Sports

Gannaway gets her way

Submission tactics work for former boxer

Kirstie Gannaway is known for her lightning punches, having started out as a boxer.

Instead, she won her One Fighting Championship (One FC) debut with a triangle choke hold at the Singapore Indoor Stadium last night.

Facing Malaysian Adek Omar in the atomweight category - the first of 10 bouts of the Battle of Lions event - the 23-year-old Singaporean tried various submission holds after 30 seconds into the first of three rounds, but succeeded only about two minutes later.

She said: "Submission was part of my game plan. I wanted to take her down earlier... but she made it difficult.

"I am known for my striking, so I think I've proven my abilities on the ground."

She was feeling "a little nervous" before her fight, but pushed everything out before striding into the arena, as spectators were still streaming into the venue on a rainy evening.

PRESSURE

Gannaway said: "this is the first time i've fought in five or six years. The previous one was an amateur muaythai fight in a gym where about 30 people were watching.

"It was my (mixed martial arts) debut and I did feel a bit of pressure, but I got that out fast because I didn't want to focus on failure.

"This is a massive stadium, but I completed zoned out. I practised that a lot during training at Evolve (MMA gym) where there are a lot of things going on at the same time.

"Sometimes, there's also quite a number of people watching (me train), since I've been doing quite a bit of media recently."

Her compatriot Amir Khan, also from Evolve, also won his featherweight bout against Pakistan's Waqar Umar in the first round.

"He thought I hit him in the b***s, but the referee said 'fight', so I kneed him," said Amir, 19.

KNOCK-OUT

He followed that up with two elbows to the back of his opponent's head for a knock-out win.

Amir added: "My game plan was to start slow and to feel him out, because in his previous fight, he liked to 
throw punches.

"I was hoping to knock him out in the first or second round... I saw the opportunity there when he let his guard down."

Amir and Gannaway will let their hair down for a few days on a getaway with their mates from Evolve, where both of them also serve as assistant instructors.

Said Gannaway, who gave up her favourite cakes and cookies to prepare for the fight: "My brother is here tonight, along with some cousins from Australia. I'd probably spend some time with them tonight before the trip with Evolve tomorrow.

"And, cakes and cookies!"