VIDEO: Bury Thai boxers Joe Le Maire and Hannah Turner picked for UK junior squad
PUBLISHED: 16:39 04 August 2014 | UPDATED: 16:39 04 August 2014
A pair of trailblazing young Suffolk fighters are set to represent the UK at both the European and World Muay Thai Championships.
Bury St Edmunds-based duo Joe Le Maire, 16, and Hannah Turner, 15, are the number one-ranked Thai-boxing fighters in the country in their weight categories and have both been picked for the UK junior squad for the third straight year after victory in the national finals in Birmingham last month.
Now they are set to compete in the prestigious European Championships next month, before lacing on the gloves for the World Championships in Bangkok next February – if they can secure sponsorship to help them travel.
Coach Rich Gent, who trains the pair at Bury’s Unit 1 gym, said: “Unfortunately, financial restraints mean they will probably only be attending one or the other.
“They are sponsored by local firm Helmsman Lockers, which is a terrific help in funding their various trips across the UK, but we are now actively searching for additional sponsors to help with funding for international duties.”
The UK team selection comes as both fighters also secured notable victories in recent big fight shows.
Le Maire, a student at King Edward VI School in Bury, showcased his skills on the massive SMASH Muay Thai promotion at a packed out show in Watford, as a last minute stand-in to face local favourite Luciano Mendola of the Knowlesy Academy.
And the technically superior Le Maire duly claimed a unanimous points verdict after five hard-fought rounds, further raising his profile on the national scene.
He followed that by travelling to Thailand and fighting in his first-ever professional A-class bout, stopping his Thai opponent with a vicious knee in the third round in front of a noisy crowd at the Bangla Stadium.
Turner also dazzled at a recent show in Milton Keynes, claiming the BIKMA -59kg English title with a solid display against Telford’s Lauren Evans, despite suffering with a back injury which then sidelined her for several weeks.
“I had to do a lot of work on making sure I held my position to protect my back,” said the Thurston Community College student. “It slowed me down a little but I still managed a convincing win!”
Turner is now also set to travel to Thailand to train and hopes to compete in a professional bout in the sport’s homeland.