A CHAMPION fighter has battled his way to top spot in an international contest.
Kevin Cunningham has brought home the gold medal after competing in the Paris International open in the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
The win comes after a string of top titles were claimed by the fighter, who is a student at the Checkmat Academy, based at South Shields Fight Factory, in Frederick Street, South Shields.
Mr Cunningham, who has been training in the martial art for just over a year and is ranked No2 in the world, said: “It’s been a bit overwhelming with all the support I’ve received.
“I enjoy travelling, so to be able to compete in different countries is like a dream come true.
“When I first started, I didn’t think I would be able to do it, but I’ve overcome a lot of negativity and proved that it can be done. For me, the next thing is to be named as No1.”
Kevin’s coach, Scott Ramsay, said: “Kevin has been training really hard – every day – and has progressed quite quickly. He is always pushing himself and wanting to learn more about the sport. It’s just amazing what he has achieved.
“When we head out to contests we are competing against some big clubs from big cities.
“I think people tend to forget we are from a small seaside town, so it’s great that an academy like ours can say we have a world-ranking fighter, who brings back lots of medals after training here with us.”
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a martial art combat sport and a self-defence system that focuses on grappling, especially ground fighting.
South Shields Fight Factory offers Jui Jitsu sessions for both adults, women only and children.
For more information, or to book one of the sessions, contact Mr Ramsay on 07722 912 767 or visit www.checkmatbjjsouthshields.co.uk