News reached this column earlier this week of two huge upcoming events for two Roscommon fighters.
Firstly, Na Fianna kickboxer Shane Lawless from Castlesampson in south Roscommon recently won the Irish 50kg IKS K1 title and will attempt to take the Irish ISKA K1 title when he faces Liam Hand at Takeover 9 in Naomh Olaf GAA Club in Dublin this Saturday night.
Lawless was in confident mood when he spoke to People Sport earlier this week.
“I won the IKS title by decision so I didn’t get the knockout. I have a combination that I believe will knock him (Hand) out though if it works out,” he said before adding “I think it’ll be a knockout in the first round.”
The young fighter has been training under Martin Ward in Athlone for the last two and half years and recently enjoyed a successful World Kickboxing Championships in Italy, taking home gold and silver medals.
The Athlone Community College student had an ominous message for his opponent: “I’m not leaving without that belt.”
Further afield, Roscommon girl Grace Morris is preparing to fight at the world famous Madison Square Garden this Friday night. Morris, who fights as Grace Aveen, will face Nicky Lorinczy in a Muay Thai bout at the Triumph Kombat event in New York.
Grace graduated from the Convent in Roscommon town in 2008 before making the move to the Big Apple a few years later. She has since become a Muay Thai fighter and personal trainer and following this bout will be fighting under Evolution Muay Thai, which has produced UFC fighters such as Angela Hill.
Grace is looking forward to making her bow at ‘the Garden’.
“This fight is literally a dream come true. I went to Madison Square Garden for MMA fights on New Year’s Eve and I said I was going to fight in that same room someday. I thought it would be years from now, but the opportunity arose only months later. It’s such a blessing to be able to get there,” she said.
Looking ahead to the weekend, there could be a Roscommon double, albeit 3,000 miles apart! Both Shane and Grace have assured me that they won’t be leaving anything behind in the ring this weekend.