Ryan Smith has set his sights on the top prize in kickboxing after becoming a double British champion.
Nine-year-old Smith, competing in the under-10 under-37kg division, won in the final of both the light continuous and point fighting categories at the World Association of Kickboxing Organisation (WAKO) British Championships in Birmingham.
Smith is determined to continue his winning form in the World Championship qualifiers on Monday, March 28 in Bradford.
If he is placed in the top three, he will qualify to go to Ireland in October for the Kickboxing World Championships.
Smith, from Westbourne, also has the European Championships to look forward to in May.
They are being held in familiar surroundings – the North Solihull Sports Centre – the scene of his British triumph.
Mum Louise Smith is delighted with the progress Ryan is making.
She said: ‘I’m extremely proud of Ryan’s achievements.
‘We have put in a lot of time travelling across the country and even to Ireland.
‘He has a lot of potential to achieve his dream of becoming a world champion.
‘The whole experience has been overwhelming for Ryan, his coach and us as a family.
‘We can’t wait for the next competition to see Ryan do what he does best.’
Louise also praised the work of her son’s coach Curtis Page.
His efforts have helped Ryan make great progress.
‘Master Curtis Page has been a massive influence when it comes to Ryan’s training and how he fights when in competition.’
‘Many of the other students look up to Ryan as an inspirational fighter.’
With no kickboxing club in Westbourne, Ryan trains with Pro-Elite Martial Arts in Woking, meaning a 92-mile round trip three times a week.
‘It’s not a cheap hobby, especially as our daughter does it as well,’ added Louise.
‘But we work hard, day in day out, to make it possible for Ryan to train.
‘There’s always new equipment to be bought and it costs money to enter him into each category in a competition.’
– Macaulay Daley