Illingworth’s Craven in European success

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Joe Craven took his Celtic Championships to a higher level with victory over Lee Baker to win the European title in Manchester.

Both Illingworth-based Craven and 15 year old Baker have had substantial individual success over the last couple of years.

Baker had won all the UKMF Super league events this season, a tournament Craven has not been involved in due to other fight commitments, and is also holder of the Celtic title which Craven won outright after defending it three times.

Craven, after vacating the Celtic title to pursue other options, has gone on to win the WKA British and WRSA English titles.

The five round bout was set at a max of 58kg with Baker weighing in at dead on 58kg and Craven at 57.4kg. Baker also had the height advantage with a good four inch in height over the slightly stockier Craven.

Both came out strongly in the first round showing good skill and strength with excellent knee and clinch technique. Towards the end of the round Growing in confidence, Craven began to take full control showing excellent composure and taking Baker to the floor on several occasions.

Baker began to struggle when Craven delivered a devastating push kick which landed mid-chest throwing him hard to the floor. It was this kick and the varied range of techniques overall that secured the round for Craven.

Once again Craven came out strongly in round three before delivering a devastating knee to the body and following up with a powerful leg kick.

Baker struggled to get up and the referee counted him out.

Calder Thai head coach Ricky Richardson said: “I was delighted with Joe’s performance.

“I have received some interesting offers for him and look forward to taking him onto the world stage.”