Needle match now inked – Former World WKN featherweight kickboxing champ Gary Hamilton will find himself in, quite literally, a needle match on St Patrick’s Day.

Hamilton, who is aiming to get his career back on course after losing his world title last year, will clash with old foe and fellow Belfast man Aubrey Tarr.

Their showdown, a second between the pair, has landed sponsorship from Belfast tattoo store Cusick, owned by Northern Ireland’s power-lifting king Andrew Cusick.

Tarr and Hamilton will meet at Belfast’s Holiday Inn on March 17 with their bout aptly titled, The Needle Match. Tattooist Cusick has worked with both fighters, more so Hamilton in recent times whose body art is a work in progress.

Ballysillan man Tarr believes he was “hard done by” when he met Hamilton last year and having now lost once to the the popular chef, he’s determined to make it a win the second time around.

Tarr said: “Gary was smarter than me in the last fight – he took an opportunity that I thought wasn’t the most sporting at the time. But I learned a lesson about protecting oneself at all times in that fight.

“Gary is a quality fighter, he has been at the top. But this will be the occasion for me to record a victory over him that I believe I am due.”

Hamilton, who lost his WKN world title in May last year to Swiss-based Rwandan Patrick Kinigamazi following a sapping 12-round clash in Geneva, is equally confident he will enjoy another win over Tarr.

He said: “Aubrey and I go way back and we have always had a good rivalry. I respect that he is getting into the ring with me because he has lost before and is brave enough to try again. I have my eye on greater things and I am fully prepared for what he will throw at me.

“I plan to become a world champion again so there will be no let up and no controversy this time. Aubrey will leave the Holiday Inn knowing he lost a good clean fight. In fact, he might want to book into the hotel for some rest and relaxation because he is going to need it.”

Hamilton, who packed out the Ulster Hall on numerous occasions during a world title reign that started in 2002, will turn 31 in May – and accepts this may be his last chance to make a second impression on the title scene.

He added: I lost a fight with Patrick Kinigamazi last year and although I was fighting the weight and had trouble with it beforehand, I believe I won it. The decision didn’t go my way but the outcome did give me an almighty kick up the backside.

“I have had enough time to think about it and to consider what I want from the sport before my body tells me it has had enough.”Hamilton will now compete as a lightweight and light-welterweight – glad to see his featherweight days behind him.

“I was killing myself making the weight and probably should not have taken the fight against Kinigamazi – but you live and learn.

“I’ve had my wake-up call and now I am focussed on bringing home another title. I would love to challenge Kinigamazi again. This is my opportunity to show people – most of all my coach Billy Murray – the old Gary Hamilton is back.”

Also on the St Patrick’s Day Bash show is young contender Mark Bird another stylish kickboxer to emerge from Murray’s Prokick Gym. The young Hillsborough fighter won an award in Japan last year for the best technical fighter in the event Northern Ireland V Japan.

Bird will compete in an K1-style International Team event, against Diego Diserens of Switzerland.

For ticket information contact Log on to prokickShop or call 028 9065 1074. Tickets cost £20 while children wearing official Prokick uniform will enjoy free admission.

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Parviz Iskenderov

Parviz Iskenderov is a muaythai fighter from Perth, Australia. He is a former national champion of Belarus, and also a finalist of IFMA European Cup. He is an editor and journalist at FIGHTMAG. He covers national and world news. Iskenderov is also the WKN (World Kickboxing Network) international coordinator for Australia.