and pitted ten nations against each other in various guises and weight divisions.
The Castle Leisure Centre in Bangor, Co Down saw one world and three European titles contested. It also has historical significance for fight fans in Northern Ireland. A callow youth named Gary Hamilton was on that card and picked up his first ever title, an amateur Ulster belt. On the same bill saw legend in the making – Mohamed Samir.
French man-mountain Stephane Reveillon was among one of the big-name stars present that day as Scotland’s Duncan Airlie James won the Cruiserweight world title.

- KickBoxing Mania III, which took place at a sold out Waterfront Hall. Northern Ireland's most famous kick-boxer, Billy Murray, rolled back the years to win his fourth ever World title.

- Kick mania IV witnessed the first Heavyweight Thai title contested for on Irish soil, the venue was the world famous Ulster Hall in the centre of Belfast. That's were many true boxing & kickboxing world champions competed.

- Kickboxing Mania V The worlds best Thai team ascends on Belfast. This Kick Mania marked a watershed for kickboxing in Northern Ireland. It was the first time an event was partly funded by a Government body (The NI Events Company), as well as being backed by Belfast City Council. We at ProKick believe this was the biggest step for the sport in over twenty years. - Lets get ready to rumble.. 'KickBoxing Mania VI - LIVE on Eurosport' We have lined-up one of the best fight cards so Mania VI will surpass any of the previous. Have a look at the fight card.

As Northern Ireland and indeed the world sat down to witness the sixth KickBoxing Mania VI on June 7th 2003, there will be many onlookers with fond memories of the five that have past before…
The small steps forward taken previously turned into giant leaps with the next instalment of the Mania series.
It was the first live kickboxing event ever broadcast on TV from Belfast and the first live kickboxing event on Eurosport. Again the events Company and Belfast City Council were important partners, and what a show was lined up to mark the occasion.
Gary Hamilton made the first defence of his featherweight World title, Downpatrick’s Gary Noade became a two time two style World Amateur Champion, two big names from the Republic – Paul Cummins and Sean Collier – both appeared, as did Irish Champions Nick Baird, Brian Boyd and James Gillen. There were also fighters from Portugal, Spain, Norway, France , Italy, Uganda and Canada.
Kickboxing had come of age. Belfast was the hub of the sport in Europe and Billy Murray Promotions were the cornerstone of the movement.

It was a night of high drama and edge-of-the-seat action as the Kickboxing world descended on Belfast for another Mania of Kickboxing. Millions of fight-fans watching the live Eurosport broadcast around the continent were kicking themselves they couldn't be at the Odyssey Arena as fight after fight on the packed card delivered thrills, shocks and genre-defining action. Belfast's own Gary Hamilton overcame mountainous odds following a leg-break in a freak accident six weeks earlier to overcome his man and win and Pocket Dragon Lydia Braniff moved a step closer to a shot at a world title following a successful European title defence. "It was the biggest and best kickboxing night I have ever been involved with to date - and I've been in this sport for 30 years," said kickboxing guru Billy Murray. "The scale of the thing took your breath away. We had some of the best fighters in the world here and some unbelievable action. Kickboxing is the sport of the future, that is no longer in question."

It is fitting to leave the last few words to the promoter of the Mania series:

Kickboxing in Belfast is a world away from where it was when I started. During nights at events over pubs and bookies, when a couple of dozen people were packed into a smoky room, I never dreamt we would be holding shows in an arena as grand and world-renowned as The Odyssey, Waterfront Hall and the Ulster Hall.
It’s down to everyone connected with the sport that keeps us moving along. It’s down to the promoters, the trainers, the fighters, the press and most of all you the supporters, you have all helped the Mania series grow, if you keep coming to these great events, we can grow even bigger and stronger.
I thank you all.

Billy Murray

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