Shropshire Star

Rising Telford star Taylor Underwood is targeting more title success

Telford schoolboy Taylor Underwood is seeking his four amateur world kickboxing title, writes James Bovington.


The 16-year-old, who lives in Malinslee, will take on Rodrigo Balancho on Saturday in Barnsley as he looks to add another belt to his collection.

As the star pupil at Telford’s JBS Martial Arts, Underwood is hoping to do his team-mates proud on the big stage.

“I started kickboxing when I was six and at Dothill primary,” Underwood said. “I went along to JBS on the day it opened as I wanted to try something new. I’ve never looked back.

“I’ve loved kickboxing from the very first day. I enjoy learning new skills and enjoy the contact side of the sport the actual fights.

“I love stepping into the ring, testing myself against my opponent and proving physically and mentally tougher while respecting his courage and commitment. But like most fighters I dislike having to cut weight for contests.I’m grateful to Kaleta Fitness, Chill Express, Fightnightlive-TV, Underwood Pipelines and NJP Solicitors who help with all the training costs and medical expenses.

“I will do my best to make them and all my supporters in Telford proud.”

The Barnsley bout will be Taylor’s 40th, having won 37 and lost just two.

“I currently fight at 63.5kg but will move to a higher weight division after my next bout in Yorkshire on the Kings of Combat annual show,” he added.

“I’ll be fighting a strong tough lad my age from Portugal for the ISKA K1 world title. If I win this will be my fourth amateur world title. In a few years I’ll hopefully be competing for professional world titles.”

As he chases glory, Underwood is also juggling his GCSE exams at Madeley Academy, but his focus has never wavered. His stepmother and trainer Joanne, said: “Taylor’s commitment to his kickboxing training is phenomenal.

“Preparing for this fight he’s at the gym six days a week and he always puts 110 per cent into each lesson.

“If he’s not at JBS he’s out running or at a local gym. He’s represented England in tournaments in Scotland and Ireland. He’s also competed for his country in the Czech Republic, France, Spain, and Germany where he also has a fight lined up on a huge show called Enfusion later in the summer.”

His father Darren added: “Taylor will be starting an apprenticeship in mechanical engineering in September, but he lives, eats and breathes for fighting.

“He’s greatly benefitted from kickboxing which has taught him self-discipline and respect for others and helped him develop co-ordination, fitness, focus and working in a team.”

JBS Martial Arts Academy is located on Heath Hill Industrial Estate. Anyone interested in starting kickboxing training for their child can contact the Academy on 07710 695956 or at