Bath kick boxer Gio Marchese wins world championship thanks to his gran
A kickboxer who won a world championship has dedicated his win to the grandmother who helped him achieve the dream.
Gio Marchese, 28, from Odd Down, beat off stiff competition to be crowned world champion at the event in Orlando in Florida.
He dedicated his win to his grandmother Mary Waterman, who had been a big supporter of his career but died before he achieved his goal.
Money she had left to him in her will was used to fund his trip to the competition.
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Mr Marchese said: "Granny would have been very proud of me as she had followed my martial arts career closely for many years and would always ask me how I was doing with my competing whenever I would visit.
"She had seen me lose out at two world championships and always told me to keep going and one day I would win a world title. She had left me some money in her will and it took a long time to go through the solicitors, it was always my intention to use it to help fund a trip to a world championships."
The money was not processed in time for last year's event, where Mr Marchese was beaten by a German rival in the final. But he saved it for the American championships, and added: "All the time I was competing and warming up to compete my granny was in my thoughts and I really felt like I was on a spiritual mission to win it for her."
Mr Marchese's final fight was against four times world champion Guido Rodel, who had beaten him three times at events in Spain, Scotland and Germany.
He said: "The whole England team was buzzing for my final as they know what it meant to me, the atmosphere was electric. After a well-contested final I was ecstatic to have my arm lifted and finally be crowned world champion."
As well as competing, Mr Marchese also teaches with Bath Martial Lifestyle.
Classes teach martial arts to all ages but Mr Marchese believes they particularly offer a great opportunity for children to discover a new sport.
Mr Marchese, who attended St Gregory's School, started tae kwon do at the age of eight before taking up kickboxing seriously at 21.
Martial Lifestyle classes take place at Hillside Hall Community Centre on Monday nights.