Jan 9 2013 By Andrew Weston
We can all look back on what is already being hailed as the best year of sport in living memory.
From the success of London 2012 to Bradley Wiggins’ stunning victory at this year’s Tour De France, then Andy Murray’s marathon US Open triumph, it’s hard to argue with that claim.
But even at a local level, we can now throw into the mix our very own sporting memory; Allanton kickboxer Sam Allan’s remarkable European title triumph last month, which was described as ‘one of the best fights ever’ by International Kickboxing Federation European director Colin Payne.
In the face of adversity, the 21-year-old came back off the canvas after being knocked down in round three and having two standing counts in round four to defeat champion Michael Robbie Johnson after six pulsating rounds.
Payne called it ‘Hagler v Hearns quality’, in reference to the great world middleweight championship boxing match between Marvin Hagler and Tommy Hearns in 1985.
You can judge for yourself by catching replays of the fight online, but what’s not in question is the sheer heart and determination Allan showed to fight back from the brink of defeat after his brother and trainer Scott gave him one round to turn things around or he was pulling him out.
The fight took place at Rivals School of Martial Arts, Wishaw, on December 8, with Allan, a Scottish and British title holder taking on Sunderland fighter Johnson for the WKA European title (63.5kg).
The first two rounds were fairly even, with both fighters settling and finding their distance.
But it burst into life in the third as Johnson knocked Sam down for the first time in his kickboxing career.
He took the full eight count which ended right on the bell.
“It was quite daunting to be honest because I didn’t know what was happening,” Sam reflected this week. “I had never been put down before. I didn’t know how I had been put down.
“The first thing I did was to look over at my corner to see how my brother had reacted. He was fine and told me to keep breathing.”
Johnson continued where he left off in the fourth and the referee gave Allan a standing count 20 seconds in. The home favourite received another standing count and had to dig deep to just see the round out.
“He was dominant there is no doubt about it,” Sam continued. “I received two standing counts for the first time in my career as well. Again I looked at Scott and he told me to keep my hands up. But, at the end of the round, he said I was getting one more round to turn it around because I was getting punished.”
The pep talk seemed to work and a body shot by Allan early in the fifth slowed Johnson up. The Wishaw lad sensed his opportunity.
In round six, the title holder received his first standing count one minute in. Sam was relentless in his attacks now and, after a second count, referee John Blackridge stepped in to end the fight — the first time ever Johnson, 30, had been stopped.
“In the fifth, when I caught him with a body shot, I saw it in his eyes,” Allan recalls. “He didn’t like it and was wincing, so I targeted that. The first time I knocked him down he looked over to his corner as if to say ‘I’m done.’
“He kept going before the referee jumped in.
“After being knocked down a couple of times, a lot of people give up. But I trained hard for eight weeks, five days a week with my brother. If I didn’t spend that time in the gym I would not have been fit enough. It was the hardest fight of my career and he hit me with the hardest punch I’ve ever been hit with.”
He continued: “You have no idea the feeling of joy after being put down for the first time in my career, getting up and prevailing.
“I have great respect for Robbie. He is a two time world champion. I believe now he is only fighting one more time. I think he got a bit sickened after that.”
With 2013 shaping up to be a big year for Sam, he believes anything is possible and believes having brother Scott in his corner can spur him on to greater things.
The two fighters, who run Rivals School of Martial Arts in Wishaw, train each other in the build-up to fights and older brother Sam feels it’s the perfect match.
“Having Scott in the corner is the best thing for me,” he said. “He has been there and done it, he is a world champion and knows all the training that is needed to get world titles.
“Although Scott is my younger brother, we help each out all the time. We train each other for fights and can motivate each other to greater things.”
Scott, 20, will defend his WKA World title on January 26, whilst Sam could join him at world level this summer in what is shaping up to be another exciting year for the Allan brothers.
To view Sam’s title win go to: http://m.ustream.tv/recorded/27599602.