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Sun, Dec. 15

IKF returns to Arizona, set to fight in Cottonwood

Richard Williams trains Adam Hines last year. Williams, also a promoter, is putting together an IKF event called the Golden Rumble at Reese’s Tire Pros in Cottonwood on June 22. VVN/James Kelley

Richard Williams trains Adam Hines last year. Williams, also a promoter, is putting together an IKF event called the Golden Rumble at Reese’s Tire Pros in Cottonwood on June 22. VVN/James Kelley

The International Kickboxing Federation is returning to Arizona and Cottonwood will host an event next month.

A couple weeks ago the Arizona State Boxing Commission reapproved IKF Kickboxing.

“Oh I think it’s absolutely wonderful,” said IKF Arizona executive director Sandee Olding. “It’s gonna give our young athletes another opportunity to move forward and excel in what they like to do best.”

Previously the US Muay Thai Open (USMTO) was in charge of all the amateurs in Arizona but IKF, which is in 60 countries, has more reach.

IKF Arizona will sanction “The Golden Rumble,” an event featuring fighters from Arizona against combatants from New Mexico at Reese’s Tire Pros in Cottonwood. Golden Cobra LLC. is putting on the event on June 22.

Local promoter Richard Williams of Golden Cobra said they just got $1,100 in sponsorship money in Cottonwood on Friday alone.

“We’re pretty stoked, I’m pretty excited,” Williams said. “We got open arms.”

Reese’s Tire Pros is celebrating their 50th anniversary this year. Williams said they’ve been a sponsor for a long time.

IKF Arizona has been approved to feature three rule styles: full contact kick boxing, where they can kick above the waist, international rules, where they can do just about everything but clinching and K1 which a lot of professional leagues use, where they can’t clinch but can throw knees.

“Our sanctioning body is able to hit 100 different schools,” Williams said.

Tickets for the Golden Rumble range from $10 for kids, $20 for general admission and $30 for ringside.

Dr. Bradley Williams, the NAZ Suns head surgeon, will serve as head doctor for the event.

Williams said the doctor donates his time and buys a VIP table for his family.

“Everybody’s just excited again,” Williams said. “We’re doing a show for a business that’s been in business in Cottonwood for 50 years. We’re doing the Golden Rumble.”

This is the first event Williams has promoted in three years.

“Oh I think it’s going to be an awesome opportunity for the Verde Valley to bring IKF back not only to Arizona but to the small towns,” Olding said. “We have a lot of young athletes in these small towns and sometimes they don’t get the opportunities to do things that they want to do but bringing the IKF back is going to help them excel, get them to where they want to be, reach their goals and I think it’s going to be great for a small town.”

It’s a new role for Olding, who worked in the administrative and then medical fields before this but she said it’s an “awesome change.” Williams is her fiancée.

“It’s been a challenge,” Olding said about getting IKF Arizona going. “It’s something very new to me, I’ve learned a lot, I’ve come to respect a lot of what these promoters do. I’ve come to respect a lot what these fighters go through. It’s definitely a very challenging opportunity. The team that I have is absolutely very supportive I have a top of the line team I couldn’t ask for better people.”

Olding said that being a woman doing this job sets an excellent example for other women, that “women also become world champions”

Williams they’re also in talks to have kickboxing at Cornfest in Camp Verde. They’ve had boxing there but this would be the first Cornfest kickboxing championships.

“It’s gonna be awesome,” Williams said.

The Cornfest kickboxing competition would be Arizona versus Nevada.

Williams they’re also looking to having some events at Thunder Valley Rally. The fights there could be a title fight or Arizona versus California.

Williams has 40 years experience, as a fighter, trainer and promoter but is just focusing on promoting right now.

“Before I was a jack of all trades,” Williams said. “When I did my first show, I was a fighter on there, I was a promoter, I was a trainer as well. As of right now I can still do personal training but I don’t want to be in the corner as I’m a promoter because then it’s going to look like a conflict of interest.”

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