Accrington Fit To Fight Kickboxer Paul Thomas became a veterans English champion – and then retired from competing!

Mechanic Paul only took up the sport in his 30s to keep fit and, after seeing off Eric Deaville for the cruiserweight full-contact title, he has now decided to call it a day.

The 37-year-old’s coach Billy Battrick said: "Paul decided to have a go at the English championship and, if he won, go out on a high.

"He has a family and just decided one title was enough and he would help with the coaching. It is a shame but it is understandable.

"He only got into the sport late, when he was 30, and had a lot of hard fights in his early days.

"Then he hit a winning streak. He was given the title fight at short notice but had a go, won on a unanimous points decision and then decided enough was enough."

At the other end of his career is Fit to Fight battler 14-year-old Hamayoon Kasser who is now ready to go for the British title for the Under 17s at 57kg.

He holds the North Area full-contact title and two English titles in his category.

Billy added: "The World Kickboxing Association like you to have three English titles before moving onto the British title so Hama needs one more and then I am sure he will win the British title.

"It is all set up but we want it in Accrington and his opponent wants it in Birmingham so it is being resolved at the moment."

Hamayoon has won 25 bouts with only four losses in his kickboxing career so far.

Martial Arts is now huge in Accrington with the Fit to Fight Club having around 250 members aged from six to 66.

Hamayoon will be the third British title holder at the club after coach Billy won his around 15 years ago and his son Daniel, who is 12, is current British champion at his weight,

"We have only been established 10 years but we have had around 16 full-contact title holders. which is a great achievement," added Billy.

And Brandon Hargreaves, 12, hopes to add to this tally as he is challenging from an English title in the under 35kg category in November.

"It’s his second time for Brandon and he is the main contender as the current English champion has outgrown his weight category."

There was more medals for the Back Welling Street club at the recent Martial Arts Illustrated Open Championships – a high profile event in Manchester.

* Daniel Battrick became the British National Open champion at under 40kg when he came through five fights to win the title.

"They have the best of the British kickboxers there and it’s on a knockout basis so it’s a tough competition," added Billy.

Daniel picked up a gold medal as did Steve Barnes in the Men’s 75kg category.

* Brandon Hargreaves got a silver medal in his under 35kg category.