A YOUNGSTER from the Capital with a passion for Thai boxing has described how she dreams of one day becoming world champion as she prepares for an important hometown fight.
Grace Currie trains several times a week at Hanuman Thai Boxing in Leith and already holds eight medals and a trophy to her name after being bitten by the bug from an early age.
And it’s all to play for as the nine-year-old gears up for a key rematch against a fellow competitor from York whom she previously lost to by just two points.
Among the spectators at this weekend will be proud dad Danny Currie, who explained Grace got into Thai boxing after starting off with Taekwondo at the age of about three.
He said: “I have been boxing all my life, so as soon as she could walk she had a pair of boxing gloves.
“She’s seen me doing Thai boxing – because she saw it from a young age she was always interested in it.
“She had her first interclub spar about two years ago and she’s just got a bug for it.”
And things have been going well so far, with Grace, a P6 pupil at Clermiston Primary School, coming second in her weight category in this year’s UK Championships.
She hopes one day to make the squad for the Olympics now that Thai boxing, also known as Muay Thai, has been recognised as one of its official sports.
“It’s crazy the amount of support she gets, she’s like a mini celebrity, said Danny. “Her absolute goal is to become a UFC fighter and become number one fighter in the world.
“She also wants to be world champion in Muay Thai – she’s got it all planned ahead of her.
“UFC would be later on, aged 19 and over, but with Muay Thai she could have anything up to 100 fights between now and the age of 18.
“She’s very competitive – when she’s not training at the gym she’s training in the house.”
This weekend’s rematch will take place tomorrow evening at Portobello Town Hall.
Grace said: “What I enjoy most is taking part. I want to be world champion and then train little kids and be in the UFC. I’d feel really happy and like I’ve achieved something.”
Grace, who also teaches her six-year-old brother a few moves at home, said training at the Hanuman club had also helped her meet lots of new friends.
Her dad said this social aspect of the sport was just as important as winning fights.
“It boosts her confidence as well,” he said. “We find that a lot when we are at the Muay Thai gym.
“You get a lot of kids who come in awfully quiet but Muay Thai brings them out of their bubble and gives them more confidence. You can see how much good it does them.”
Information about this weekend’s match, and others scheduled for Saturday, can be found on the Hanuman Thai Boxing club website.