WESTMINSTER — Carroll County got its second look at the sport of kick-boxing this year at the Longwell Municipal Building, which featured seven amateurbouts Saturday night.
The sport was first introduced in Carroll County last May as Hampstead's Mike "Cobrafast" Johnson lost his WorldMartial Mania Federation title to former champ Andre Blignaut of South Africa in a controversial split decision.
This time around, Johnson was on the sidelines promoting the card, which featured some action-packed amateur talent.
"There was a lot of great competition with plenty of action. The fans were really into it, particularly in the later rounds of the fights," Johnson said.
"The sport is growing nationwide as well as throughout Maryland."
The main event saw Mike Winter of York, Pa., who fights out of Johnson's Tae Kwon Do School, going the distance with Greg Casey of Glen Burnie, Anne Arundel County, and winning by decision.
"It was agood, close fight that went the three rounds. The two were very evenly matched, and the crowd saw some good action," Johnson said.
Westminster's Jeff Ward started the evening on a high note for the partisan Carroll crowd with a second round technical knockout over York's John DuRussell.
Ward knocked him down twice in the first round before the referee intervened and stopped the fight in the second round after DuRussell appeared dazed from a persistent Ward attack.
York's Victor Bock scored a second-round technical knockout victory over Aaron Stevens of Hanover, Pa.
In a battle of 230-pound super-heavyweights, Bob Cox of Hanover put away York's Pat McLaughlin with a series of punches that resulted in a first-round technical knockout.
Glen Burnie's Mark Owings stopped Westminster's Ed Beaford in the third round with another technical knockout.
Dave Adams of Camp Hill, Pa., defeated York's Mike O'Neil, who also fights out of Johnson's school, as the ring doctor stopped the fight in the second round.
Adams, 16, came in 20 pounds heavier than O'Neil, 13.
"He (O'Neil)showed a lot of heart just getting into the ring against an older and bigger guy," Johnson said.
Another highlight and favorite of thefans was the special kids match which featured a pair of 10-year-oldfighters.
York's Billy Kocoronis and Westminster's Tom Peters Jr.went the distance in a fight that brought the crowd to its feet. Kocoronis won by decision.
"The kids' matches are always favorites ofthe fans. They really got the fans up and excited with some non-stopaction. One fan after the fight said Kocoronis looked like a miniature me out there," Johnson said.
Despite a somewhat disappointing turnout of about 150 at Saturday's event, Johnson plans to promote another amateur card in Westminster in mid-November.
"I learned a lot(promoting) Saturday. One thing is, you can never do enough," Johnson said.
"Overall, everything went very well and on schedule. In November, I'm planning on having 10 fights instead of seven."
Johnson also is keeping busy with his own fight career.
He's awaiting word from South Africa on the protest he filed with the World Martial Mania Federation concerning his disputed title loss to Blignaut in May.
"I sent in a protest to the federation in South Africa on the decision of the fight, and they are setting up a panel of seven who arereviewing the fight. They could either strip the belt (from Blignaut) or set up a possible rematch," he said.
Johnson also may defend his Black Dragon Fighting Society world title, which he won in South Africa shortly after winning the WMMF title in the spring of 1990. The tournament will take place in Australia sometime in October.
"Right now I'm looking for a sponsor," Johnson said.
"I won the titlein South Africa last year. It is a tournament with all the fights having a 10-minute time limit with the fight lasting until someone getsknocked out. My longest fight last year lasted around seven minutes," Johnson said.