THERE is a new world champion in Mid Sussex after Ruth Ashdown’s outstanding Thai boxing victory in Australia.
The Haywards Heath star was delighted to be offered the chance to fight two-times world champion Serin Murray on her home soil when original challenger, Scotland’s Hilary Mack, was forced to pull out because of work commitments. Ashdown gave an instant answer and seized her big chance with both hands.
She flew to the other side of the world only a day before the scheduled showdown with the champion at the Panthers Stadium in Newcastle, New South Wales.
The ISKA super flyweight world champion had a quarter kilo weight advantage against the English, British and two-times European champion but that counted for little once the 5x2 minute round bout got underway.
There was a frosty reception for Ashdown from the partisan home crowd but clearly the two fighters had the utmost respect for each other.
Murray was coming off the back of six straight wins but Ashdown edged the opening three rounds, where both fighters showed good Muay Thai technique.
However, the English girl knew she needed to do more to sway the decision on foreign soil, with an Australian ref and home judges.
In the fourth she upped her game, hurting the champion with a big right cross and then a big knee which brought a count of eight.
Ashdown knew it was her time as she pushed forward in the last round, landing some jumping punches and combinations for which Murray had no answer.
Afterwards Murray admitted: “I’m bummed out – my opponent was way too good, basically. I’ve had a bit of a wake-up call.”
And her trainer Rob Murdoch added: “Ruth was the best fighter Serin has ever fought and she was the better on the night. She deserves to be world champion.”
Ashdown has been primed and awaiting her chance for some time. She has trained long and hard and there was not a moment’s hesitation when the opportunity came, even at such short notice.
The Haywards Heath woman who trains out of the Crawley Martial Arts Academy with England’s top coach John Jarvis, teaches ladies’ fitness and Thai boxing at Crawley and also in her home town.
Her next outing is likely to be at the Crawley club’s own massive show at Effingham Park early next year.