Carlos Hihi of Te Aitanga a Māhaki and Tūhoe is only 9 years old but is already excelling in the sport of Judo.
Carlos competed and won gold in the under 36 kg division at the Auckland International Open Judo Championship at the weekend.
Judo isn’t the only sport he is taking by storm, he also does a variation of other martial arts such as JiuJitsu, MMA, boxing, kick boxing, and Muay Thai.
His parents have encouraged him to participate in these different forms of martial arts as they know that Carlos’ future goal is to become a UFC fighter.
They believe the various techniques provided in each of those sports will build his skill base and help him achieve his goal.
Although a previous tournament left him with an injured foot which needed some attention at the competition over the weekend he fought through it and came out with the top spot.
Carlos’ dad Duane Hihi says, "For him fighting how he did today was awesome. He had a tough final and pulled through but yeah, he's done well and is definitely gonna have a rest. Probably have a whole week off training and just reassess where we are going from there."
His coach Jason King speaks very highly of this young talented athlete as well, “To be honest I wish all my players were like Carlos. There are some players I have coached for 30 years. Some of them come along and you know they have got that x-factor, and Carlos, for the short time he has been with me, he has been focussed, he’s an athlete and loves winning. He’s a good boy, he’s very humble, and he listens.”
Muay Thai is the next tournament on the cards for young Carlos which is set to take place in Auckland in August.