THERE’S a new world champion in West Cork.
Bantry kickboxer Lily de la Cour fought her way to the top of the world – and her biggest ever career win – when she won the senior WAKO World Kickboxing Championships -50kg category at the Citywest in Dublin on Saturday morning.
This is the most prestigious competition that de la Cour (21) has ever won and she is now ranked the number one senior kickboxer in the world at the -50kg category.
‘Winning this title is definitely the highlight of my kickboxing career,’ a thrilled de la Cour told The Southern Star this week.
‘I’ve always wanted to win a senior world title – that was the final goal after winning the Worlds and Europeans as a junior.
‘It’s such a big deal for me, my coach, my family, my friends and my sponsors to have brought the gold home. I’m still recovering from the overwhelming response I got when I won. I have to thank everyone who supported me.’
‘It’s always been my dream to win the senior world title and in terms of my sporting personal goals, they’ve finally been achieved.’
The Bantry kickboxer has already enjoyed an amazing career that includes being an 11-time All-Ireland junior champion, winning black belt junior WAKO World and European championships, finishing her junior career as the number one ranked fighter in the world, winning the senior All-Ireland three times already, winning the senior WAKO International Open three times, as well as taking home gold from the WAKO World Cup Bestfighter competition in 2014 and winning silver in that competition this year.
But de la Cour’s fantastic triumph at last weekend’s senior WAKO World Kickboxing Championships better everything that has gone before. This is as good as it gets for the West Cork Kickboxing Club sensation.
She had never won a World or European title as a senior, only as a junior (under 18). Two years ago at these world senior championships in Turkey, she lost her first fight to a Bulgarian opponent and she has been training towards the worlds, and redemption, ever since.
‘The senior WAKO World Kickboxing Championships are the most prestigious event on the kickboxing calendar and take place every two years,’ the UCC student explained.
‘You have to be national champion of your country to compete at it. There is only one representative from each country in each weight class.’
At the world championships in Dublin, de la Cour overcame a Bulgarian fighter in the first round. She commented: ‘This was an emotional one for me as at my first senior worlds I was beaten in the first round by a Bulgarian so mental fitness had to kick in for this one.’
Victories followed against Polish and Greek fighters, as de la Cour used her speed, fitness, kicks and boxing skills to defeat both opponents and setup a senior world final against an Italian fighter.
‘We’ve fought three times to date. She’s strong, a great kicker, a great boxer and has great footwork. It was tactics that won the fight for me. I had a slightly faster kick so I used my legs to score mostly. I used my reach advantage with my hands and countered her well,’ a delighted de la Cour explained.