Some would say they deserve a medal after spending quality time with their parents – and that’s exactly what young Dundee kickboxer Riley Wanless will be hoping happens after weeks of training for a big title fight with his dad.
The nine-year-old fighter, whose father Sean is an accomplished kickboxer himself, will on Saturday go for the WKA (World Kickboxing Association) Junior Scottish title.
And Riley has been pushed to his limits in training by Sean at Dundee Elite Freestyle Kickboxing Fight School – which he owns and runs.
The St Joseph’s Primary pupil has been working out five days a week as he tries to win the -25kg title at a special fight show at Rivals Gym in Wishaw.
The show, in which Riley and his opponent are the only junior boxers involved, is set to raise money and awareness for mental health charity Chris’s House.
Sean has been coaching his son for past seven years and feels he is fit and raring to go as he bids to bring the title back to Dundee, saying: “Riley is really excited about it.
“He’s been training five days a week and we’re starting to do sessions on a Saturday night.
“We’re just trying to get his body used to it as he’s fighting on a Saturday.
“He’s a really hard worker and wants to go out all the time doing hill sprints and cardio work.
“It’s real high-intensity stuff but he’s used to it.
“He even does long runs up the Dundee Law, which is tiring for most adults.
“He’s the first on the card on Saturday, opening the show and fighting for the junior Scottish kickboxing title.
“He and his opponent are the only juniors involved and it will be the first time he has had a proper fight in a ring so it will be a great experience for him.
“He is looking in good shape and we are hoping to take the title.”
Riley, who has shown promise in the sport practically since he could stand up, is a ferocious competitor and trainer.
Much like his dad Sean, who has the ring nickname of the Warrior.
However, Sean insists his “wee ninja” Riley has taken his title as the warrior of the family.
He added: “He has had the pads on since he was two and I took him to his first class when he was just three.
“Even back then in 2012 he was absolutely amazing – a wee ninja!
“He has been absolutely brilliant ever since and it’s been good working close together at the fight school since I started that up in 2013.
“He’s a wee warrior now and is taking over my title!”
Sean is extremely proud of his son and the rest of the lads he coaches and mentors at Dundee Elite Freestyle.
With more events on the horizon for Riley, himself and the rest of the fight squad, Sean is delighted at how things have been progressing.
He added: “Riley just keeps progressing and getting better and better.
“He’s managed to get his own motivation now and works really well with the rest of the lads in the squad.
“They’ll all be fighting at the Scottish International Open on September 15 and the WKA World Championships in Dublin in October.
“I’ll be back in the ring in Dublin, too, so I’m looking forward to it.”