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Martial arts: Gareth Oates earns Welsh title shot with tough Thai boxing victory

GARETH Oates has secured himself a shot at a Welsh Thai boxing title after scoring his fourth career victory in an eliminator match at Liquid nightclub in Wrexham.

On a card featuring mixed martial arts and kickboxing bouts hosted in an MMA fighting cage, Mold Alex Thai Boxing Club fighter Oates’ bout against Paul Hodrien of Next level Academy in Liverpool was acknowledged as being the most fierce battle of the night.

Oates’ talent was spotted early on when a Flintshire finance company, Hawarden- based LDF, came forward to sponsor him, helping fund his training to propel him to the top.

Now, unbeaten and with a national title shot, he is beginning to repay that faith.

With his Mold coach Darran Baker in his corner, Oates took a few early shots, including a couple of kicks to the head, before being wrestled to the mat by Hodrien.

When the bout restarted Oates took control, drawing Hodrien in and hitting him with heavy kicks and punches, including a sickening hook to the Scouse fighter’s head which rocked him.

Hodrien came back and edged the second round but it was the third which saw Oates clinch the result.

He began to find gaps in Hodrien’s defence, which frustrated his opponent.

A flurry of blows midway through the round sent Hodrien to the canvas doubled over in obvious discomfort.

When he resumed fighting, Hodrien was desperate to end it and launched an all-or-nothing assault that ended with him again wrestling Oates to the ground, causing the referee to raise the Mold man’s hand in victory.

LDF sales consultant Jason Wakefield said: “This was one of Gareth’s hardest fight so far.

“He is getting better and better with every fight and learning all the time.

“We are really proud and look forward to a Welsh title fight this summer.”