Jason Smalley admitted he had to fight back the tears after claiming bronze at the ISKA World Championships.
And the Boston kickboxer more than deserved his third-place finish at Valkenburg in the Netherlands - after doing things the hard way in the 75k category.
“It was a strange feeling getting the medal, I was holding back the tears,” Smalley (pictured) told The Standard.
“I spent four months preparing for the championships and the final month was hard.
“I had to make sacrifices with my family and I had a sickness bug just before I went out.
“But I was buzzing when I got the bronze.”
After being drawn a bye in the first round, 33-year-old Smalley faced a stern test in his opening bout.
He took a standing eight count in the first round before brushing away the cobwebs to beat his German opponent with his superior use of kicks.
A close contest followed against Jamaican Oshane Murray. But Smalley was left wondering what might have been as his opponent booked a place in the final on countback, going on to win the title.
“It was hard to take, but he was a good fighter,” Smalley continued.
“I’m already confident that if I work hard I can win gold next year.”
Smalley coaches at Kirton’s Zen Academy club, where pal Dave Trotter put together a tough training regime to get him in top shape.
For further information about the club, call 07836 695928