Karate

ELY karate champion Nato Ficarra has been forced to retire after the opponent for his last ever competitive fight pulled out with an injury.

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Ficarra, 45, had been due to take on Giuseppe Mando in August but a torn Achilles tendon has ruled the latter out for more than year, leaving Ficarra with no choice but to hang up his karate gi.

The three-time European champion said: “I’ve trained very hard for this fight and after beating Craig Talern in Surrey six weeks ago I was well up for this fight.

“I’ve had a brilliant career and met lots of interesting people along the way. I’ve represented Great Britain on three occasions and won gold on all of them. I have my 12 clubs in this area and coach more than 1,000 students.”

Ficarra said he would now be focussing his attention on training the champions of the future at his academy at the Paradise Centre in Ely as well as continuing with his charity work and anti-bullying campaign.

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