Tyson Hirscher is back in Cranbrook after claiming gold at the World Karate & Kickboxing Commission World Championships in Dublin

Tyson Hirscher is back in Cranbrook after claiming gold at the World Karate & Kickboxing Commission World Championships in Dublin

Here comes the fighter

Cranbrook's Tyson Hirscher crowned at World Karate & Kickboxing Commission World Championships in Dublin, Ireland

Taylor Rocca

Tyson Hirscher may have travelled nearly 7,000 kilometres for one fight, but was it ever worth it.

The 18-year-old Cranbrook native travelled 6,808 km to Dublin, Ireland for the World Karate and Kickboxing Commission (WKC) World Championships Oct. 4 to 9, claiming gold by unanimous decision in the 16- to 17-year-old, 70-kilogram division.

“[The referee] raised my hand and everyone was cheering,” Hirscher said with a big grin Wednesday afternoon. “It was pretty good.”

The world-stage victory pushed Hirscher’s record to 8-1 — including an undefeated run in 2014 — an impressive accomplishment considering how far he has come in such a short time. After losing his first competitive match, Hirscher has rung off eight consecutive wins.

The young fighter has been honing his skills for four years and remembers a time not so long ago where fighting on the local stage was an immense challenge.

“I went to a tournament in Fernie, it was the provincial try-out for WKC in 2012,” Hirscher recalled. “I wasn’t nearly good enough to go to Ottawa [for the WKC Canadian Championships] or the worlds.

“It was a little three-year journey after that.”

Hirscher knew he had a long road ahead of him and a lot of improvements to make if he were to progress to the national stage. Fighting locally through the Kootenays and across the Alberta border in Calgary, Hirscher battled to get as much experience as he could handle. That eventually led him to an appearance at the WKC Canadian Championships in 2013, where he placed third in his division.

“All the competitors I fought [at the national championships in 2013], they were going to worlds and winning medals,” Hirscher said. “I said, ‘Hey, I could probably do this.’”

Hirscher didn’t compete at the 2013 WKC World Championships, but once 2014 rolled around, from day one, the plan was for the peppy 18-year-old to make his way to Dublin for the season finale in October.

Hirscher’s adventure took him through Williams Lake, B.C., the host of the 2014 WKC B.C. Provincial Championships in March. From there, he qualified for the 2014 WKC Canadian Championships, hosted by Ottawa in May. The top four fighters in each division at the national championships, one of which was Hirscher, moved on to the 2014 WKC World Championships in Dublin.

While most fighters have to work their way through a number of opponents before getting a shot at a medal, Hirscher only had to defeat one foe — Spencer Cunningham, another Canadian — before being crowned world champion.

“We scared off all the other Canadians that qualified,” Hirscher said. “There were two or three other Canadians that qualified [for the world championships] but they knew they weren’t getting a medal if we were there.”

Another competitor from Ireland was slated to fight, but withdrew due to an injury sustained playing rugby. That left Hirscher and Cunningham to duke it out for world supremacy.

The two Canucks went head-to-head in a pair of two-minute rounds with gold on the line. Hirscher edged Cunningham to narrowly win the first round before aggressively taking control in the final round.

“He started getting more tired,” Hirscher said. “I just kept pushing the pace. He would throw a couple punches and a kick, then he would turtle up.

“I just kept hitting him and he kept backing up.”

After the final bell, with both fighters at his side, the referee raised Hirscher’s hand and announced him as champion, by unanimous decision.

Hirscher’s father, Klaus, is his corner man. He has been riding shotgun with his son since the journey began at that first provincial tournament in Fernie.

“You’re on top of the world. You’re just as excited as he is,” Klaus said Wednesday afternoon. “He’s worked hard for it. Like he said, It’s the end of a three-year trip. The next trip will be a lot shorter, because we’ve been there.”

While the victory brings this journey to a close, it also marks the beginning of a new adventure for Hirscher. When he gets back into the arena next, he will be a full-fledged adult fighter.

Hirscher plans to compete on the WKC circuit once again in 2015, moving up to the 18- to 34-year-old, 90-kg division. If the year goes as planned, he will find himself in Orlando, Fla. for the 2015 WKC World Championships.

Until then, he plans to take a month off to rest before getting back into the gym and preparing for his next journey. When he isn’t in the gym, Hirscher works with the Cranbrook bantam ‘B’ boys hockey team as a dryland training coach.

Hirscher wished to thank all of the sponsors who helped get him to the WKC World Championships, in addition to Kru Joel Huncar, master Simon Wachon and his father, Klaus.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kimberley case counts not at the point for 18 years and older community vaccination, says Interior Health. (File photo)
Many factors considered for smaller community-wide vaccination: Interior Health

East Kootenay resort town’s COVID-19 situation not at the point of community-wide vaccination, say officials

1914
It happened this week in 1914

April 18 - 24: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers held at the Cranbrook History Centre and Archives

While pharmacies across B.C. are using AstraZeneca for public immunizations for people 40 years of age and older, there is no availability currently in the Kootenays. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
No AstraZeneca vaccine availability in Kootenay pharmacies, says Interior Health

Vaccine has been opened up at pharmacies in other areas of the province to people 40 years of age and older

Balsamroot, pictured here, can be found on Sunflower Hill in the Kimberley Nature Park, Eager Hill, Wycliffe Buttes, and many other areas across the Rocky Mountain Trench. (Paul Rodgers file)
Spring’s yearly spectacle of balsamroot

Ever year in May, balsamroot emerges for a brief showy period

Today, on April 22, over 1 billion people will come together – virtually – to mark Earth Day.(Pixabay)
Earth Day 2021: a time to reflect

By Ruth Kamnitzer Today, on April 22, over 1 billion people will… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Most Read