AN eight-year-old world champion in karate has qualified to defend his title.

Max Wilson, of Wellfield Gardens, Royston, has been competing in martial arts since he was three years old.

He started off doing karate, then moved on to kickboxing and Okinowan Kobudo, which is the weapons system of martial arts.

Max dedicates over five hours a week to training, in addition to competing in various competitions and this year he has been selected to participate in the world championship for karate in October.

His mum Kellie Wilson said: “Max is currently the world champion, European Champion and British Champion for karate in the under eight category.

“He has worked incredibly hard and he is always pushing himself to do more, something which I am extremely proud of him for.

“He has always been a very active person. He received most of his swimming badges by three years old, he has competed in gymnastics and he’s keen to also start football.

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“He’s constantly on the go.

“His dedication to the sport has also opened up a new lifestyle for us as a family because through watching and supporting Max, I now compete and teach martial arts and so does Max’s dad Mark.

“Our daughter Poppy will also begin dojo training when she turns three at the end of the month.

“We used to love sitting in front of the TV but Max has inspired us to be more active.

“He doesn’t realise how much of an inspiration he is and he is so humble in terms of his achievements. He definitely deserves to be recognised for what he has achieved at such a young age.”

His coach, Zoe Jarmin, said: “Max has been with us for four years.

“He is really passionate for martial arts and he consistently excels. He is hardworking and this shows because he has won British, European and world championship titles and this year we are confident he will be able to defend this.