25 years of World Championship Kickboxing in Belfast
The event was on September 12, 1989 in the Belfast home of the fight game, the Ulster Hall. To mark the event, Murray, now a celebrated coach and promoter, is gathering SEVEN homegrown fight stars of the present and future, all of whom will challenge for a world title on the night, September 13 2014.
CLICK to see Clips from Sept 1989.
“It’s just like coming home,” said Murray announcing this September’s show. “It feels like just a heartbeat since that night my heart was racing and I stepped through the ropes. Hill was a hell of fighter – tough, wily, kicked like an angry horse. He’d beaten me once before, but he wasn’t going to beat me that night, in front of my people, in front of my Belfast.
“I’ve had a wonderful, incredible career since, but that night set me on the way. I felt that I had to mark it and there is no better way for me and for the sport I love than to look to the future. It’s going to be a night that will live long. Who knows how many more Billy Murrays will emerge this September.”
Murray’s career has taken him from the simple gym in east Belfast where he still turns out champion after champion, to the seat of governments in Europe. In martial arts for over 40 years, he was an original who saw the way his sport could unite warring communities of Northern Ireland. His gym has long been known a zero-tolerance zone for sectarianism. He visits schools, especially in tough areas, teaching a message of self-respect and self-control, with his motto, Truth, Discipline and Respect. He's a one-off as he helped co-found - The Peace Fighters a sports initiative.
His achievements are many. He won an amateur world title in 1987 and went on to capture four professional world titles at four different weights.
He has also guided, promoted, and managed 10 world champions, 23 European or Intercontinental champions and numerous national champions. He takes teams across the globe, all without any official funding, all paid for through fundraisers by friends and families of the brave and eager young fighters.
Is there a chance that Billy himself will turn back the years and step into the ring one more time on this coming September night? Murray is not a man who likes to say never.
“Well, I still run 5-7 miles every day, my back is in great shape now after a serious car accident back in 2007 and though my knees are a bit sore, I'm in better shape than most 21year-olds. But my oldest grandchild of which I've three is nine years old. Does he REALLY want to see his old granda stepping into the ring? Does anybody?!”
Tickets are on sale for this incredible night on prokick.com or you can also purchase directly from the Ulster Hall box office on 028 9033 4455