A TEENAGER from Wirral has set his sights on the Olympics after winning gold at a prestigious Thai Boxing tournament in Bangkok.

Joe Ryan, 13, fought for Team GB in the annual IFMA Youth World Muay Thai Championships to crown an outstanding 12 months in which he added his second world title to an impressive set of honours which also includes the British and European titles.

The fighter from West Kirby, whose impressive year also includes being named Vinny Shoreman 2016 Fighter of the Year, is now unbeaten in 32 fights, a record which stretches back to 2014.

He said: "I still can't believe I've won the biggest tournament in Thailand and that I'm an IFMA gold medallist.

"I'm made up – it doesn't feel real!"

Dad Karl – also Joe's trainer – added that the gold in Bangkok earlier this month is the pinnacle of Joe's career to date.

He said: "This is the biggest and best tournament in the world.

"Winning a gold at the IFMAs is a massive achievement, one which many of our UK professionals have tried to do and failed.

"It just amazes me what he achieves time and time again.

"Going to the home of our sport and winning gold – it’s almost too much to take in.

"His mum and I are so proud, our whole family are.

"I get messages off adults from my gym (Two Brothers Muay Thai in Birkenhead) and from other gyms across the county saying how Joe inspires them. It's crazy!

"He's so dedicated to his sport and doesn't need pushing at all.

"He's so strict on himself in terms of diet, training, getting up and running of his own accord."

Joe's success has won him plenty of fans on social media – he has almost 6,000 followers on Instagram alone. 

Karl revealed: "When we were in Thailand we had people coming up to us saying they follow Joe on Instagram and are huge fans.

"I can't get my head around it!"

Karl added: "Joe's dream is to be a Olympic gold medallist and then turn professional, but at the age of 13 it's a long way off at the moment!

"We're just taking it one step and fight at a time.

“Joe is fighting in Scotland next month and then travels to the Netherlands in November, so he will just be concentrating on them and his school work for now.”

Joe, who is just about to start Year 9 at St Anselm’s in Birkenhead, started fighting at the age of six.

As well as looking after his own career and school work, he also helps his dad out with training the younger fighters at Two Brothers – fighters which include his own younger brother Karl, 10.