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Mackenzie packs a punch at Muay Tai World Championships
Monday 19th November 2018 @ 13:53 by Mark Phillip

A 14-year-old school boy has become a two-time world champion at Muay Tai.

Mackenzie McLean, from Audenshaw, travelled to Italy where he fought against the best of the best from around 150 countries for the title.

The combat sport, known as the art of eight limbs, uses stand-up striking along with various clinching techniques.

Mackenzie, a year-10 student at Audenshaw School, travelled to Carrara in Italy for the Unified World Championships from 31 October to 4 November.

The youngster, who has only been training for four years, competed in the 14-16 year old 55kg category during the five-day event. He competed in two fights – facing a Peruvian champion and a British champion to take the titles.

Mackenzie said: “This is the big one. The fights were both hard and one of them in particular was very close. I was very happy when my arm was raised and I was named the world champion after the fifth round. Everyone was cheering for me.

“The day itself was a bit of a blur – but it feels great now I have had time for it to sink in. The belt is massive – much bigger than the belt I got as European champion. Nothing compares to this.”

A lot of Mackenzie’s school friends were shocked to hear about his hidden talents when they found out about the title fight in assembly recently.

Dad Craig said: “We regularly train together and it was obvious that he had a natural talent. There was just something about him that stood out.”

The father and son regularly travel up and down the country attending fights – from Scotland to London and from Newcastle to Wales.

Mackenzie’s sister Tilly, who attends Fairfield High School for Girls, also won the title of world champion in her age and weight category.

The schoolboy, who is a member of GFC Gym in Bury, has been under the watchful eye of instructor Darren Phillips.

Craig, whose company Stockport and Tameside Garden Services sponsors the two youngsters, said: “The gym brings discipline and respect and Darren is one of the best instructors around. We have to listen and train hard and the saying is train hard, fight easy. The more you commit yourself, the easier the fights become.”

By Lisa Woodhouse