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New Brighton Kickboxing School Owner Wins World Championship


Wednesday, January 14th
Brian Meyers, sports writer, www.Bulletin-News.com

Chris Cichon, the owner of Cellar Kickboxing and Martial Arts in New Brighton, has been on a pretty strict diet and training regimen the past couple of months. Now that he has accomplished the goal that was the focus of his training, Cichon is ready for some junk food.

“After eight or 10 weeks of training, I’m looking forward to having some sugar,” said Cichon, who added he couldn’t wait to indulge in his personal favorites of Sour Patch Kids and Sweedish Fish.

The prize that Cichon spent all that time working toward was the International Kickboxing Federation Light Middleweight Amateur World Championship and he realized that goal Friday night at Robert’s Sports Bar in Mounds View. Cichon, the top-ranked fighter in the world in his weight class, defeated second-ranked Alex Sirman of England in a unanimous decision.

Cichon was the aggressor throughout the five-round bout and the judges recognized that as all three scored the match 50-45, meaning Cichon won each round 10-9 on each judge’s scorecard.

The decidedly pro-Cichon crowd in attendance erupted when the decision was announced. “It feels awesome to win it in my hometown and in front of my friends and my family and students,” said Cichon. “I’ve won titles before but they were away from home.

The world title is the third championship that Cichon has held in his kickboxing career. Going into Friday’s bout, Cichon held the IKF United States championship, which he must now relinquish because an individual is not allowed to hold two championships in the same weight class. Cichon’s first title was the IKF Central United States Regional championship.

But the world championship is by far the most impressive of those three. Cichon rose to the No. 1 ranking and earned the title shot after winning the 2008 IKF World Classic Tournament in Flordia last July. Sirman clinched his spot in the title bout by defeating England’s Matt Gilbert, who was originally scheduled to be Cichon’s opponnent on Nov. 30th. The victory elevated Sirman to the second spot in the rankings.

Cichon said digging up information on Sirman and his fighting style was difficult so he didn’t exactly know what to expect from his opponent.

“I couldn’t find anything. I knew he was a good kicker,” Cichon said. “So I had to go in and try to figure him out.”

The kicking aspect of Sirman’s repertoire appeared strong but he didn’t punch nearly as much as Cichon who put together two flurries of punches in the first round. Cichon continued to dominate with his hands in the second round and even got a knockdown of Sirman even though refferee Dan Stell ruled it a slip and did not administer a standing eight count.

The most even round of the match was the third as Cichon didn’t get in as many shots but that changed in round four as Cichon re-established his dominance. It was clear that Cichon won round four as he landed at least three solid punches to Sirman’s face. After Cichon’s punches, Stell appeared to be watching Sirman closely the rest of the round, looking for signs that maybe Sirman’s night should be ended early.

“He’s a tough kid,” Cichon said of Sirman. “He took some shots.”

The event doctor was called in following the fourth round to check on Sirman and he ruled that the Colchester, England, native was fit to continue. Cichon scored his only official knockdown of the match in the fifth round when he landed a kick to Sirman that appeared to knock him off balance.

The victory improved Cichon’s record to 17-5 with four knockouts and was his eight straight triumph. Sirman suffered his second loss and saw his record drop to 8-2-1.

Next up for Cichon, tentatively, are matches in Ohio in March and England in May. The May bout could end up being a title defense against England’s Pat Sheehan, who was scheduled to fight Cichon last year but missed the bout because of a shoulder injury.

As for a rematch with Sirman, that is a possibility but a note in the IKF website following Friday’s bout said that the IKF would like to see Sirman shed a couple of pounds and take a shot at the curently vacant Super Welterweight world championship. Sirman, at 155 pounds, is competing at the low end of the Light Middleweight weight class (153.1-159 pounds) and the IKF website said it might serve him better to try and compete at the high end of the Super Welterweight division (147.1-153 pounds).


Cichon’s world title is the third currently held by Cellar Kickboxing club members. Jon Lewis was the first Cellar member to win a world championship when he captured the Super Lightweight (132.1-137 pounds) crown in April of 2007 in North Carolina in a split decision over a fighter from Florida. Adam McDermid made it two world title for Cellar when he won a unanimous decision over a fighter from West Virginia to win the Cruiserweight (186.1-195 pounds) championship last Septmember at an event held at the Mermaid night club in Mounds View.
The undercard at Friday’s event at Robert’s featured five other amateur kickboxing bouts and one exhibition. Four of the non-exhibition matches were contested under Muay Thai rules, which allow for points to be scored for any contact above the knee. Full-contact kickboxing, which is type the type of match Cichon competd in, allow points for contacts above the waist. One of the matches, featuring female competitors from Hibbing and Texas, ended in a split decision and, according to the IKF website will be reviewd for scoring and could posibly have the decision reversed.
Promoter Bobby Anderson, who has put on IKF events in a number of venues throughout Minnesota, said Friday that both the Mermaid and Roberts are interested in hosting future kickboxing events. Anderson said he expects to put on nine or 10 events in 2009.
The Mermaid hosted a pair of events in 2008 and was originally scheduled to be the venue for Friday’s world title fight before it was moved to Roberts. Anderson, who is originally from Hinckley, Minn., is a former kickboxer himself, having picked up the sport after training in various martial arts in high school. Over his career, Anderson posted a record of 18-2 and won both the Minnesota and Wisconsin state championships.
IKF President Steve Fossum was among those in attendance at Friday’s event. Fossum, who started the IKF in 1992, said the growth of kickboxing was strong through the 1990s but was slowed by the rise in popularity of mixed martial arts events. The IKF, which is based out of California, puts on more than 100 events per year in North America and with its sister organization, the International Sports Combat Federation, has become the largest mixed marital arts sanctioning body in the world. Fossum said the biggest factor that determines which sport enjoys the strongest growth is on television. Mixed martial arts has grown steadily in recent years thanks to TV exposure of such organizations as Ultimate Fighting Championship.

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