A real-life Karate Kid is ready to take on all comers after being crowned a world champion – at the age of just 14.
Kickboxer Tyler Hourihan – who has also been dubbed a “mini-Conor McGregor” – beat Dutch contender Jahmarleylion Ohene-Djan to earn a title in the under-48kg ‘K-1’ category last month.
The pint-sized fighter – who has 67 wins, six losses and a draw to his name – said it was “unreal” to take the crown after “dominating” the five-round bout.
Tyler – who is known for whipping up crowds with his energetic ring walk – hopes to emulate his hero Conor McGregor by entering into MMA fights next year.
And just like the famous Irish fighter, Tyler won his recent match by using relentless aggression to overcome his opponent.
He said: “I won the fight as I was aggressive non-stop.
“So whenever he was going at me, I’d be going forwards too, so he didn’t really favour going forwards.
“I knew it was going to be a hard fight, and the kid I was fighting was very, very good – and very experienced.”
“But I trained, skipped, and ran like crazy, and the win was everything I’d worked for. It was so unreal to be honest.”
He added: “They do call me a couple of names – ‘Karate Kid’ has been one, the ‘mini-Connor McGregor’ is another.”
Tyler, from Sheffield, South Yorks., was first mentored by his dad, martial arts expert Peter Hourihan, 37, who taught him to kick and punch from the age of three.
He coached his son in the art of Muay Thai kickboxing, where Tyler earned several European titles and signed to Amir Subasic’s famed Storm Gym.
Later, Tyler proved just as deadly in Dutch-style ‘K-1’ bouts – where fighters use elements from martial arts, such as karate, kick boxing and kung-fu, to score points.
Peter said: “I kind of put all my work into my son. So from about three, when Tyler could walk, he was learning how to kick and punch and things like that.
“I really used it, mainly, just to ground him, for a bit of discipline.
“He was in Muay Thai for quite a few years. He ended up taking quite a few belts and European titles there.”
“Then just before the pandemic, we got him into “K-1” Dutch-style kick-boxing, and he fought all around the London scene and did the same.
“We just put him in, and he just destroyed everyone.”
Peter said his son hadn’t just become a fearsome fighter in the ring, but also a showman who could inspire crowds who came to watch him.
He said: “Tyler is known for his ring walk, so when he comes out, he really sparks the crowd, and he kind of has the persona to get the mental edge over his opponent.
“He’s a little bit like Connor McGregor. He’s very confident in his own beliefs to win. He really feels like no one is going to beat him.”
Tyler was entered into the world title fight after he beat English kickboxer Freddie Fisher, and later “dominated” his Dutch opponent to become reigning champion.
Peter said: “He dominated the fight. In the end, the other kid ended up having to go to hospital. I think he broke his leg and a little bit of his cheekbone.
“It wasn’t a knockout though. Jahmarleylion was a really tough kid. He took a lot of damage, but he kept going. It was an epic fight.
Following his incredible victory, Peter said he and Tyler were left quite emotional.
He said: “It was very, very emotional. Tyler works so hard. every day he’s in the gym. He’s always training all the time. He put everything into that camp.
“The first thing Tyler said to me when he turned around as I was taking his gloves off was, “We did it, Dad. We did it.” And we both just burst out in tears.
Tyler now expects to transfer his skills into MMA, where he hopes to be a “big name” in the future – just like McGregor.
He said: “I’ve got a fight on July 2, and then one in September. But hopefully, by next year, I’ll get into MMA so I can start displaying my skill even more.
“I do want to be a big name – not only in “K-1” kickboxing but in MMA.
Proud dad Peter added: “I think he’s pipped to be a lot bigger than Conor McGregor.
“It’s just his character, the way he plays the part, his ring walks – he’s caught the attention of the whole world.
“There’s not a single gym that practices ‘K-1’ now that doesn’t know who Tyler is. He’s kind of like a celebrity already as a kid.”