Kickboxer tests skills against best

JAMIE SEARLE
Last updated 05:00 17/06/2014

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Martial arts instructor Gabriel Phillips is predicting big things from Michael King at the Wako Junior World Kickboxing Championships in Italy in September.

King, of Gore High School, is a member of Phillips' West Otago karate and kickboxing clubs in Tapanui.

"He's an amazing athlete, very quick," Phillips said of King, 15.

"He's put me into the wall a couple of times, so my lessons must be working."

For the past five years King has been taking on older opponents in open and senior mens' divisions.

He won three gold and three silver medals when competing in the under 52kg class at the Southern Multi-Style Martial Arts Championships in Tapanui in March.

"Every year he takes on New Zealand champions," Phillips said.

King gained his black belt 16 months ago. He trains with members of the Toa Fighting Systems in Invercargill on Monday nights and travels to Phillips' gymnasium for more tuition on Tuesday and Thursday nights. He has won at least 30 medals at competitions.

His sisters, Jessica (black belt), 18, and Karlee (yellow belt), 12, compete in karate.

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- The Southland Times

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