Ten year-old NMA kickboxer Alfie Price found himself in a rematch with Connor George (13) for the vacant ICO (International Combat Organisation) -45kg Southern Area title in Sittingbourne, Kent on Saturday 26 July.
Although the contest took place in Connor’s home town and Alfie entered the ring as the lighter fighter, the Newark youngster was unfazed from the bell. He quickly proved himself busier than his opponent, following instructions from the corner to the letter to be aggressive and take the centre of the ring.
Refusing to let himself be bossed by Connor’s long legs, he did everything he was asked to do, working in the clinch, throwing body shots when Connor held on and catching him in the face with a fast flurry of punches towards the end of the round, making his opponent look slow.
With the first round in the bag, Alfie went out with all guns blazing in the second, dominating with his hands and landing a series of powerful body kicks. Connor’s strategy appeared to be to stay close to Alfie but the Newark fighter was following his own game plan, working the body every time Connor held on to him, and clinched the second round.
With his home crowd getting behind him and Alfie looking tired in the third and fourth, Connor levelled it up to two rounds each as they went out for the final time.
Alfie’s performance in the fifth round showed he was hungry for the win, despite the fact that Connor was determined not to make it easy for his opponent and pushed it all the way to the final bell. But Alfie continued to cause him problems with his roundhouse kicks, emerging victorious in a split decision from the judges to take the title.
“Although he’s only 10 years old, Alfie already knows just how much hard work he needs to put in for fights like these,” said former kickboxer and ABA coach Andrew Price, the Newark youngster’s father and in the corner for the fight with Alfie’s older brother Andrew Jnr. “Like all the other fighters at NMA and Suggy’s Gym, he is always ready for a challenge – he came to his opponent’s home town to fight for this title and proved that hard work pays off.
“He never has to be told to step up his game; he’s always on it and listens very well. Without doubt he’s one to watch for the future.”
“Working hard back in the NMA gym with head coach Dean Sugden and K-1 Global fighter Chad ’2 Slick’ Sugden for the last few months and remembering my game plan paid off tonight,” said Alfie after the fight. “Having both my dad and older brother as my corner men felt good and being told just before the start of the last round that Regis ‘The First’ Sugden had won his own fight in Leicester made me all the more determined to bring this belt back to Newark.”