Black Dragon celebrates 20 years on Saturday Night with World Title Fight

first_imgLike Jason and the Argonauts chasing the golden fleece, the club moved to different locations around the city over the next few years looking for the perfect home.From Lombard Street, they moved into the Shantalla community  centre for a couple of years and then on to the old Columban Hall on sea road, but as they continued to grow and expand, they eventually moved into a commercial unit in Glenrock business park in Ballybane.Here they stayed for over three years before moving into a 5000 square feet unit in Riverside Industrial estate where they made their home.The club was going great and everyone was delighted with the new premises which had proper showers and changing rooms, a large training area, boxing rings, lots of punch bags, pads, skipping ropes, mats, treadmills, weights area, office etc and Black Dragon was fast establishing itself as the most successful kickboxing club in the country.But then disaster struck in March 2011 – as Foley was busy organising a big International promotion in the Black Box Theatre, at which he had flown in several fighters from the USA, France and the UK, he was informed that his gym was on fire just as he was walking out behind one of his fighters to face the American two time World Classic champion for the main event.Foley’s camp claimed victory that night and crowned another World champion, but it was a bitter sweet victory as the Black Dragon gym was completely engulfed in what was described as one of the biggest fires in Galway city in some forty or fifty years and a lifetime of work went up in smoke.A couple of weeks later, the club were offered a vacant unit at the top of the Riverside Industrial Estate which they gratefully accepted and the task of rebuilding began.Without even a skipping rope to their name, they gutted and cleared out and scrubbed the unit and with the help of the good willed people of Galway, they were back on track in record time and once again opened their doors to the masses.The club not only trains champion fighters, travels the World as a sporting ambassador for the city, keeps kids off the streets, helps promote health and fitness, trains adults and children alike in discipline, self defence and the all important  street awareness, but it has also been involved with several charities over the years and has helped raise almost a quarter of a million euros for good causes through the many White Collar Boxing programmes and fight nights they are involved with.This coming Saturday in the Clayton Hotel, will see another of Foleys proteges take to the ring in the biggest fight of his life, when current European champ Paul “the hurricane” Huish from Fana Burca in Knocknacarra, will square off with Dutch Thai boxer Dwane Panka from the World renowned “Mejiro gym” in Amsterdam for the vacant IKF World Lightweight K-1 title.Huish, who first came to the Black Dragon club in the old Columban hall when he was just eleven years old and has just recently turned twenty six, has his own story to tell.He originally started training at the club for a few short weeks before packing it in as he found the training was too tough.Shortly afterwards though, as his friends started to come through the doors, he made his way back and in a short time, he found he had a natural talent for the sport.He started competing in the many junior events up and down the country and after winning a few fights here and there, he had bitten the bug and a new fighting star was starting to emerge.The big issue with Paul however, was that he could quite easily pile on a few pounds if he wasn’t careful and when he was around twenty years old or so, he went off the rails a little and ballooned up to almost eighty seven kilos.Thankfully, his inner self had a long chat in a mirror and he made a conscious decision to get back in shape.Being a fighter, he asked his coach Pete Foley to set up some fights  to give him an incentive to make weight and that he did.Paul has the distinction of being the first person in this country to win  national titles in  four different disciplines in the sport of kickboxing with the highest weight title being at -69.5kg – a fair drop from his previous 87kg when he went astray.He went on to win two bronze medals at the Unified World championships in Italy in 2014 and in Spain in 2015 at -63.5kg and is the current and defending European Super Lightweight K-1 champion.His World title attempt on Saturday night will be at -60kg and he is in incredible shape for the fight and he will headline a 20 fight card on the night.This young man has beaten all the odds and hopefully he’ll be on top of the World in less than a week and it would be great if once again the people of Galway would come along and get behind one of their own as he reaches for the stars.Paul’s fight is being kindly sponsored by City And County Bouncy Castles and Trendz Barbers Shop.Tickets for the fight can be purchased from the Black Dragon Gym, any of the fighters on the card or a limited few at the door on the night.print WhatsApp Facebook Twitter Email The Galway Black Dragon Kickboxing Club will mark its 20th year in existence this March and will celebrate with a big International fight night in the citys fabulous Clayton Hotel this coming Saturday, March 19. The club first opened its doors on March 27, 1996 when Pete Foley introduced the sport to the city of the tribes and with some thirty seven adults showing up to St Patrick’s school hall in Lombard Street on the first night, Foley knew there was great interest from the off.last_img

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