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50 Years Old and Winning in Kickboxing

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By Reuben Azzopardi

Malta: 27/07/2011

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Andrew Hillsden is a 50 year old sportsperson but he can still go on a ring and win a Kickboxing match. This shows that it is never too late to do something new.

A sports loving person who reaches a certain age might start thinking of doing something less competitive and stressful. The majority would content themselves in taking part in a short running marathon but not Andrew Hillsden. After coming from England with his Maltese wife and settling in Ħamrun, a few years later at 49, instead of putting on the running shoes he decided to put on the Boxing gloves.

It seems that for Andrew sports is an important part of his life. As a swimmer and scuba diver it seemed that there was little else that he could try. Once he decided to go and try Kickboxing with his work collegues. It was here that he started training the sport at Master Noel Mercieca’s Ying Yang Kickboxing club.

A year later, at 50 years old, Andrew decided to take up his next challenge which was a match during the Maltese Kickboxing Championship. Even though he did not go for the Title Belt it is still remarkable that at that age someone would compete in Kickboxing. It was during “Gladiator’s Night” that Andrew faced Joseph Fenech from the Wu Shu Ky, a young and energetic athlete half his age.

They faced each other for the Full Contact 88 Weight Category for 3 rounds of 2 minutes each. Since both of them were amateurs and according to the Malta Kickboxing Association (MKBA) they had to wear all the protective equipment.

From the first bell both athletes went for a close distance match and keeping head to head for each strike given. In the second round they began to find their distance with Andrew having the upper hand with well placed punches to the head and kicks to the body. In the third round it was Fenech that was showing more action but Andrew was keeping a tight defense and good counter.

After the third round everyone thought that it was all over, but the judges gave a draw. So there was a fourth round to be held in which both athletes came back to each other with nonstop hits. Even though there was this extra round this was not enough and there was the need for a 5th and final round. Here the Kickboxers were out of energy but it seemed that Andrew had more to give and landed some good hits to the body and face.

In the end it was a unanimous decision from the judges to give the victory by points to Andrew Hillsden. Both the extra rounds were of one minute each. It is notable as well that in the Maltese Kickboxing history this is the first time that a 50 year old person competed and won a Kickboxing match.

For more information regarding the Ying Yang club’s training days please visit the website www.yingyangkickboxing.com or contact Master Noel Mercieca on 79208283 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it