Bannon eager to tick another box before turning professional

By Hayden Moore

FIVE-TIME World champion kickboxer Shauna Bannon is eager to prove she can blend the different disciplines of mixed martial arts seamlessly together before turning professional.

The Tallaght woman is set to compete against decorated Polish grappler Kate Bacik at Clan Wars 39  in Belfast on March 20.

Shauna Bannon MMA Debut3 1

Shauna Bannon from Tallaght will pitch her skill against Polish grappler Kate Bacik next month

“Kate is quite an accomplished jiu-jitsu fighter” Bannon told The Echo. “She has won a lot of medals in jiu-jitsu and is one of those types of opponents I wanted to fight before turning professional,”

“There are a few different boxes you want to tick before turning pro, a good striker, a wrestler, a grappler.

“I wanted to fight a good grappler and she is another box I’m going to tick.

“I think everyone just sees me as a striker, but I’ve been working on my ground game as well.

“I’m a mixed martial artist, not just a striker and I’m looking to prove that.”

Bannon is hoping to get in a solid year of competition after taking a break in 2020 to give birth to her son Jayce.

With one eye on the European Mix Martial Arts Championships in Russia in August, the talented kickboxer’s return to the octagon has been quicker than expected.

“I can’t wait to get back in to be honest, I’m buzzing,” she says.

“It’ll be nearly a year since I last fought.

“I actually fought when I was pregnant. I didn’t know at the time and I ended up losing by decision after five rounds.

“I think Jayce was taking all my energy that day.

“It feels like it’s been about 20 years since my last fight and I was planning on maybe fighting in May or June.

“I ended up recovering so fast, I was back training four weeks after having Jayce and sure I was training while I was pregnant as well. So, I was comfortable taking a fight in March. I feel more than ready to get back in there.”

Should the European Open Senior and Junior Championships go ahead in Russia, that will see Bannon try go one step better than her last time out in a championship setting.

Indeed the 27-year-old impressed on her IMMAF-WMMAA Amateur World Championships debut in 2019, fighting all the way to the final where she ultimately had to settle for a silver medal.

Following the bout against Bacik, Bannon is hoping to get in one more fight before the championships, which could mean that she will fight four times before turning professional at the end of the year.

Clan Wars 39 is available to watch on livestream through a link available now on Shauna Bannon’s Facebook and Instagram accounts.

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