Injury robs European Karate Champion Ficarra, 43, of the chance to defend his title

EUROPEAN Karate Champion Nato Ficarra has insisted he will fight again after injury cruelly robbed him of the chance to defend his title in January.

Ficarra, 43, from Chatteris, had trained intensely for five months ahead of the championships in Milan before disaster struck during a training session with the Great Britain squad in Birmingham.

The three-time European champion ripped the cartilage in his right knee practising an axe kick but has vowed to return to action after surgery is completed early next year.

“It’s not the end for me and I’ll be back,” said the karate expert who teaches around 500 children and adults across Cambridgeshire.

“If you talk to any fighter worth their salt they will say that you never give up.

“I was so fired up and prepared for this and I’ve got a whole stack of new techniques that I’m still desperate to showcase.

“My training went so well that I still believe. I’ve been fighting with the best fighters in the UK and even at my age the sharpness is still there.

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“Coming back is now a goal that I can aim for.”

Ficarra, one of the most successful martial artists in East Anglia’s history, admits that his unswerving dedication and passion to compete is hard to explain to his friends and family who are now urging him to retire.

Despite an illustrious career the 43-year-old, who has fought from the age of 10, still remains adamant that he will continue to fight until the excitement of competing disappears.

He said: “I appreciate why people I care about keep telling me to put an end to a fantastic career but when you’re a fighter it’s just in your blood.

“My daughters (Daniella 14 and Victoria 12) said to me when I got my injury ‘we’re not being horrible but we’re quite pleased’ because last year I came back battered and bruised and they keep telling me I’ve got nothing to prove.

“The buzz is still there though and once that has gone then it’ll be time to retire.