EXCLUSIVE: Fenland martial arts master wins gold at Commonwealth Judo Championships

MARTIAL arts master John Kunzi is celebrating the highlight of his career after powering to gold at the Commonwealth Judo Championships.

The 31-year-old, from Upwell, put in the performance of his life in front of the television cameras at the Masters Championships in Cardiff.

Kunzi, who has been representing Great Britain since the age of 14, overpowered four opponents to claim gold in the under-100kg class.

He said: “I’m pretty chuffed - this is the peak of my career.

“It’s an amazing medal and a great one for the mantelpiece. I’ve just about got used to calling myself a Commonwealth champion.

“I’m 31 and I’m coming towards the end of my career - but I think I’ve got more in me.

“I still feel quite sad about missing out on a couple of opportunities when I was younger. There’s been a few down times and this win has almost made up for them.”

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Kunzi is currently training to be a teacher at the University of Chichester, but he hopes to open a judo club on his return to Fenland.

The judo star, who is seventh in the British rankings, trains with Wisbech-based Avaddon Mixed Martial Arts Club.

Before the Commonwealth Championships, he spent four days in Kendal training alongside the Great Britain Olympic squad.

Chris Ellington, from Avaddon MMA, has grown up competing and training with Kunzi.

He said: “Whenever he’s here he comes and trains with us and I’m delighted for him. Judo can take over your life when you’re doing it at that level and John is very disciplined and professional.”

Kunzi travels to Basildon on Sunday to compete in the Northern Home Counties Open.

He will then begin preparing for the British Open and British University Championships - competitions which have seen him win four silver medals in the past.