The kickboxing exploits of Hucknall sisters Josie and Lucie Callan scaled new heights in a memorable assault on two prestigious amateur titles.
First, 13-year-old Lucie was crowned Commonwealth champion. And then, just eight days later, 16-year-old Josie added another world championship to her impressive portfolio.
Josie was defending the World Kickboxing Association’s (WKA) junior under-50kg world title that she first won in Birmingham last summer.
This time, she faced a very tough opponent in Jennifer Molloy, from Dublin. And she went into the ring suffering from a chest infection that had prevented her training for two weeks.
In the fight, which comprised five two-minute rounds, Molloy showed good boxing skills and came forward a lot. But Josie completely outkicked her and took every round convincingly.
Lucie took on Welsh champion Agnes McCann for the WKA’s junior under-52.5kg title at the Magnet Centre in Birmingham.
She stopped her opponent in the second round with a devastating combination of punches and kicks that left McCann unable to continue.
The sisters’ success follows a cluster of gold medals that they have picked up at the last two unified world championships in Italy, not to mention many other domestic achievements at international and domestic level.
It all adds up to a remarkable start to the kickboxing careers of Josie and Lucie, who only took up the sport after getting bullied at their former school.
The duo, who now go to Holgate Academy and live on Watnall Road, are coached by three-times world champion Tyler Shakespeare, who runs the highly-respected Saxon Kickboxing Academy in Birmingham.
But they are also enthusiastically supported by their parents, Garry and Lynn Callan, who run the Orchard Care Home on Papplewick Lane, Hucknall. Proud dad Garry, a former soldier, used to box himself, for the Army, and even converted a log cabin into a gym for the girls in the back garden of their home.
Both Josie and Lucie are now to enjoy a well-deserved two-month break, with Josie concentrating on her GCSE exams at school.