THAI boxer Kane Chamberlain has been touted as one of the sport’s next potential superstars after winning a world championship medal in Russia last weekend.
The Melton teenager came through one of the toughest routes of the elite competition to reach the final in the under 17s -63.5kg category at the International Federation of Muaythai Amateurs (IFMA) World Championships in St Petersburg.
Chamberlain, who fights for the Melton-based Muay Thai Assassins, was unlucky to lose the final against a Turkish opponent after three very tight rounds.
The high profile event featured top fighters from all of the martial art’s global powerhouses such as Russia, Belarus and Thailand, but the UK held its own with its small team of nine fighters coming away with a gold, two silvers and a bronze.
The achievements were of particular pride to Assassins’ chief instructor Mark Barlow who went over to do some coaching with Kane and was asked to look after the whole UK team.
He said: “It was the first time I had been to these world championships and they were like the Olympics of Thai boxing. The Russians spent 15 million dollars on it and took the sport to a whole new level – I couldn’t believe how many people were there.
“I knew I was going to do some coaching, but when I got over there the manager turned round to me and asked me to coach the team.”
But the young Assassin fighter remained his chief concern. Chamberlain first had to get past an Australian fighter, winning on points to set up a quarter-final with an opponent from Estonia.
A powerful knee shot from the 17-year-old was enough to stop the Estonian in round two before he dispatched a Swedish rival to book his place in the high profile final.
Barlow added: “Kane had the most bouts out of all the fighters and had to fight three rounds every day. So we had to try and put him back together again with quick turnarounds.
“The final was an excellent fight and really close. I thought the first round was a draw, but in the second Kane just made too many mistakes.
“Kane smashed him in round three, but the judges gave the fight to the Turkish guy. They must have thought he had won the first round as well.”
Both finalists drew widespread praise for the quality of the bout with many predicting a bright future in the sport for the Assassin.
Next year Chamberlain moves up into the senior ranks, but Barlow believes he will be more than ready and could establish a path right through to the biggest stage of them all.
Following the recent decision to make Thai boxing an exhibition sport at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, the Assassins instructor believes the sport could then feature in the 2020 Olympics.
He said: “The England manager came to me after the fight and said Kane’s going to be the team’s next superstar. But he has to keep working hard and then you never know where it could lead.”