Wilson, Liano Use Different Methods to Win Their Kickboxing Matches

Times Staff Writer

Don Wilson was very patient and Mariano Liano was not, but the results were the same Monday night as professional kickboxing came to Costa Mesa for the first time.

Wilson, the World Kickboxing Assn. light-heavyweight champion, stopped Mike Winkeljohn with an overpowering left hook late in the 10th and final round of the non-title main event at the Red Lion Inn in front of about 800.

In the semi-main event, Liano won the vacant WKA junior featherweight title with a fourth-round knockout of Sanea Koala. Liano had to act quickly because of a deep cut above his right eye that resulted from a head butt by Koala in the third round.

Kickboxing combines the hand punching of boxing with leg kicks found in martial arts. Fighters wear boxing gloves as well as pads that cover the top and ankle area of their bare feet.


Liano (14-1) charged out to start the fourth round and attacked Koala (8-1). Liano used two strong kicks to the body, and Koala crumbled. During a standing eight count, Koala regained his feet, but they were kicked out from under him and the fight was stopped 46 seconds into the round.

“I didn’t like how deep or long the cut was,” said Mel Chavez, Liano’s trainer. “Our game plan was to start the fight in the sixth round after Liano got warmed up but after the head butt, we had to go right after him and get it over with.”

Wilson was much more content to just let the rounds roll by. He scored a knockdown with a left hook in the second, but Winkeljohn jumped right back to his feet.

Winkeljohn came on in the middle rounds, although he was never close to a knockdown.


Wilson rallied in the final three rounds, landing an impressive combination of feet and hands to slow Winkeljohn.

In the eighth, Wilson came across the ring, landing a left kick, then a right foot to the face of Winkeljohn, driving him into a corner. Wilson, the better boxer of the two, then used a right-left hand combination to hurt Winkeljohn.

Wilson dominated again in the ninth, but his true power showed in the 10th.

With about a minute left, the fighters came to the center of the ring and Wilson flipped a left foot to the head, much like a left jab in conventional boxing. He followed with a right hand, then a long, thundering left that slammed Winkeljohn to the ground and ended the fight with 46 seconds left.


Pierre Saint Tran, promoter of Monday’s event, said he plans for a second show in August at the Red Lion.