Muay Thai Assassins rally round to save show

Assassins Tyree Steves, Thai Barlow, Kian Nolan and George Griffiths EMN-150616-175748002
Assassins Tyree Steves, Thai Barlow, Kian Nolan and George Griffiths EMN-150616-175748002
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Assassins Muay Thai chief Mark Barlow came close to pulling the plug on last weekend’s show when the Turkish team failed to turn up.

Mark had paid for several Turkish opponents to travel over to Melton for Saturday’s show at the Market Tavern.

But delays in arranging visas in Istanbul left the Thai boxers unable to fly to the UK in time for the big night which had been billed as England v Turkey.

Mark was left with 24 hours to find alternative opponents, and matters were made worse when Michael Robinson’s opponent for his farewell boxing bout also had to withdraw on Friday through illness.

Mark said: “I looked into transferring their flights to Saturday morning, but they said it wasn’t possible and asked if I could put the show back 15 days.

“I didn’t know what to do. I was going to cancel, but people were coming from other places so I couldn’t.

“So I had to ring round a lot of friends around the country who agreed to help me out.

“It got to the point where I didn’t want to answer my phone and find out what was going to go wrong next.”

Several of the Assassins ended up against much heavier opponents, or were faced with last-minute switches from Thai boxing matches to boxing bouts.

Iman Barlow conceded several kilograms to her opponent Sophie Nock, but outclassed her, yet Thai Barlow was not so fortunate as he had to concede 8lb to his Birmingham opponent Sean Cooper and make his boxing debut.

Tyree Stevens also had an unscheduled boxing debut, but did superbly to beat Lee Cooper, while George Griffiths fought out of his skin to stop William Hedger, an opponent who is normally 11kg heavier.

Boxer Michael Robinson also agreed to go into the ring with a five kilogram weight disadvantage, but battled gamely to the final bell to lose on points.

Mark added: “Michael had two good rounds, but he slowed down and in the fourth round he was given a standing count.

“I told him not to give up, and even though he got a cut above his eye in the fifth, he finished the fightand his career on his feet.

“He really shouldn’t have taken the fight and neither should the others.”

On the undercard, Kian Nolan went in against a fighter with almost 70 more fights under his belt, but did superbly to take the bout to its conclusion, losing only by a narrow points decision.

Saxon Nugent also fought out of his skin and won, while Billy Hammond was up against an opponent who was much better on paper, but stopped him in the second round.

“I wanted to give the Fighter of the Night award to everyone who agreed to take these fights,” Mark added.

“Tyree, George, Iman, Thai and Michael all fought their hearts out because of the gym. They all did really well under the circumstances.

“The crowd were great - no-one could believe what we had done in a day-and-a-half.”