Tom Cunnington ready to take on world's best

Tom Cunnington will fight in Spain.Tom Cunnington will fight in Spain.
Tom Cunnington will fight in Spain.
Melton’s Tom Cunnington is preparing to take on some of the globe's best fighters at the 6th International Federation of Karate World Championships.

The 38-year-old - who coaches at the town’s Ronin Kyokushin Club club - has been selected to represent Great Britain at the two-day tournament in Valencia.

"I'm looking at cementing my place as one of the top fighters and in the country and Europe," said Tom, who is keen to lay down a marker in Spain.

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"If I get through a few fights I'll be more than happy - as long as I perform to the best of my ability.

"For me this is the crescendo of my fighting career."

Tom first got into martial arts as a youngster watching movies such as Jean-Claude Van Damme's Bloodsport - based on an underground no-holds-barred tournament in Hong Kong.

He was preparing to compete in a similar tournament in France last year.

However, Covid put paid to his dreams of competing at the Tournament of Bayeux, an open-weight competition where victory could only be won via knockout.

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After missing out, Tom is champing at the bit to return to competitive action in Spain at the World Championships, which are held every four years.

And once again, the stakes will be high for competitors.

"This one's in my own weight class, -70kg at lightweight, so I've been cutting weight and I'm in great shape for this one," he added.

"It's full contact. You have to win by dropping your opponent or knocking them out.

"It's one of those crazy, big tournaments with 480 people in it.

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"It's a two-day world tournament with the best fighters in the world in it.

"I've been selected by Team GB. There's six fighters travelling from the UK, the top clubs in the UK, to represent Great Britain against countries like Armenia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine."

Tom - who is sponsored by Mattsons Properties and Oceans Health and Fitness, Grantham - will compete at the 6th IFK World Championships on June 4-5.