Bedford’s UK number 1 Bantam weight Muay Thai fighter Daniel McGowan beat Spanish number 1 Nestor Rodriguez with a unanimous points victory on the Yokkao 11 show at the Macron Stadium in Bolton.
The night was a very emotional one for the 18-year-old Putnoe fighter, whose trainer and owner of the Super Petch gym in Northampton, Liam Robinson, sadly passed away just eight days before the big event.
McGowan was given the option to pull out of the fight by the promoters but showed huge character and mental strength to not only go ahead with the fight but to win so convincingly in front of a packed arena at the home of Bolton Wanderers Football Club.
McGowan made his entrance to the tune of Diamonds Are Forever – a tribute to trainer Robinson who named the gym Super Petch which in Thai language means Super Diamond and was openeed in 2006.
The rapturous and vociferous support that follows McGowan cheered him into the ring and what followed was one of the classiest displays the young fighter has ever produced.
The opening round saw McGowan go to work with a few solid punches and powerful right kicks that shocked Spain’s three-time champion.
The next few rounds saw McGowan’s strong clinch and quick left kick outscore Rodriguez and, added to some solid punches, he was starting to really hurt his opponent.
McGowan constantly stalked his opponent around the ring, throwing combinations of kicks, punches and elbows with very little coming back.
Rodriguez was taking huge punishment and looked a despondent figure coming back to the corner after every round.
The final bell sounded and the Bedford fighter, knowing he had won comfortably, took the cheers of the crowd before a teary minute’s silence in memory of his mentor and trainer.
McGowan now heads to Bangkok in Thailand at the start of November for six months to fight for Petchyindee Academy in Lumpinee Stadium, taking on Thailand’s best fighters.