A County Durham kickboxer has added another world title to his name, just weeks after his father and coach suffered a heart attack.
Jamie Bates, from Lanchester, was victorious on his Superkombat World Grand Prix debut in Romania when he beat Suriname’s Miles Simson in the final.
The 24-year-old’s mentor in the ring and in life, Grand Master Goff Bates, who runs the MASAC Gym in Annfield Plain, near Stanley, suffered a heart attack on his birthday, five weeks prior to the elite competition, and wasn’t sure if he would be able to join his son in Romania.
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However, the boxer, who’s only lost two out of 26 fights, bounced back from adversity to record another success.
Jamie said: “It was good because that’s the world stage, so it was good to get on there and get noticed.
“It was a case of making sure that my dad was alright and being able to be there at the same time. It would have, no doubt, took away my comfort if he couldn’t come.”
His father added: “I was panicking because Jamie’s never had anybody in his corner other than me.
“I don’t know what would have happened if I didn’t go. I would have been distraught, I think, because he’s never been anywhere competing without me. So it was really brilliant for me to go and watch him as well as guide him.”
Jamie, who already holds every world title in K1 kickboxing, was the surprise winner of the tournament after his stylish high kicks and left hook knocked out the home favourite Flavius Boiciuc in the semi-final.
Furthermore, Bates only had a few weeks’ notice prior to the Superkombat, which meant the kickboxer had to lose 20 pounds in order to fit in the light heavyweight category.
“That was a big challenge because I had to find the time to train and a lot of my energy was going into training,” Jamie admitted.
Yet the North-East’s very own boxing king lived up to his name: “He was fighting up to the highest level that anyone would be expected to,” his dad praised him.
As well as having to support his father, Bates has also had to come back from two four-and-a-half hour operations on each shoulder to claim his title.
“The operations didn’t affect Jamie at all, except the first fight when the shoulder was aching. He worked hard and when you’re good, your punches are strong and powerful - with a bad shoulder or not. It was powerful Jamie,” Goff said.
Even if Jamie’s recent injuries didn’t have an effect on his performances, the 24-year-old admitted he has had to mature as a fighter to deal with the issues.
He said: “I had to train smarter. I had to train around my injury just to make sure I was watching them and at the same time getting the preparation I needed as well.
At only 24, the rising star has already surpassed expectations so far, but mentor Goff insisted that his son is yet to reach his full potential.
“He’s still young I don’t even think we’ve seen the best of him yet. He’s going to be on the same lines as Mike Tyson and Mohammed Ali.
“That’s what he wants to do – he wants to be recognised and he’s had Glenn McCrory as a North-East model but, without any disrespect, Jamie’s already gone past Glenn. He’s got world titles and he’s already on the world stage and he could only go forward.”
In the cruiserweight section, South Shields’ Micky Terrill defeated Romania’s Danut Hurduc by a unanimous decision.