Tonawanda News — It’s been a long road for Brian Irr, one that has lead him to Paris this weekend.
The Newfane resident flew to Paris on Saturday for the 2012 Karate World Championships, where he will face the toughest karate players in the world next week. Irr will compete in the 84-kilogram division, which is about 184 pounds. To get to Paris, Irr competed at the U.S. national championship back in July in Florida. Irr finished in third place in his division, securing his spot in France.
“It’s a new experience for me, something I’m really looking forward to,” Irr said. “This is kind of the culminating event everything has been building up to.”
For Irr, 24, this will mark his first World Championships appearance. It’s also the result of a long journey that started when he was 8-years-old, when he first got into karate.
Since then, Irr has had a successful competitive career with accomplishments that include several U.S. national titles, the Amateur Athletic Union’s All American Award, as well as two silver and two bronze medals at the Pan American Championships. In 1996, he was ranked 5th in the world at the Junior World Championships in Cyprus. He has been competing on an international level since he was 14 years old.
Irr’s coach Eric Hill is one of nine U.S. National Team coaches, certified by USA Karate under the direction of the U.S. Olympic Committee. Over the last 20-plus years, Hill has trained numerous national and international champions, placing several on various U.S. national teams. He has trained with Irr since the beginning.
“We’ve been all over the world,” Hill said.
Throughout his college years, Irr was also selected to represent Canisius College at the World University Karate Championships. He also has a 3-0 record in full-contact kickboxing, including his last win in March which followed a karate event. Between the two events, Irr had a dozen fights in the span of a few days.