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Gary Hamilton in action - January 29

Belfast’s kickboxing hero Gary Hamilton is set to begin 2005 with a quick entry into the ranks of the lightweight division.

Though the dust has barely settled on his triumphant Christmas victory in Belfast, the undefeated featherweight world champion will kick off his new adventure on January 29 in Paris. He joins a four-man knockout event with the winner moving forward to a grand final in Paris at the end of 2005. The winner walks away with 50,000 Euros in prize money.

“This is no cakewalk,” said Hamilton’s coach Billy Murray. “Moving from one weight division to another is tough enough, but Gary is also switching styles from full contact to Thai rules – allowing use of kicks beneath the waist. The other three men on this knockout competition are more experienced in Thai fighting and because Gary is a world champion, they each be gunning for him. Whoever he faces will give him a tough entrance into this new division.”

“I’m ready,” said Hamilton. “I could have coasted along as featherweight champ for another couple of years, but I wanted to stretch myself, to set a new challenge. I’m looking forward to testing myself in a whole new set of disciplines and to prove I can be the best in the world all over again.”

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