Former Haydon Bridge High School pupil Joe Welch captured the WBC Muay Thai European Middleweight title with a first-round Technical Knockout stoppage against experienced Spanish fighter Christian Vasile.

In front of a crowd of 2000 including father Mick and grandfather Brian at the Victory Promotions event held at the Utilita Arena in Newcastle earlier this month, it was shaping up to be an amazing fight but Vasile's shin was opened up in round one putting a premature end to the action.

Muay Thai, often referred to as Thai boxing, is an increasingly popular combat sport that uses stand-up striking, sweeps and various clinching techniques.

Welch, a self-employed joiner, took up the sport more than ten years ago after being influenced by his dad and fits in training out of Northern Kings Gym in Newcastle around his work schedule.

He said: ''The win means I'm now up to 13th in the World Boxing Council rankings and looking to pursue the top spot. Moving forward, my next fight is in the Rajadamnern Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand on December 8 and in March I'll be fighting for my second British title in K1.''

Following in his footsteps, younger brother Finn, 17, has also taken up the sport of Muay Thai and put on an impressive display at his most recent fight in Newcastle.

Competing at the Maxx Fight event held at the Walker Activity Dome on October 7, he faced 25-year-old Connor McKenna in a 61kg C Class Muay Thai bout and secured a convincing win on points via a unanimous decision from the referee and judges.