AFTER four years in the sport, Rossendale's Daniel Calderbank has become the European Muay Thai champion in his age group.

Whitworth Community High School student Daniel, 13, was put forward for the fight by his coach Andy Hughes from Valley Thai boxing Club, based in the Rossendale village of Whitworth.

However, pre-fight, Daniel had no idea just how prestigious the bout would be.

Daniel, from Rossendale, said: “I didn’t know it was a European title fight until they announced it, just as I was going into the ring.

“The organiser said they didn’t want to put pressure on me, so I was never told how important the fight was.

“I was surprised. It was very daunting and I was quite scared. I was up against Axel from Spain who was the same age as me but taller.”

At the University of Bolton Stadium, the two fighters had five intense one-minute rounds before the referee lifted Daniel’s hand high and he won the European belt.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Daniel, who has had eight fights and won seven, said: “Axel was strong. We were going for each other hard and it takes it out of you.

“Punches don’t score, but kicks and knees score and I worked the legs. I kept doing low kicks to his thigh and it really hurt him.

“I don’t know how many of the rounds I won, I think three or four. At the end I did think I had won because I could see I had tired him out in the last two rounds and I got a lot of good scores in. I was very, very happy when I was announced as the winner.”

Daniel previously won the Sandee Open in Barnsley and in April he will be fighting in a British title competition and is hoping to get selected for the British trials.

He said: “I took up Muay Thai initially because I wanted to get fitter and had my first fight two years ago.

“I train seven or eight hours a week. I do pad work, a bit of sparring and sometimes complete a fitness circuit.

“For Muay Thai, you need to have good fitness, power and strength and I have a bit of all of them

“My Nanna says she is too scared to watch me when I am fighting, my mum knows there is a lot of sportsmanship and my dad is very supportive and pushes me. He takes me everywhere and gets me all my kit.”