Combat Kickboxing Academy had cause for double celebrations this week after two of their fighters were crowned world champions in Paris.
Amid the backdrop of the fantasy and magic of Disneyland, brothers Lloyd and Leon Dunnett, of the Bury St Edmunds-based Academy, created a spectacle of their own to win the titles at the World Kickboxing Championships.
Facing the top fighters from around 55 countries in the gruelling one-day competition, Lloyd Dunnett, competing in the over-81kg category, not only successfully clinched gold in the junior section, but also amazingly matched his achievement in the adults section.
Facing a much taller opponent in the final, the impressive CKA fighter found success with a number of strong hand and kick combinations, with one in particular causing a standing count in the second round to end the contest.
Not to be outdone by his brother, Leon, in the under-70kg category, eased passed his French opponent in the semi-finals before facing another home fighter in the final.
What should have been a difficult encounter proved far from the case as Dunnett forced a standing count in the second round with a hard cut kick to the body, securing gold.
There was also medal success for another CKA fighter as Jamie Waters, in the under-65kg category, battled his way to well-deserved bronze.
Bouncing back from the disappointment of missing out on a final appearance, Waters opted for a more simple strategy of faster combinations, which paid dividends after a powerful left body kick brought the bout to an ebrupt end.
Of the academy’s other entrants, Rossi Reid (over-45kg) narrowly missed out on a medal after losing out to a strong Russian fighter, while 13-year old Marley Davies (under-45kg) can be disappointed not to have received the judges’ decision in an even contest, who instead opted in favour of his older opponent.
There was also disappointment for Abigail Read, who also missed out on the judges’ decision against a Welsh semi-contact fighter.
Despite this, coach Peter Dunnett paid tribute to all of his fighters as well as those who made the trip a possibility.
“Trying to put into words how I feel is quite difficult, proud is an understatement” he said. “All my fighters did extremely well, not just the medallists. I was chuffed with all their efforts.
“I have to give a heartfelt thank you to all those that helped raise money for this trip including John Egmore from John Egmore Equestrian Supplies and Clarkes of Walsham, who helped with sponsorship.”