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Thomas Hickman plays it by the book

Dudley | Sport | Published:

Dudley's 'Karate Kid' Thomas Hickman has been playing it by the book ahead of his trip to Azerbaijan for the junior European championships.

Dudley's 'Karate Kid' Thomas Hickman has been playing it by the book ahead of his trip to Azerbaijan for the junior European championships.

It's Hickman first major tournament since becoming a world champion in Malaysia four months ago, taking the junior kumite title at 76kg.

But the 17-year-old, who turns 18 in August, has since won the Western International Championship in Weston-Super-Mare.

The second dan black belt has also competed abroad again, claiming the junior and senior titles in his weight class at the Porto Open in Portugal.

And Hickman has now been immortalised in a book about karate published by nine-time world champion and OBE for the sport, Wayne Otto.

Otto has put together the words while Hickman demonstrates the techniques, which the two spent most of the festive period working on.

They were holed up at the Inspire Gym in Brierley Hill with Otto visiting from America and Hickman learned on the job, trainer Paul Campbell explains.

He said: "Wayne has got a book out now and Tom is in it, doing some fighting techniques.

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"He lives in America now but came over to the club for it, he always trains with him when he can.

"Tom was with him at the club over Christmas and on New Year's Day - he's very, very committed.

"And, when Tom won the world title in Malaysia, Wayne was the first person he ran to."

The backdrop is Baku instead of Melaka this weekend for Hickman and he's the man to beat, especially in the mind of European champion Jus Marcac.

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Marcac came off second best in a close 2-1 defeat to Hickman in the world championships and the Slovenian now has the chance to get his own back.

Campbell said: "Tom is the guy everyone wants to beat now and that brings pressure, but he trains like a true world champion.

"I am confident that, if he gets through the first round, he will walk it.

"He actually beat the European champion in the second round of the world championships.

"He will want revenge - and this is his opportunity."

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