An Anston martial artist who kicked and punched her way to an incredible eight world titles has hung up her gloves.
Kickboxer Kerry-Louise Norbury has gone out at the top of her game and will now concentrate on helping others to climb the world rankings.
In a glittering career, she not only impressed in the ring, winning K1 and kickboxing titles, but was recognised for her contribution to sport in the region by the mayors of both Rotherham and Retford.
When it all began at the tender age of seven, international superfights and belts were not on the agenda.
She explained: “I started at the age of seven when I was being bullied at school.”
“My parents decided it was time for me to learn self defence.”
“I joined the local karate club and I really didn’t want to go as, back then, I was a girly girl – I wanted to go horse riding instead.”
But once Norbury had earned her yellow belt, she began to increase her training and was soon entering competitions and winning ‘Student of the Year’ trophies.
She racked up a remarkable 15 British titles in three different martial arts organisations, a world silver medal and four world golds all before the age of 20.
It was then that a serious car accident forced her to take time away from the gym, and the ring, and when she returned it was to the world of full contact kickboxing.
Three more British titles followed, and six professional world titles.
Martial arts allowed her to travel, fighting as far away as India, and take on opponents from other countries and cultures.
And it also gave her opportunities to branch out into different fighting styles.
She said: “My Wako Pro World title win against the New Zealander would be my last as I had decided to push on to the next style which was K1.”
“It is a style including knees, clinch and low kicks, with no protection other than boxing gloves and a gum shield.”
“I gained an Intercontinental Pro title against a South African and a WFKKO World title against the unbeaten world champion from Italy.”
Not content to make her name in combat sports, the Falcon Fight Academy instructor branched out into triathlons.
She was scheduled to return to the ring later this year, but an inability to match the high standards she had set previously brought about a tough conversation with coach Cris Janson Piers.
“When I started to train I realised my body was letting me down, as most pro sportspeople will understand in their 30s,” she said.
“I have always put in 110 per cent, being a huge believer of you get out of something what you put in.”
“Maybe it was time to hang up my gloves, I spoke to my coach, Cris and made the hardest decision I have ever had to.”
With the decision to retire made, Norbury’s career was celebrated by friends, training partners and those who have been associated with her long fight career, at a party on 20th September.
Janson Piers quipped: “There was a special drink prepared for all to raise their glasses, called, aptly, ‘the final punch’ – although Kerry-Louise, being teetotal, just watched as her guests toasted her.”
The coach paid tribute to his retiring fighter, not only for her personal achievements but for her contribution to Dinnington’s Falcon Fight Academy.
He said: “I would like to congratulate and thank her personally for a lifetime’s achievements and dedication to martial arts and its furtherance, which indeed has helped make Falcon Fight Academy and the BFKKO become what it has today.”
“It was a pleasure to work with her in the gym and the ring, and now it is time to give all that knowledge back to our students at Falcon Fight Academy at Dinnington, a centre that has earned it’s following and respect through results.”
For information on training with Norbury and Janson Piers or to book a free introductory lesson, call 07973 748907.