Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Honey claims middleweight title

James Honey has won the World Kickboxing Association Middleweight Victorian State Title against his mate Drew Etherington on a split-points decision.

MATTHEW GALEA December 16, 2013 4:05am

Split-point decisions are always controversial, but that has not stopped James Honey from revelling in his first title reign.

The Shepparton fighter had to put his friendship with Drew Etherington to the side for five brutal rounds in Albury on Saturday night and left the ring with the World Kickboxing Association Middleweight Victorian State Title courtesy of a split decision.

‘‘I’m a bit banged up, but I’m feeling pretty good,’’ Honey said.

‘‘It was a bit different to fighting someone else that I don’t know, but it was a very close fight and it came down to the wire.

‘‘When it comes to a split decision, you never know which way it’s going to go.’’

Etherington’s trainer Mat Reid felt like he had a good idea which way the fight should go and felt his man was extremely unlucky not to have his hand raised.

‘‘It’s just disappointing judging, there were so many split-point decisions throughout the night, which to me means you’ve got at least one judge that is seeing everything completely different to the other two,’’ Reid said.

‘‘These guys do a weekend course and then they get a judge’s hat ... and there was just no consistency.

‘‘If we lose, no worries, I can handle that, but I didn’t hear anyone say that they agreed with that decision to me ... even the promoter said he was surprised.’’

Reid said a complaint would be lodged with WKA, but he wasn’t sure what the next step in the process would be.

‘‘James held his composure and he was really good with his push kicks, but that’s just like a jab in boxing,’’ Reid said.

‘‘It’s not a telling hard blow and I thought James was on the back foot with Drew landing a lot of hard kicks and punches.’’

Honey was not too bothered by Reid’s thoughts.

‘‘I don’t really know (about his thoughts), I don’t really care, I got my hand raised,’’ Honey said.

Honey said he would be open to a rematch, but it would have to wait until next year, with the 17-year-old set to take a break from fighting during the summer.

Etherington said while he was disappointed, he wasn’t going to kick up too much of a fuss.

‘‘It was disappointing, but at the end of the day it happens,’’ Etherington said.

‘‘It was a good fight and it was entertaining, and there’s nothing I can do (about the decision).

‘‘Whenever he wants, I’ll fight him again.’’

Reid felt Etherington had definitely won rounds three and two, when he landed a knee that left Honey nursing a cut, while he felt round four was a tight one with round five going to Etherington.

Honey’s coach Mick Clarke disagreed, saying the fight had been tight and that a split-points decision was a fair reflection of that.

‘‘The way I saw it, Drew had the first round, with the second and third rounds being even,’’ Clarke said.

‘‘James came back strong in the fourth and again in the fifth, so it was a fight I was glad I didn’t have to judge.’’

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