Desa becomes Lincoln’s Silver Centurion in Alicante

Lincoln kickboxer Andy Desa took the silver medal at the Kickboxing World Championships in Alicante’s Centro de Tecnificación Arena this month.

Desa, who has 160 titles to his name in a career spanning 30 years, was eventually beaten by Italian Rino Magno in a closely-fought final.

Andy Desa (left) in action. Photo: Andy Desa

The 38-year-old former world champion was initially doubtful that he would compete in the championships at all after sustaining a serious knee injury.

He said: “It’s a big thing still. Obviously, I’ve won about 160 titles now, but at 38 and fighting lads in their twenties, it’s quite an achievement for me, really.

“I had quite a bad knee injury and I said ‘that’s me done, I’m not going to make it to Alicante now’.

Desa was quick to praise his sponsors – Golden Emu Oil – for helping him overcome his injury.

He said: “We had a physio look at it and he said I had inflammation and I wouldn’t be able to train in the 12 weeks leading up to it, but this guy I know asked if I’d tried Golden Emu Oil. He said Paula Radcliffe used it and a couple of other people. Within three or four days, I had full movement in my knee.”

Over 40 nations competed, ensuring a standard befitting a world championship.

“It was a very modern set-up,” said Andy, “I think it seated 10,000 people. There were big old crowds and every fight was like a title fight all the way through to the final.

“Fighting the German in the semi-final was really difficult. I thought ‘now I’ve got over that hurdle, I’m in the final,’ and I was against Rino Magno, who is a five-time world champion himself. We’ve clashed in the past and he’s won one and I’ve won one and it’s gone on like that. It was his time this time, but next year at the Europeans [European Championships] I’m hoping that I’m going to be fit enough to fight again.”

Andy’s exploits in Alicante have earned him the nickname ‘Silver Centurion’, which is a nod to his own fighting style; centurion freestyle.

He said: “As a kid I started doing karate with the local club, and then I felt like I wasn’t learning enough so I moved on and I studied kung fu in Sleaford. I got my black sash again and I moved on to taekwondo and then boxing, but there was always something missing.

“So I sat down and I wrote a system, which is a mixture and culmination of all the kickboxing derivatives. It’s a system that I adhere to and all my fighters adhere to.

“From the ages of nine to about 17, maybe 20, I’ve got five world champions including myself.  I’ve already won a world title, so to get second again in the world through the system I use is amazing, really, because it’s a proven system now.

That success and innovation has not gone unnoticed, and the International Sport Kickboxing Association has offered Desa a coaching role.

“We’re trying to make it a recognised Olympic sport,” explains Desa, “when that comes round, I’ll have stopped fighting and I’ll get to be Great Britain’s coach.

“I’m going to try and fight until I’m 40 if I can stay away from bad injuries. Now that I’m starting to coach for the Great Britain team, at least that’s my new lease of life within the sport.

“As a coach, I’m developing centurion martial arts all the time. We’ve got black belts coming through. I’m trying to get those guys to be club owners so we can keep developing the association and let it grow around Lincolnshire. I mean, my dream would be to have a full-time academy in Lincoln eventually and have all the systems of martial arts running from it.”

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