Wollongong's Mitch Holden after another Muay Thai title

From left, Jake and Dominic Lavalle, Mitch Holden and Mohamed Bazzaz. Picture: GREG TOTMAN

From left, Jake and Dominic Lavalle, Mitch Holden and Mohamed Bazzaz. Picture: GREG TOTMAN

Wollongong fighter Mitch Holden is eyeing a Muay Thai kickboxing bout in December after collecting a gold medal at the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Oceanic Championships last month.

Holden’s gold medal in the men’s under-70kg division was part of a 10-medal haul for Wollongong’s Reflex Martial Arts Centre.

Jake Lavalle won gold in the 10-12 years division while Mohamed Bazzaz also collected gold in the 13-15 years division.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) is a form of fighting that focuses on submission techniques that utilise leg locks, arm locks and chokes to submit an opponent.

First popularised by UFC Hall of Famer Royce Gracie in the early ’90s, BJJ is now one of the most dominant disciplines in mixed martial arts, with former UFC champions Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Frank Mir and BJ Penn famous practitioners.

Reflex trainer and owner Dominic Lavalle said the medal haul was reward for many long hours on the practice mat.

‘‘I’m very proud to have three Reflex students as Oceanic champions in our club,’’ Lavalle said.

‘‘This BJJ event is well known for running the best Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitions in the country. 

‘‘This event is to help ensure that the competitions are at a world class standard, and to allow the successful competitors to have a direct route to the world championships in the near future.’’

Lavalle said the squad mix disciplines in training, with Holden now preparing for a Muay Thai bout in December, while  Jake Lavalle and Bazzaz seek higher gradings in BJJ.

‘‘The Reflex boys also like mixing it up with training in styles of muay thai kickboxing which helps in fitness, and also keeps them busy,’’ Lavalle said.

‘‘Mitch will also have a Muay Thai fight in December. Jake is doing his junior black belt on Saturday and Mohamed is grading for a higher belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu next week.’’

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