'There's no way I'm leaving without that belt' - Downs

By Ruth Smith

Muay Thai fighter, Melody 'Diva' Downs is gearing up for the Intercontinental World Kickboxing Association (WKA) K1 U67 kg title to be held in South Korea next week. 

The fight will see her face up to South Korean fighter, Eun-Ji Choi and possibly put her in the running to take a shot at her dream for a world title.

New Zealand's top female fighter, Downs and team are on-route to Korea for the biggest fight of her career.

“I’m just ready to get there and rip it up and take the belt home.  There’s no way I’m leaving without that belt.  So hopefully you’ll see some bling coming back home on the plane”, says Downs.

The current WKA title holder has been given the chance to fight for the WKA Women's K1 Intercontinental belt (67kg) against Eun-Jin Choi.

The Hamilton based fighter has been guaranteed a shot at the world title, with talks of a possible title shot closer to home.       

“The next step after this intercontinental title is a world title shot.  It’a a huge deal, and I know that WKA are talking about hosting that here in New Zealand,” says close friend and former New Zealand's lightweight Muay Thai champ, Miriam Tio.

Both Downs and Tio- who will be in Downs' corner for the fight- are taking full advantage of this opportunity as Korea will also pose a platform to grow the female fighters in New Zealand.

“In essence, it’s all part of that female growth in the sport because our aim is to start pushing more female fighters, not just domestically, but internationally.  And, to say ‘Hey, we’re here. We’re strong.  We can do this. Don’t doubt us,',” Downs explains.

But for now both Downs and Tio are focused on the prize, looking to put months of training into action to bring the title home.

“As her corner, I will say, we will be coming home with the bling” says Tio.

“I train everyday.  Fitness is looking good.  I’m feeling strong and looking forward to bringing another belt home,” adds Downs.

They  fly out to Korea early tomorrow morning before the fight on Saturday.