A big crowd turned out to cheer Haywards Heath’s Ruth Ashdown to a second world Thai boxing title.
The international event at the Effingham Park Hotel in Copthorne featured eight fighters from the Crawley Martial Arts Academy and Ashdown and fellow trainer at the club, Paulo Da Silva, both became two-times world champions.
Reigning ISKA champion Ashdown beat the current World WMF champion Katerina Vandarieva from Belarus, to win the ICO world title.
The local girl mounted some intense pressure in the third round to force a stoppage.
Crawley Lumpini chief instructor John Jarvis said: “This is a massive win for Ruth. Apart from the Thais, the Belarussians are the best in the world. They are full time pros, whereas we have to fit our training in around work.
“Ruth listened and the tactics worked brilliantly. She imposed herself on her opponent and didn’t give her a chance to show off.”
Ruth was ecstatic: “ I am so very pleased to have done it on home soil, in front of all the people who have shown me so much support over the years. They have helped me get where I am today.
“I had lost two world titles in this country but was lucky enough to fight last year in Australia where I won my first world title, which was incredible. But to do it here in front of my friends, family, trainers and the people I train was the best feeling in the world.”
Ashdown took the fight to the Belarussian in the first round and set a strong pace.
On home soil, Ashdown did not give her opponent any room to work and that frustrated a fighter who had more experience.
Ashdown closed down the space and initiated the clinch work, turning her opponent and nearly throwing her out of the ring on one occasion.
In the second round Vanderieva came out throwing strong shots and trying to stop the forward momentum of Ashdown, who just pushed through and landed her own punches, kicks and knees.
In round three Ashdown continued to impose herself and score so highly that Vandarievas’s corner threw in the towel to save her from more punishment.
The new two times world champion teaches full time out of Crawley Martial Arts Academy as well as running a ladies classes in Haywards Heath. She can be contacted for more information at email@example.com or by phoning 07939654931.
Fellow Crawley trainer, Portuguese born Paolo da Silva, made it a great night for the host club as he also became a double world champion.