Jason Smalley is celebrating after returning from the Unified Kickboxing World Championships with a bronze medal.
The event, held in Italy, brought together most of the globe’s top kickboxing associations in an attempt to create undisputed world champions.
And the 34-year-old came close to being crowned one himself.
After earning a bye in the first round of the 75 kilo ring sports category, Smalley dismissed his direct Belarussian opponent to book his place in the semis.
But there he found himself up against fellow English competitor Audi Kinga.
Despite the event being an amateur competition, Kinga - a professional fighter - was entered into the draw.
After the first round the two opponents were dead level.
But as the contests progressed, Kinga gained the advantage.
And while Kinga went on to win the tournament, Smalley said he was ‘chuffed’ that he won his third-place fight to leave Tuscany with the bronze around his neck.
He told The Standard: “Some of these people train three times a day, whereas I’ve got a job to hold down and I do this in my spare time, so I’ve got to be happy.”
Smalley, who coaches at the Zen Kickboxing Academy, vowed to retire after the World Championships.
However, his success has see him invited to compete at both the Philadelphia Diamond Classic and US Open next year.
“You don’t get offers like that very often,” he added.
“This has opened some doors and I think I’ll take some time to think about what I want to do now.”
For further information about the Zen Academy, call 07836 695928.