Tpr Kevin Bowles joined the Defence Forces in November 2011 with 30 Recruit Platoon and trained in Gormanston Camp. “I was very fit on enlistment as I was holding the Junior National 74kg World Association of Kickboxing Organisations (WAKO) title,” he told us, “and this helped me in training.”
After his recruit and three-star training he was posted to 2 Cav Sqn, Cathal Brugha Bks. Kevin has been kickboxing with Spartan Martial Arts since he was 13 years old and his trainer, Robbie McManamee, is a six-time WAKO European/World champion. In 2012, Tpr Bowles suffered a back injury that stopped him training for six months. As a consequence of the injury he also had to forfeit his national title. In January 2013 he returned to the ring and fought in the 91kg category of the Nationals, where he took the title. It was a best of three contenders event, with older and more experienced fighters. “I had great respect for them as they were very good fighters,” he continued.
In December 2013 he went to the WAKO World Championships in Anatolia, Turkey, where he had four fights against different opponents from around the world. “The top competitors are the Hungarians, who I was most wary of,” Kevin said, “but I avoided them, coming up against a Brazilian, a South African and a top fighter from Tajikistan. I won the first two bouts, each of which consisted of three five-minute rounds.”
In his quarter-final match, the fighter from Tajikistan won the first round, the second round was a draw and the top fighter from the Land of the Tajiks took the match by winning the third round. Kevin was disappointed in losing not only the fight but his WAKO title and belt, he says he will push on from this experience in the World Championships with the Nationals coming up in February 2014, where he will fight to retain his Irish title and to fortify his place on the Irish team for the next European Competition.
Tpr Bowles finished by saying: “While I really enjoy the fitness aspect and the adrenalin rush on fight night I can’t see myself teaching the sport as I’m purely into it to better myself physically and mentally. I would like to thank my squadron officers, NCOs and colleagues for encouraging me and for facilitating my training in preparation for my fights.”
This article was previously published in the March 2014 issue of An Cosantoir – The official Magazine of the Irish Defence Forces (dfmagazine.ie) by Sgt Wayne Fitzgerald