NEWS: Kingstanding’s K-Star Academy Muay Thai fighter Gene Smith wins ISKA British Campion belt in rare hometown contest

Pics supplied by K-Star Academy

Kingstanding K-Star Academy fighter Gene Smith recently won the ISKA British Campion belt, continuing his spectacular rise in the world of competitive Muay Thai.

The 16-year-old impressed the judges at the recent hometown fight, held on Sunday 19 November at North Solihull Leisure Centre, and is now preparing to face the best from across the globe at the world championships in Thailand next year.

Smith has found it increasingly difficult to find matches as his reputation has grown throughout the sport following a lightning run of form – earning him Midland, British, and World Muay Thai titles.

Then on Sunday 19 November, the Kingstanding trained fighter also became the ISKA British Champion – winning on points against Fin Mueller from Wales. The fight was matched prior to the event by the organisers.

The WBC World Mauy Thai Games are in February at the iconic Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok. However, Gene Smith’s next fight is a little closer to home when he will face Josh Duncan in Liverpool on 16 December.

Smith told: “I am delighted with another victory and another title. Everything I am doing is working towards the world championships in Thailand.

“I loved every minute of representing my country at the WBC World Championships in Venice in June and in Canada the year before at the World Muay Thai Games. But know I have to be 100 per cent dedicated to the sport for me to compete with the best in the world in Thailand.

“Being in Asia, where the sport originated, makes me even more excited to fight in Thailand.”

Gene’s coach is Steve Logan, who first set up the first K-Star in Kingstanding more than 30 years ago and is hoping to guide Smith to world glory.

He said: “Sunday was another brilliant performance by Gene. We know the entire division, junior and adult, fear him and this is brilliant for when he represents his country in Thailand next year.”

Gene’s father, Great Barr businessman Roland Smith, a former fighter himself, understands the work which goes behind his son’s rise to the top table of the global sport.

He added: “Gene has got the talent, the determination, and dedication to get to the top, but this sport costs money and his sponsors have helped him to focus more on just being the best he can.

“Gene has achieved so much already, from his title wins, to representing his country to being the youngest UK fighter to have ranking.

“However, he could not have done it without sponsors Jacksons Recovery, Green Power Plant Hire, Beeches Recovery, 24 7 Worldwide Exhibition Services, Level Group, Endangered Fightwear, Foxstar Clothing and Art Attack Design Associates with support from Luke1977.”

Mauy Thai doesn’t receive sports funding from outside sources, with sponsorship one of the only ways new and rising fighters can professionally compete.

For the Kingstanding K-Star Academy fighter Gene Smith, training and travel costs can easily climb into the thousands as he takes part in fierce competitions across the world competing to be the best.

Anyone interested in supporting Gene contact design@artattack.org.uk

Follow Gene Smith on Instagram at www.instagram.com/gene_kstar

For more on K Star Academy visit www.k-starthaiboxing.com

NEWS: Kingstanding’s 16 year old Gene Smith wins bronze medal at Muay Thai WBC Junior World Championships in Italy

Pics supplied by K-Star Academy

Kingstanding’s Gene Smith has won the bronze medal at the WBC World Muay Thai Festival championships in Italy, after his final fight on Saturday 24 June.

The 16-year-old, his father Roland Smith, and his Collage Road based K-Star Academy trainer Steve Logan flew to Venice earlier this month to join 600 elite adult and youth athletes.

The national junior champion, who became the WKA British Champion (under 60kg) earlier this year – after a last minute call to compete, joined Team England for the opening ceremony in which 90 countries from across the world were represented.

Gene missed out on the gold medal bout after suffering a brutal injury during the semi-final on Friday 23 June, against Scottish fighter Kyle Donnelly. Then on the Saturday, the Kingstanding Thai boxer beat Michael Rambert from the French Atlantic outpost Reunion Island to take home the bronze.

His father Roland said: “Gene fought a great fight, easily taking the first round and impressing his coach – seemingly like the fight would easily be in the bag. Sadly, at the beginning of second round Gene took a sharp groin kick witch he couldn’t recover from and in turn lost the fight.

He added: “He displayed high levels of ability as a world class junior fighter. His opponent came out to try and take his head off, but Gene controlled the speed and direction of the fight putting his opponent of the deck four times during the bout.

“As WBC introduced some rules taking away some of the Thai boxing options with sweeps etc, to maintain athletes’ safety and ensure no dramatic injuries occurred during this mammoth event, Gene still managed huge composure with a fantastic display of ability and skill winning on a unanimous decision to achieve bronze.

“Ever since Gene won the English championship away, with six hours notice, we have had a lot of fighters pull out of bouts which has been very disappointing.

“But coming to Venice will really improve him as an athlete.”

Mixing with the world’s best Muay Thai athletes – some of which recognised and greeted Gene throughout the festival – attending WBC seminars about a whole host of issues surround the sport, and representing his country, will a lasting impression on the young fighter.

Gene said: “It was great being part of such a big international sporting event. But I especially love representing my country and the team dynamic. We are all supporting each other and watching each other’s fights.”

Founder of K-Star Academy and Gene’s trainer, Steve Logan, believes Gene’s international odyssey will inspire the next generation.

He said: “Gene bringing the bronze medal back to K-Star Thai Boxing Academy in Kingstanding will expand their horizons.

“He showed a lot of skill and bravery.”

Any sponsors interested in helping Gene Smith should email design@artattack.org.uk

For more on K Star Academy visit www.k-starthaiboxing.com

NEWS: Kingstanding K-Star Academy prepares 16 year old Muay Thai British champion for world title contest

Pics supplied by K-Star Academy

A talented Muay Thai fighter from Kingstanding’s K-Star Fight Academy is undergoing his final preparations for the WBC Junior World Championships in Italy.

Gene Smith, now WKA British Champion (under 60kg), and his team fly out on Tuesday, June 20, to Venice to compete with the world’s best fighters.

However, the dedicated 16-year-old is required to pay his own way to the two week overseas competition and fund his own hotel and training facilities.

In March, Gene notched up the most impressive win of his fledgling career when he won his recent British title after taking an away bout against an opponent with just six hours notice.

After a last minute call to compete, and squeezing in a family party and a morning at work before heading to the championship in Warrington, Smith defeated his opponent with grit, determination, and some excellently placed reverse elbow shots.

Since that win Gene has had several opponents pull out of bouts, so testing himself against the world’s best in Venice is key to his development.

Gene’s father Roland said: “Venice is an amazing opportunity as he will meet the best elite fighters from around the world at his weight to compete against.

“As he moves forward being part of such a prestige team like the England WBC proves his ability at the level he’s at.

“He competed to be part of it and he will be alongside the best of the best of the country’s Muay Thai fighters from the UK.

“However, we need sponsors so anyone who is interested in helping will get named on his fight shirts and on social media as he moves forward to his professional future in the sport. Being an elite athlete costs money whether it is his diet or training facilities.”

Gene, who is currently awaiting his GCSE results after finishing at Barr Beacon School, has taken confidence from his British title win.

He said: “I still can’t believe I took a fight with six hours notice against a world champion quality fighter and won. So, I am going to Venice on a bit of a high.

“It shows you have to be ready for anything in elite sports, fighting for my country is a really special feeling and I can’t wait to meet up with the rest of my teammates in Venice.

“This is an individual sport so when the opportunity comes to have that team dynamic it is really special, we all support one another.”

Gene previously fought in Canada and gained valuable experience despite not winning the tournament.

Gene’s trainer, Steve Logan, first started teaching Muay Thai back in 1989 out of the 610 Community Centre, Kingstanding.

His first gym was College Road in 1993 where Gene now instructs fighters as well as training for his own fights.

K-Star now has gyms in the city centre, Quinton, Sheldon, and Solihull – and are preparing to open a new training centre in Walsall this summer.

The now WKA British Champion Gene Smith has received sponsorship from Green Power Plant Hire, Jacksons Recovery, Foxstar Clothing, Beeches Recovery, Ucan Car Credit, 24/7 Exhibition Services, Dronesafe UK, Butler and Daughter Removals, and Level Group.

Any sponsors interested in helping Gene Smith as he prepares for the WBC Junior World Championship should email design@artattack.org.uk

For more on K-Star Academy visit www.k-starthaiboxing.com