Amateur Thai boxers from Ireland are making their mark in Victoria.
Irishman Ryan Barry from Co Down recently impressed when he fought for the Victorian state Muay Thai, Thai boxing title in the 85kg weight division.
The construction worker was delighted when he won the fight after three rounds, beating a much bigger opponent.
Barry, 29, has been involved in martial arts for the past 15 years and says he was keen to continue his training as soon as he arrived in Australia almost four years ago.
“Whenever I came here I just started training in Thai boxing and kick boxing,” he told the Irish Echo.
“I just took it up nearly the second I got off the plane.
“It was just like a natural progression from Thai Kwan Do and boxing. It came natural enough.
“We have some different types of training over here for the Thai boxing, I’m going to keep going and just see how far I can take it,” he added.
Ryan is in the process of applying for permanent residency here in Australia.
He says a lot of hard work goes into the preparation before a big fight and admits he has to be careful when it comes to his diet.
According to the Northern Irishman: “Before a fight I would normally be training six times a week after work.
“Training sessions sometimes can be up to two and a half hours.
“It just involves a lot of running, skipping, hitting pads and sparring and stuff.
“It’s just like boxing really,” he concluded.
Another Irishman making his presence felt in the ring is Gary Dowling.
He recently fought for the state title, in the 63kg weight division.
Dowling, 25, from Co Louth, admits that he was disappointed to lose on a split decision after five tough rounds.
“That was my ninth fight. I was fighting for a Victorian title, that’s just how it goes,” he said.
“I started Muay Thai just for fitness and it’s just progressed from there.
“I’ve a couple of matches coming up but I’m just waiting to get an opponent.
“Usually, coming up to a match I would go for a run every morning and I would be training at the gym probably a couple of times a week and then boxing on the Saturday morning,” he added.
Both men fight at the Kaizen Muay gym in St Kilda, which has a stable of five Irish fighters, who fight regularly on the Melbourne Muay Thai circuit.