ONE of the district’s promising young kickboxers has won a hat-trick of prestigious belts.

Callum Beeckmans, of Prudhoe, was crowned WKO Ringsports English Champion after an outstanding performance on Saturday.

The 15-year-old, who made the switch to Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) last year, faced three fights at the Machine MMA Fight Team event at Stanley in County Durham.

Callum’s dad Mark Beeckmans said the teenager faced elimination rounds in the competition.

And after winning a bronze medal, he added a silver, before finally striking gold in the 58-61kg category.

Mark explained: “It was fast and furious. Callum took it in his stride.

“He said he had come for the gold belt and finally he got it, and we are really proud.”

Callum was supported at the event by his younger brother Owen.

He acted as corner man, and put his older sibling through his paces with the use of training pads before each fight in the competition.

Prudhoe High School pupil Callum qualified for the world championships, which will take place in July.

Callum was already an accomplished young kickboxer before getting involved with MMA, which challenges participants to use various martial arts techniques, including judo and karate, as well as wrestling and boxing.

In 2017 and 2018, he was shortlisted for young sportsman of the year at the Sport Tynedale Awards.

On Sunday, the Beeckmans returned to the specialist MMA school in Stanley, County Durham, where the brothers are regular attendees, for an inter-club event, involving clubs from up and down the country.

Owen took part in two cage boxing bouts. Mark said the youngster gained a lot from the experience, and also praised the role of retired MMA star Freeman, and his family, in nurturing the two boys to success.

He added: “Owen was amazing to watch and he has a unique fighting stance. What the Freeman family have done for my boys is fantastic. They have become very respectable young men with a purpose in life.”