Sixth Former Nikolai Milanov has successfully defended his World Championship Kickboxing Championship in Portugal. He has retained his titles for the third year running and added a further gold in an upper age category. He trains with the BCKA club under Alex Barrowman and has previously held two world titles and one European title in the sport.
Nikolai was recently named Young Sportsman of the Year in the recent Northamptonshire Sports Awards. In order to prepare for the championships Nikolai increased his training regime to six times a week.
He first began the sport in Bulgaria aged 10 or 11 when he won his first European title. He changed to a different federation when he came to the UK and has won World Championship titles in 2012 and 2013 in bouts in Canada and Italy respectively.
He said: ‘You need determination and have to be reliable and disciplined. You just have to have the mental strength to keep going. I do both semi contact and light contact styles and I am world champion in both. In the beginning I used to get very nervous but now I have got a bit more experience but there is still a lot of pressure. About 20 members of the club went to the championships.
‘In light contact it is all about speed, technique and how many points you score rather than being able to knock out the other person. Obviously you need to be physically fit so you can last two minutes in the ring. Also there is a lot of mental preparation. I kept telling myself I was going to win which put me in that mindset. We did a lot of fitness training, running and cardio exercise, working on our technical skills and setting our muscles for speed and strength.
'The championships took place in Albufeira. I competed in two sections, one at my age and weight category, then I competed in the upper age category which is 18 and over. I won that one and won my own category.
'The second day was the other style which I won in my age and category and I won on the last day on the team event so overall I got four gold medals. As always the first fight was the one I was always nervous about and after that I was all right. I am really pleased with my results.'