If you were to ask most adult men, they would probably say their childhood was all superheroes and martial arts growing up. And that is exactly how the founder of Sidekick Boxing, Daniel Knight, describes his.
Daniel claims it was a combination of the Street Fighter 2 video game, Batman, and Van Damme action movies, how the love for martial arts began.
Who is Daniel Knight and where is he from?
Daniel Knight was born in Brighton at the Royal Sussex County Hospital on the 12th of April back in 1983. Daniel still lives in Brighton and runs his kickboxing equipment company, Sidekick, alongside his wife Daisy, who they have two children together.
The Sidekick brand has become synonymous with Kickboxing but has spread its wings and also covers Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as well as mixed martial arts equipment. You will see the logo dotted around everywhere as Daniel has never been shy about sponsoring fighters or promotions and has generously given back to martial arts on numerous occasions.
Daniel Knight’s Martial Arts Story
Daniel first started to fall in love with combat sports at an early age, his mother who was a keen Karate practitioner would sit down with Daniel and his brother on a Saturday evening, they would all watch Jean Claude Van-Damme movies together and it became a ritual that Daniel really looked forward too.
It also inspired Daniel to seek out a kickboxing gym and to take up the sport. Daniel’s brother Paul had also taken up the martial arts with his discipline of choice being Judo, interestingly now the Knight household housed students of Karate, Kickboxing and Judo – possibly a little precursor to the evolution of mixed martial arts.
Daniel explained, “my mum helped me find a club. It was called Sama but is now called Kicks”, he reminisced. “It was a great martial arts centre ran by a fantastic instructor called Chris Kent. I went from a novice to a black belt over six years and had a great deal of fun competing on the amateur circuit, I always knew the sport would always play a big part in my life”.
Daniel Knight’s Kickboxing Destiny
After leaving school, Daniel became a Ford automotive refinisher and went on to open his first company, which was a vehicle repair centre, Auto Colourworx.
Something didn’t feel right to him, and It didn’t matter how much success he had, there was still an itch that he couldn’t scratch, and wherever he went, it followed.
In 2010, Knight had sold his shares to his business partner and embarked on his dream and vision – Sidekick, the equipment company was founded.
Things moved quickly for Knight. In 2011, not only did Daniel qualify as a professional kickboxing referee, but his new company sponsored the World Kickboxing Federation (WKF).
The sanctioning body held a world title fight in Newcastle between the 16 x world champion Marlon Hunt and Jamie Bates. Bates won the bout to become a world kickboxing champion, and Knight signed him to come onboard as Sidekick’s first sponsored fighter. Bates also later represented the brand in 2017, fighting on Glory kickboxing in Copenhagen.
Sidekick had quickly become a big player in the kickboxing industry. It was time to branch out, and the lure of the Mixed Martial Arts world was way too big a pool to not cast its rod over.
New equipment was designed and then welcomed by the MMA world, soon promotions were using the Sidekick apparel and fighters up and down the country were being seen with the Sidekick logo boldly emblazoned across them.
In 2012 saw the largest MMA promotion in Europe, BAMMA put on its 11th show. This event was to be the first to screen mixed martial arts live on a terrestrial channel showing it on UK television.
Headlining the show on this historical occasion would be the UK’s most famous MMA fighter Alex Reid, a tough bout awaited him in the form of Sam Boo, that night Reid went on to take the win, both fighters were sponsored by Sidekick.
This high level of sponsorship for Sidekick early on, you would expect it to be hard for Knight to beat, if at least, maintain.
We’ll, that was until when the controversial character Andrew Tate popped up on Sidekick’s Facebook profile. Daniel claims that as much as people didn’t necessarily agree with collaborating with Tate, he knew he was on to something quite big. He just didn’t realise how big.
Tate and Knight worked with eachother for many years, promoting the brand in some very unorthodox methods. Tate kicked through a baseball ball and boasted about money, all as marketing tactics to get Sidekick seen. After Tate moved to Romania, they remained friends but didn’t continue to work together.
Daniel continued investing heavily in the martial arts scene, sponsoring well-established promotions like Stand & Bang kickboxing, Full Contact Contenders (FCC) and fighters competing on shows like Glory Kickboxing and Bellator.
Then 2022 happened!
After over 5 years of Sidekick and Tate working together, with the huge media press of Tates trafficking allegations, the old Sidekick content got relived and went viral.
It has now been over 13 years in the life of the Sidekick brand, everyday still brings new and exciting deals for Daniel Knight, when asked if he would do anything differently if he could start again, he gave a short and sweet answer, “nothing”.
Daniel feels that the company has really found and cemented its place in the combat industry. With very strong working relationships, Daniel feels there is plenty more success to come.
“I have been lucky to meet and work alongside some great people such as Kyle Greaves, Alex Reid, Tully Plested and Andrew Tate to name just a few of many” Daniel said, “these are exciting days at Sidekick but the possibilities in the future are endless, every superhero needs a sidekick, and you won’t find a better one than us”.