A trio of Melton martial artists have flown home with four world titles after six days of hard-fought competition in Spain.
Brother and sister George and Elizabeth Griffiths, and Thai Barlow, all from the Muay Thai Assassins stable, represented England at the sport’s unified world championships held in Benidorm.
Elizabeth won both WTKA Muay Thai and K1 world belts, while George (15) and Thai (18) both won Muai Thai titles in a strong international field.
In the K1 final, Elizabeth faced a Dutch opponent whom she had met earlier this year.
Following her corner’s advice to be aggressive from the first bell, the Assassin overwhelmed her rival, persuading the referee to step in and stop the bout.
The 11-year-old was up against a fellow Brit in the Muay Thai final, Bethney Collins, from London.
Both girls started quickly, but the Melton fighter had more power, and forced the referee to intervene several times.
Tormenting her opponent with knee combinations, she won every round to take the judges’ verdict and a second title.
Her brother George also faced a Dutch opponent after getting through to the semi-final stage and climbed into the ring with specific instructions from his camp.
Instructor Mark Barlow said: “We had seen him fight in Holland and knew he was a good puncher so the plan was to get in close and use the knees to slow him down and then score with the kicks.”
George rebuffed the Dutchman’s efforts to keep the fight at long-range early on and by the third and final round was in total command, landing knees and kicks at will.
The judges put him through to the final, but there was to be no grandstand finish as his French opponent withdrew through injury, giving the Assassin a walkover and the belt.
Last on for England was Thai who was entered in a men’s Muay Thai division which allowed head shots with elbows and knees.
Up against an American in the final, Thai gradually settled and began to show his pedigree, catching his opponent several times with good rib kicks and knees.
The Assassin began to use his elbows in round two and caught the American with several telling blows.
The dominance continued into the third and final round as the Melton fighter connected with kicks, knees and elbows, including a stunning spinning elbow.
His performance deservedly earned him the judges’ verdict to seal the Assassins’ fourth world title.