MARTIAL ARTS: Life-changing journey continues with European glory for St Ives warrior Simon Forrest

Simon Forrest (centre) celebrates his title win with, on his left, trainers Parnpetch Rirom and Dani

Simon Forrest (centre) celebrates his title win with, on his left, trainers Parnpetch Rirom and Daniel McGowan, and on his right, fellow fighters Dan Howard and Sam Omogobe. - Credit: Archant

A St Ives warrior is celebrating becoming a European champion in a martial art which he credits for turning his life around.

Simon Forrest became the S3 featherweight king by beating Italian opponent Mattia Cinquegrana at the Supreme venue in West Bromwich recently.

The 31-year-old sealed his biggest success to date with a third-round knockout courtesy of a ferocious kick.

“I dropped a couple of weight divisions for the European title fight,” said Forrest. “And it was a decision which really paid off for me.

“The extra size and power really gave me a big advantage and it was a devastating TKO in the third round with a left kick.

“I only started Muay Thai to get fit after spending my younger days doing too much drinking, partying and getting into all sorts of trouble.

“Muay Thai has given me the focus to turn my life around and it is brilliant to be competing professionally at the top level.”

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Father of two Forrest hopes his European victory could open doors in the Far East.

He has his sights set on fighting in the Rajademnern Stadium in Bangkok – a venue regarded as the spiritual home of Muay Thai.

Forrest, who is trained by Parnpetch Rirom – himself a former champion fighter – in Bedford, added: “I’m hoping to go to Thailand in September and fight in the Rajademnern Stadium. That is the Mecca for Muay Thai.

“I’ve had four fights out in Thailand in the past, but never in one of the main venues so it will be great to experience that.”

Forrest has had 31 fights in his professional career, winning a dozen of them.

Forrest also teaches Muay Thai, laying on two sessions a week at Rough Diamonds MMA centre, in St Ives.