November 23, 2022

Lerona native wins World Kickboxing Association gold | New

LERONA – For Josh Hill, from the small town of Lerona, the dream of winning a gold medal in international competition came true on a bloody Wednesday afternoon.

Hill went 5-0 to claim the World Kickboxing Association (WKA) K1 176-pound weight class title after defeating New Zealander Connar Wilson by third-round knockout on the North Wales coast.

The PikeView High School graduate said in a phone interview after the finals: “I got into it when I was 19, as a fun way to keep in shape. … It ended up taking over my life.

He acknowledged there are less intense sports out there, but said his chosen area of ​​competition “resonates with me”.

When asked why he pushed himself into the grueling world of kickboxing, Hill said, “It’s an attitude that’s probably true of any athlete. You want to test yourself. You want to know for sure where you stand.

He is now leading the pack. He is due to receive his medal at a ceremony scheduled today at the WKA tournament site, the Pontins Events Center in the coastal town of Prestatyn, Wales – just around Liverpool Bay, England.

The World Kickboxing Association website describes the WKA as “the oldest and largest organization of its kind, with over 107 member countries”.

Hill was thrilled, he said, that his parents, Angie and Sam Hill, were able to watch his fights in person.

“I could never imagine asking them to do what they did,” the medalist said. “All I can do is express my humble gratitude for their faith and support throughout these years.”

“I am grateful to so many people – the support of my family, my training partners for over a decade, my wife who tolerated the countless hours I put into the sport. I appreciate the support system which makes this possible.

This includes his trainers Tai Bradley and Naseem Jones from the House of 8 Limbs in Charlotte, NC Hill’s specialty is the Muay Thai style of kickboxing. Hill previously trained at Advantage Martial Arts in Princeton.

Hill said it’s been “almost four years, exactly, since I got into 8 Limbs.”

He said Bradley “knows almost everything about the sport. His advice has been incredibly valuable. … I trust what he has to say.

Angie Hill said she felt “a lot of emotions” watching her son fight for gold.

“To see his hard work culminate in a world championship is a feeling like no other,” she said. “I knew he could do it. I just had the feeling, all day, that he could do it. He’s been preparing for it for so long.

“He worked very hard for this,” she said. “It’s been maybe 20 years that 25 hours a week, for years and years. It’s not just a hobby; it’s a whole lifestyle.

During a match, fighters inevitably go down to the mat in pain, and it takes a “gut test” to get back up.

Josh Hill said: “I think a lot of it is the training and the protocols that you follow while in training. It is painful and demanding. Even if (the punches) are hard and it hurts, it’s not much different from what you go through to prepare (for the competition).

His first match of the tournament was the closest and “most demanding”, Hill said. He rushed into the arena on Tuesday due to what he said was “miscommunication over start time”.

“No warm-up,” he said. “I was taking off my warm-up suit and putting on my (secure) gloves while they were shouting my name. It was almost a forfeit. »

“I took a beating, early on,” he said. “But thanks to courage and physical fitness, I got it back in the end.”

He described the result as “an extremely thin decision. In the first round, I was knocked down twice. Then I won (rounds) 2 and 3.”

Angie Hill said that less than an hour after Josh’s first fight, her son took on “Germany’s number one seed” and continued his ascent to the final in his weight class.

She said: “His opponent ended the fight shortly after he started in the first round.”

Bradley, Josh Hill’s trainer, said via text Wednesday night: “Over the course of the tournament, Josh Hill…went 5-0 in scoring unanimous decisions and knockouts (KOs) in some Blood Wars.

“Josh represented Team USA, winning gold on home turf in some of the crowd’s most beloved fights. Even after getting knocked down (and) bloodied, he pulled himself together against Team USA. from New Zealand, the Germany team and any other team that entered the ring.

Josh Hill admitted he finished the tournament “a little worse for the wear and tear”. Asked about his immediate plans for Wednesday evening, he replied: “A hot bath – and a glass of Welsh whisky.”