Hawke's Bay Today
Kelvyn Jones puts in some hard yakka in the countdown to Saturday night’s fight.
Former world championship medallist Jones makes comeback in first bout as adult
Wind the clock back three years and Hawke’s Bay kickboxer Kelvyn Jones was a medal winner on the international stage.
But little was heard about Jones after he returned from the 2015 Unified World Championships in Spain with silver and bronze medals. He won silver in his K1 final and bronze in the low-kick category.
“I was planning on a month-long break but it turned out to be three years,” Jones, 21, recalled this week.
Family and work commitments became the priority. The Tumu Timber processing worker became a father to his now almost 2-year-old daughter, Takiri.
“I’m back now and I can’t wait to get back in the ring and have some fun,” Jones said as he pondered his fight with Taupo’s Luke Hodges on Saturday night.
It will be his first appearance as an adult fighter and the bout, which is scheduled for three two-minute rounds, will be the feature fight at the Combat Kings New Zealand event at The Lab Training Centre.
While Jones admitted to knowing little about Hodges, trainer Patrick O’Brien, a title winner at last year’s Unified World Championships in Italy, pointed out Hodges is a little heavier than Jones and has good skills.
“Luke has been fighting regularly and is pretty skilled. Kelvyn has had to come up in weight to 70kg and he is going to have to work hard to get the win,” O’Brien said.
Jones had an exhibition bout in May before he had another spell. He has been training for this weekend’s fight for the past two months.
“I’m as fit as I have ever been. I’m hoping my durability, fitness and strength will get me the win,” Jones said.
“I’m hoping to stay on the scene for a while now. But we will get this fight out of the way and see what happens after that.”
A former North Island under-18 65kg class K1 champion, Jones took up kickboxing in 2012 on a recommendation from his then Karamu High School counsellor as a positive release.
“I was struggling a bit academically and on the verge of dropping out of school. Taking up kickboxing was the turning point . . . the discipline I got from the sport transferred to the
I’m hoping to stay on the scene for a while now. But we will get this fight out of the way and see what happens after that. Kelvyn Jones
classroom and I passed all my exams,” Jones recalled in 2015.
Should he get a win on Saturday night and return to the international stage in the near future, it will be a memorable comeback for Jones. The chances are high and he has got plenty of years left to do it.
His former school counsellor will again have something to celebrate should Jones work his way back to the big time. Jones will be one of seven fighters from the host gym in action on Saturday night.
There will be plenty of interest in the form of Jones’ regular training partner, Jimmy Pentland, when he takes on Eddie Berry from The Martial Arts Academy. A Year 13 Tamatea High School student, Pentland is hoping to fight in the world’s premier kickboxing league, Glory Kickboxing, in the future.
Doors will open at 4.30pm and the first fight will start at 5pm. Tickets are $25 from Dash Tickets.